Make Your Own Cornhole Bags
Updated: Jan 23, 2021
Making your own corn hole bags (bean bags) for the great game of cornhole is easy, fun and can save you a ton of cash replacing busted bags. Cornhole bags are not made to last forever, but we have a few trade secrets to share with you that will help you get the most life and perfect play out of your bags. We'll be using a weatherproof recycled plastic fill (synthetic 'corn') so your cornhole bags won't be ruined if they get wet.
Our cornhole bag design has been thoroughly tested against other designs and has been proven to resist breakage. It all has to do with physics. The stitching combination, the fabric and the amount of fill is crucial to making a quality, long-lasting bag. The finished bags in this tutorial will be ACA (American Cornhole Association) regulation:
• Finished Size: 6" x 6"
• Final Weight: 1 lb.
• Finish: Rounded Corners
What you'll need:
1 Sewing Machine: A sewing machine capable of both straight and zig-zag stitches will provide the best results.
2 Needle Size: #16 machine needle is the suggested needle size for 10 oz canvas.
3 Thread: Polyester Thread
4 Duck Cloth: 10 oz. canvas duck cloth is the most commonly-used fabric in sewing cornhole bags because of its durability and great selection of colors. It also allows corn dust to come through the bag, and some people say this helps the bag slide to the hole. Sometimes you'll see specs calling for 12 oz. cotton duck fabric, however 10 oz. is preferred. Since our 10 oz. dyed duck cloth comes in a 60" width, one yard will make 16 complete bags in this tutorial. A set of bags for cornhole consists of 8 bags, 4 bags of the same color for each player. You can buy our Big Duck Canvas brand wholesale canvas fabric at up to 60% off retail prices here:
5 Cornhole Bag Fill: Traditionally whole corn was used as the filler. However real corn is no longer the preferred filler material as it breaks down over time changing the weight of the bags requiring you to reopen the bags to refill them. Also, corn-filled bags can easily get moldy so cleaning dirty bags is difficult; rain or dew is obviously bad news. Plus critters like corn-filled bags! So we're making weather-resistant bags in this tutorial using "synthetic corn" or recycled plastic resin pellets. Bags made with resin pellets will last much, much longer. They resist moisture, mold and mildew, and help keep bugs and animals from destroying the integrity of the bags. We found that getting the right size and density of non-corn filler is difficult, but we searched high and low and found the perfect material! We offer it in 25 lb. and 50 lb. boxes:Cornhole Bag Fill/ Recycled Resin Pellets (25 LBS)/ Synthetic "Corn"
6 Piece of cardboard: You will be cutting out a usable tracing template from the printable (PDF) template.
8 Template: Download our very own time-tested and proven cornhole bag template.
9 Marker: Any fabric marker or permanent marker will do.
10 Rotary Cutter: Great for straight cuts and multiple layers of fabric.
11 Razor/Craft Knife: An X-ACTO type knife to cut through the cardboard.
12 Self-Healing Cutting Mat
13 Cutting Guide or Ruler
15 Masking Tape
16 Digital Scale: To accurately weigh your bean bag fill.
17 Funnel: Makes it easy to load the bags with fill.
Got your materials? Let’s get started!
First, cut your fabric in 7.5" squares on your self-healing cutting mat using your rotary cutter and cutting guide. You can save time by cutting multiple layers if your cutter has a new/sharp blade.
Next print and tape the cornhole bag template to a piece of corrugated cardboard using your masking tape. BE SURE to print at 'Actual Size' or 100%, not 'Fit' or 'Shrink'!
Now begin cutting out the bag template using your razor knife. You don't have to go all the way through the cardboard at this point. Once you have cut out the tracing template and scored the cardboard it will be much easier to cut all the way through while keeping the lines straight.
Once you have the template cut out, line up two of your 7.5" duck cloth squares together. Place the cardboard template in the center. You should have about 1/2" of fabric left each side of the template. This allows for ample fabric on the inside of your seams to help reduce breakage. (Note that once you've cut the canvas, the pieces will be 6.5" square. This allows a 1/4" seam allowance when sewing to yield a finished size of 6" square.)
Using your marker, trace where your opening will be. You will want to make it big enough to make turning the bags inside out easy as well as allowing for quick filling. For this tutorial we marked our opening at 1.75" from each side.
Sewing the cornhole bags...
We will be double stitching these with two different stitch settings for maximum strength. First, set your machine with a straight stitch at a medium length. Begin sewing on your template mark. Start at one end of the hole openings. Be sure to do a back-stitch at the beginning and end of your stitch.
Next we are going to use a Zig-Zag stitch on the outside of our straight stitch. Try to keep from overlapping the other stitch to maintain the proper shape of the bag. This stitch is what gives the bag its resilience to impact and reduces breakage because it actually flexes with the fabric. You may need to adjust your tension settings to get it just right.
Turn your bag inside out from the opening you left and use a wooden stick or similar tool to poke out the corners.
Now trim your corners for easier turning and corner forming.
Now it's time to weigh your fill. We are using plastic resin fill for weatherproof bags. It's weight and density is very similar to corn. Whatever fill you choose, you will need 15.5 oz. for these bags, approximately two (2) cups. DO NOT overfill your bags! There is a higher likelihood of failure on impact when overfilled. The final bag weight should be right at 1 lb.
Use a funnel to load your bags with fill.
Finally close the opening using a zig-zag stitch. We back stitched over the entire length of the opening for added strength. You can stitch over the entire length if you wish or just overlap the initial inside seam. Either way, you now have a super tough cornhole bag that will outlast the others.