Outdoor Beanbag Toss

  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Handmade Beanbag Toss Game

Summer is full-swing which leads many of us to look for ways in which to entertain our children outdoors. What better way to entertain them than by using bright, colorful carnival-type games?

This beanbag toss game was created using a slight variation of the typical outdoor game.  Instead of using just the single hole for the beanbag target, these beanbag toss boards add two additional beanbag targets for a total of  three, making it fun and challenging for preschool aged children all the way up through adult.

If you have a general understanding of how to follow diagrams, and feel confident in your building skills, including the operation of power tools, a drill or screwdriver, a level, tape measure, belt sander and jigsaw, you‘ll have a set of game boards built in an afternoon. I googled to find a beanbag toss building tutorial and found this one to be the most helpful.

Boards Cut to Size

While it would seem that both owning and having experience with power tools is an absolute must for this project, you can make it work by having and intermediate level of knowledge and skills if you make use of the services offered by your local hardware store. You can have them measure and cut your boards so you can get right to the construction phase of the project.  Most times, the first cut is free and each additional cut costs a very minimal fee.  This is a great alternative if you don’t own your own circular saw, mitre saw and jigsaw. If you are cutting them yourself, I’ll share something my dad has taught me from a young age: “Always measure twice, and cut once.”  Wood is expensive, so make sure you have your measurements precise before cutting everything to size.

Belt Sander

Once you have your boards cut to size you’ll want to spend some time at the belt sander making sure to sand smooth any of the splintering board ends.  I chose to save some sanding time by purchasing pre-sanded plywood, so I only had to use the belt sander on my 2 x 4 pieces that construct the framing on the underside of the plywood.

Sketched Designs

After you have the boards constructed, you’ll want to sketch out some design options and plan out the size and spacing of the circles.  The Super-sized Shapes Templates: Circles are the perfect tool for this task.  

Drilling Hole Inside Circle

Once you have the placement of your circles sketched onto the boards, you can drill a pilot hole on the inside edge of each of your sketched circles and use a jigsaw to cut them out.  Next, you’ll sand the edges of those jigsaw cuts using a medium grit sandpaper, brush off all the sawdust and cover the boards in a nice coat of primer. 

Painting Boards

After allowing the primer to dry completely, you are ready to sketch your designs onto your boards with a light pencil and start painting.

Detail Painting

If you aren't confident in your sketching abilities, the Shapes Templates really come in handy for helping to make an eye-catching design.  Acrylic craft paint is perfectly acceptable for this type of project. Just keep in mind, if you use acrylic craft paint you’ll need to also apply a few coats of sealant once you are finished.  If you’d rather skip that step or the painting of your design doesn’t involved a lot of colors you might choose to purchase a high gloss washable paint to use instead.  This just gets pricey when using small amounts of several colors. Using black paint and a detail paintbrush to outline the images of your design really helps to create an eye-catching image. The contrast of the black outline helps add to the playfulness and really helps the design to pop.

Pile of Beanbags

Now that your boards are painted, you’re almost ready head outdoors to play! All you need is a set of beanbags.  Making beanbags is a quite simple beginning sewing skill. You’ll want to shop for outdoor canvas fabric or duck cloth fabric. These fabrics can withstand the amount of wear and tear you’ll see with an outdoor game.

Use your rotary cutting tool and acrylic ruler to cut squares measuring 7” x 7”.  You’ll need 2 squares for each beanbag you’re making. Place your two squares, right sides together and sew using a ½” seam allowance. Be sure to leave approximately 3” open along one side. Cut each corner on a diagonal within the seam allowance making sure not to cut the stitching. This allows a reduction of the fabric bulk when turning the beanbag right-side out. Use a wooden skewer to push out the corners so you have a crisp point. Fill each bag with about one cup of dried rice, dried beans or feed corn.

Sewing Beanbags

Once you have your bag filled, tuck the seam allowance of the opening inward and then topstitch around the entire perimeter of the beanbag.  This can be quite tricky because the filling will often get in the way.  I found it easiest to remove the U-shaped portion of the machine bed to use the machine with the sewing arm only.  This allows the filling of your bag to fall to one side so it stays out of the way when you’re doing your topstitching.  Be prepared with an extra needle just in case. If you hit a piece of your filling with your needle there is a good chance it will damage or break the needle.

heart shaped bean bag

Of course there are some very fun alternatives to your basic square bean bags.  One of those is to use your shapes templates to create fun shaped bags as I’ve done here with the heart.  The easiest way to do this is to pin two pieces of duck cloth fabric with right sides together. Then, trace the template shape onto your fabric using a fabric marker. Stitch along your traced lines making sure to leave and opening large enough to turn your fabric right-side out.  Cut the excess fabric away around the stitched shaped leaving a 1/2" seam allowance. Before turning your fabric, clip into the seam allowance around all points and curves to help reduce/loosen the bulk of the seam. Once you have it right-side out, fill halfway with the filling of your choice, then tuck in the open seam and topstitch all the way around the perimeter of the shaped beanbag. You can sew a circle, heart and star to make one of the beanbag toss games even more challenging by asking the players to toss the coordinating shape in the coordinating target as they see painted on the board.

Two-toned Bean Bag

One last idea is to cut one of your 7” squares using a design set with the Fuse Creativity System so you end up with a design cut from the middle of the fabric. Then,  layer that solid-colored piece with a printed outdoor fabric and pin the pieces together.  Permanently secure the two pieces together with some repetitive decorative stitching, then turn it over and cut away any excess of the printed fabric. Finally, I used the basic method of constructing a beanbag as described above.

Now it’s time to take them outdoors, make up your set of rules, and most of all, HAVE FUN and enjoy the results of all that hard work!

Supply List

(2) ½”  2’ X 4’ Plywood

(4) 8ft 2” x 4”

(4) 3/8” 4 ½” long Carriage Bolts

(4) 3/8” Flat Washers

(4) 3/8” Wing Nuts

(1) box 2 ½” Wood Screws

Sandpaper

Paintbrushes

Acrylic Paint

Sealant

Painters Drop Cloth

Pencil

Outdoor Fabric

Beanbag Filling (rice, beans or feed corn)

Circular Saw

Mitre Saw

Jigsaw

Measuring Tape

Drill

Drill Bits

Power Screwdriver