Materials That Make The Best Cornhole Bag Filling


Having the right bags is important to the game of cornhole. There are a variety of materials one could stuff their cornhole bag with. Dried corn, plastic pellets, or sand are just a few.

Plastic pellets are the best material for durable cornhole bags. Choosing recycled plastic pellets ensures your cornhole bags will last longer. Most professional competition players use synthetic corn/plastic pellets in their cornhole bags.

Plastic pellets are:

  • Weather resistant.
  • Pest resistant.
  • Decay resistant
  • Washable
  • Inexpensive
  • Easily obtainable

Let’s explore some of the other options for cornhole bag filling, and why plastic pellets are the best choice.

The Best Cornhole Bag Filling

The game bag filled with polyurethane pellets will not break down. Organic material breaks down creating a dust or flour that escapes the material of the bag.

Because plastic does not break down, this ensures uniformity in weight. It also stays within the American Cornhole League’s guidelines pertaining to:

  • Weight of the bags
  • No substances left on the play area

We use these Synthetic Corn Pellets (link to Amazon) in our cornhole bags. They’re the most popular option for cornhole bag filling.

Plastic will not be inviting to rodents or insects; therefore you are less likely to find your investment chewed up and destroyed by pests.

The ability to wash the cornhole game bag is a factor in why plastic is a better choice. Dried, organic materials will decay if they become wet.

Weather or other environmental factors will not affect the game when played with a synthetic substitute to traditional corn filled bags.

Check out our How To Make Cornhole Bags article to see how we made ours using plastic pellets.

The Cons of Plastic Pellets

There are few reasons you may decide to use a different medium than plastic. Plastic is not traditional. Environmentally, plastic waste is a major pollutant to the land, waters, and animals.

Traditional Cornhole Bag Filling

Dried corn kernels were traditionally used. Corn is a good choice because it is natural, and relatively inexpensive.

Feed corn is easily found in local big box stores and farm supply stores. It can also be ordered online.

Corn filled duck bags are easy to handle and fling. Duck is a sturdy cotton canvas fabric.

Some of the corn will break down inside of the canvas bag. When the corn breaks down it creates a fine flour.

The bag is tossed onto the playing area and the flour seeps through the cornhole bag dusting the boards, making the play surface slippery.

Some players find the dusted boards an advantage. However, the American Cornhole League will not allow it during tournaments:

“If a bag is found to gradually leave a residue or marks on the game board during game play, that player or team will forfeit the match.”

The Downside to Corn Filled Bags

Unfortunately what makes corn desirable also makes it unappealing. Due to it’s organic nature the corn is subject to:

  • Mold and decay
  • Rodents and insects
  • Wet weather
  • Difficult to clean
  • Must be discarded and replaced often

Other Types of Stuffing Used to Fill Cornhole Bags

A variety of material could be used to fill a cornhole bag.Dried peas or beans are readily available, but are subject to rot, pest infestations, and cannot be cleaned.

Sometimes, sand is used. Sand does not respond like synthetic or dry corn. If the grains of sand work through the fabric it could scratch the surface of the boards. When sand becomes damp it clumps and makes the bags heavier.

Most Popular Cornhole Bag Filling

The most popular stuffing for cornhole bags are Synthetic Corn Pellets (link to pellets we use on Amazon). For a more traditional feel some manufacturers produce pellets in the shape of  dried corn kernels.

Man-made fill is the go to for the backyard enthusiast and professional cornhole player.

Premade Cornhole Game Bags (link to Amazon) may be obtained from online vendors. But be careful, a lot of pre-made bags plastic pellets will not be corn shaped like a traditional game bag would.

Regulation Cornhole Bag Filling

According to the American Cornhole Association, feed corn is to be used. However they will also accept all weather filler such as plastic pellets.

The American Cornhole League, ACL, states bags may be filled with anything so long as it does not damage or leave residue to the game board. Authentic corn kernels will leave a residue, this means it should not be used.

The Bag Material Matters

The strength of the cornhole bag is as important as what is put into it.

A traditional cornhole bag is made of a material called duck. Duck is a strong cotton canvas.

Today, other types of materials may be used provided they are durable and will not damage the play area in any way.

According to slickwoodys.com, bags used in modern competitions are often made of duck on one side and microfiber on the other. This duality gives the player the ability to have the bag slide or come to an abrupt stop when it hits the game board.

Bags should measure 6 inches x 6 inches, or within a quarter of an inch above or below this standard.  When filled, bags should weigh 16 ounces.

These bags are going to be tossed around a lot. The field of play, known as the court, encompasses an area of 8 x 35 feet to 10 X 45 feet. Visit Cornhole Court Dimensions for more on that.

Wear and tear could ultimately rip a weak bag and spill the contents onto the game area.

Inspecting Your Equipment Is Important

Inspecting your equipment, and any game equipment you use, will save you time and money.

Make sure your cornhole bags are in good shape and all seams are intact. Look for holes or other defects that could cause the contents to spill and forfeit your points.

There are two game boards on either end of the court. Game boards are made of wood that is sanded smooth and often painted to give them a nice surface with just enough slip and grip.

Wood can become damaged due to the elements as well as neglect. Inspection of the playing area including the game boards is essential. Make certain there is no damage to the surface of the boxes that could ruin your cornhole bags.

Choosing Your Cornhole Bag

When deciding on what bags you will make or buy for the game you should consider the color of the fabric. If the colors are too similar it may be difficult to tell the difference between opponents tosses.

Patterned materials might be used for casual play so long as they are not alike enough to be confusing. However, regulated cornhole games require solid colors.

Here’s a quick video showing how to make cornhole bags yourself at home:

The Game of Cornhole

No one is quite certain who invented cornhole or when. It is over 100 years old. The game has withstood the test of time.

Cornhole can be played professionally, or just for fun in the backyard or the park. It is a fun sport for all ages.

The game of cornhole brings together children and adults. It provides:

  • Activity
  • Competition
  • Enjoyment

Which makes this game a mentally and physically healthy choice.

Playing cornhole is possible anytime of the year. There is no need to wait for warm weather if you want to play the game.

Cornhole can be played indoors or outside. The game will not be deterred by:

  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Sun

Enjoying Your Cornhole Equipment

Though dried corn was the first filling used in cornhole game bags; modern technology has provided a long lasting solution. Plastic pellets are readily available and consistent in weight. These plastic pieces will withstand being thrown again and again.

Synthetic stuffed bags are less likely to be attacked by:

  • Fungus
  • Mildew

Since the filling is manmade, your bags will be free of worms and weevils.

Any game bag will become:

  • Dirty
  • Muddy
  • Grimy

All weather bags can be washed and air dried on a flat surface.

There will be no smell to entice mice or other rodents to knaw the game bags looking for treats. If your cornhole bags are filled with plastic pellets, you should get plenty of enjoyment out of this personal piece of equipment.

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Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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