How To Make Polycrylic Slippery

When I was young, horseshoes were one of our outdoor activities.  I played horseshoes every weekend with the father and brothers of the girl I was dating in high school, and the games were very competitive.

Key Points:

  • Multiple thin coats of polycrylic on a well-sanded surface and sanding with a fine-grit paper between coats will give you a smooth surface. 
  • On a bean bag board, a few add-ons can also make an already smooth surface board slippery still – corn starch and olive oil can give you that extra slickness on the playing surface.
  • While a water-based polyurethane finish might be a bit more slippery, polycrylic can still be a good choice for a bean bag board’s finish.  Again, sanding and one of those additives (olive oil or cornstarch) can juice up the slippery factor.

Later, I graduated to jarts – short, arrow-like darts that were tossed underhanded toward a plastic ring 30 inches in diameter from 30 feet away.  Those games were pretty competitive, too.

While bean bag boards were common, too, we never took to them.  These boards were angled up in the back and had a hole, referred to as a cornhole, and the bean bags were tossed underhanded toward it with the hope to have the bean bag go through the hole target.

You can understand, then, that you would want your boards slippery so the bean bag would slide up the angled board toward that hole.  How to keep the board slippery, though, since wood is not inherently slippery?

The finish, of course.

Today we’ll consider polycrylic for that finish and see if we can figure out ways to make and keep it slippery on the bean bag board. 

What is Polycrylic?

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Polycrylic is a water-based wood finish that is clear, non-yellowing, and dries to a hard, protective finish. It is easy to apply and sand, and it is less toxic than oil-based polyurethanes.

Polycrylic is available in a variety of sheens, including satin, gloss, and matte. It is typically used for interior projects, such as furniture, cabinets, and trim.

We’ve written about polycrylic in the past, and you can find out if you can put polyurethane over polycrylic here and how to remove a polycrylic finish if you are interested.

Here are some of the advantages of using polycrylic:

  • Water-based: Polycrylic is a water-based product, which means that it is non-toxic and has low VOCs (volatile organic compounds). This makes it a safer option for indoor use, and it is also easier to clean up.
  • Easy to apply: Polycrylic is easy to apply with a brush, roller, foam brush, or sprayer. It dries quickly and dries to a clear finish.
  • Durable: Polycrylic is a durable finish that can protect wood from scratches, scuffs, and water damage. It is also resistant to fading and yellowing.
  • Versatile: Polycrylic is available in a variety of sheens, so you can choose the finish that best suits your project. It can be used on a variety of wood surfaces, including unfinished wood, stained wood, and painted wood.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using polycrylic:

  • Not as durable as oil-based polyurethane: Polycrylic is not as durable as oil-based polyurethane. It is not as resistant to scratches, scuffs, and water damage.
  • Not as effective at blocking stains: Polycrylic is not as effective at blocking stains as oil-based polyurethane. If you are staining your wood, you may want to use an oil-based polyurethane as a topcoat.
  • Not as good for exterior use: Polycrylic is not as good for exterior use as oil-based polyurethane. It is not as resistant to fading and yellowing, and it may not protect wood from the elements as well.

Overall, polycrylic is a good choice for interior projects where you need a clear, durable finish that is easy to apply and sand. It is not as durable as oil-based polyurethane, but it is a safer option for indoor use.

Can Polycrylic Be Used Outdoors?

Yes, polycrylic can be used outdoors, but it is not as durable as oil-based polyurethane. It is not as resistant to fading and yellowing, and it may not protect wood from the elements as well.

If you are planning to use polycrylic outdoors, you should apply at least two coats, if not more, and reapply every 2-3 years.

You should also avoid using it on surfaces that will be exposed to direct sunlight or harsh weather conditions.  This has more to do with appearance than it does with functionality, though.

What Are Cornhole Boards? 

Cornhole Boards

Cornhole boards are a game played with bean bags and two wooden boards with holes in the top. The object of the game is to throw the bean bags so that they land in the hole, or as close to the hole as possible. The player or team with the most bean bags in the hole at the end of the game wins.

Cornhole boards are typically 2 feet wide and 4 feet long, with a hole in the center that is 6 inches in diameter. The boards are usually made of wood, but they can also be made of plastic or composite materials.

The bean bags are typically made of fabric and filled with corn kernels, but they can also be filled with other materials, such as sand or beans.

Cornhole is a popular game for backyard barbecues, festivals, and other outdoor gatherings. It is a relatively simple game to learn, but it can be challenging to master. Cornhole is a great game for all ages and skill levels.

Finish for Cornhole Boards

The game is played mostly outdoors, so the cornhole board finish becomes important.  It needs to be protected from the elements, although it can easily be kept inside the garage or a storage shed, too.

While you want to use a smooth board, the board surface should also be slippery.  You want those beanbags to slide a bit up the board toward the hole (if your aim has been good).  An unfinished cornhole board will not serve you well in that regard.

Among the finishes for cornhole boards, as we mentioned, is a polycrylic finish.  A cornhole board with a polycrylic finish that has been applied correctly will give you that smooth finish that will result in a slippery playing surface. 

How To Apply A Polycrylic Finish On Your Board’s Entire Surface

The process is pretty simple and not any different than finishing a woodworking project just because it is a cornhole board.

  1. Prepare the surface. The surface should be clean, dry, and free of dust, dirt, oil, and wax. If the surface is unfinished, sand it with 120-grit sandpaper. If the surface is stained, sand it with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand with the wood grain.
  2. Apply the polycrylic. Use a high-quality brush, foam brush, or roller to apply the polycrylic in a thin, even coat. Work in the direction of the wood grain. Do not overbrush or apply too much polycrylic, as this can cause drips and runs.
  3. Let the polycrylic dry. Polycrylic dries quickly, but it is best to let it dry for at least 2 hours between coats.
  4. Apply additional coats. If you want a more durable finish, you can apply additional coats of polycrylic. Make sure each coat dries completely before applying the next coat.
  5. Sand between coats. Lightly sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper between coats to create a smooth surface.
  6. Wipe away the dust. Use a tack cloth to wipe away any wood dust and any other foreign material from the surface before applying the next coat of polycrylic, checking the entire surface as you do.
  7. Let the final coat dry. Let the final coat of polycrylic dry completely before using the project.

Here are some additional tips for applying polycrylic:

  • Use a high-quality brush, foam brush, or rolling brush. A good brush will help you apply the polycrylic evenly and avoid drips and runs. A roller is also a good option for large surfaces.
  • Apply the polycrylic in thin coats. Thick coats of polycrylic can take longer to dry and may not be as durable.  Apply with the wood grain for the best results.
  • Let the polycrylic dry completely between coats. This will help the finish to cure properly and prevent it from chipping or peeling.
  • Sand between coats. Lightly sanding the surface will help to create a smooth finish and remove any imperfections.  Sand with the wood grain, too.
  • Wipe away the dust. Before applying the next coat of polycrylic, be sure to wipe away any dust from the surface. This will help to ensure a smooth, even finish.
  • Let the final coat dry completely. Once the final coat of polycrylic is dry, your bean bag board is ready to use.

Remember you want your cornhole boards slick along the entire board surface.  Polycrylic can be a good finish for cornhole boards when the wood surface has been well prepared, the finish has been applied well, by sanding between coats, and allowing the finish to dry fully between coats and before use.

Should You Use A Synthetic Bristle Brush with Polycrylic?

Finishing Wood Synthetic Paint Brush

Yes, you should use a synthetic bristle brush with polycrylic. Polycrylic is a water-based finish, and natural bristle brushes can swell and become damaged when used with water-based products. Synthetic bristle brushes are less likely to swell and will give you a more consistent finish.

You can also use a foam brush to apply polycrylic.  Just as with water-based polyurethane, you should stir the polycrylic rather than shake the can.  Shaking will tend to create bubbles, and bubbles will require more sanding to remove when the finish has been applied.

In short, polycrylic is a good choice for a cornhole board finish.

What Will Make Bean Bag Boards Slippery?

Beyond sanding the bean bag board well before applying a finish (rough boards just won’t cut it), and applying the finish in multiple thin coats for a smooth surface to make your board slippery, there are other measures you can take to up the slipperiness factor.

  • Apply cornstarch. After applying the polycrylic, sprinkle a thin layer of cornstarch over the surface. The cornstarch will act as a lubricant and make the surface more slippery for sliding your cornhole bags.
  • Apply olive oil. Apply a thin coat of olive oil to the surface of the polycrylic. The olive oil will create a slick finish that will make the surface more slippery.
  • Sand the surface. Lightly sand the surface of the polycrylic with fine-grit sandpaper. This will create a smooth surface that will be more slippery.
  • Apply multiple coats of polycrylic. The more coats of polycrylic you apply, the more slippery the surface will become. Be sure to sand between coats to create a smooth surface.

Here are some additional tips for making polycrylic slippery:

  • Use a water-based polycrylic. Oil-based polycrylics will not be as slippery.
  • Apply the polycrylic in a thin coat. Thick coats of polycrylic will be more likely to become sticky.
  • Let the polycrylic dry completely between coats.
  • Test the surface of the polycrylic to make sure it is slippery enough. You can do this by rubbing your finger across the surface. If the surface is too sticky, apply another coat of polycrylic.
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It is important to note that polycrylic is not as slippery as some other finishes, such as polyurethane. If you need a very slippery finish, you may want to consider using a different product.  Nonetheless, polycrylic will give you a slippery surface for your bean bag toss game.

For a wood project, a cornhole bean bag board is pretty easy.  So is a polycrylic (fast-drying, water-based clear coating) finish.  Those few extra steps, all designed to make boards slick and slippery, will help your game.  

Just remember it’s a game, something to have fun with on a sunny day while the burgers and hot dogs are cooking on the grill and the family is gathered.

Last update on 2024-06-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API