I’ve got my new Fourth of July felt pennants to decorate with next weekend, so the next thing to focus on is entertainment. I wanted a new game for the kids at my party to play, and since their parents are all fans of the popular game cornhole, I wanted to make something similar with bean bags for the kids. Jo and I brainstormed last week and came up with easiest way to make bean bags ever… using the pockets of old jeans! Then I made some scored targets to toss them at, and now I have a game I can’t wait to show all my young friends (and maybe the older ones too!)
Gather the supplies
To make the bean bags, you’ll need the pockets from some old jeans. If you’ve used your old jeans to make some of our past denim projects (like our water bottle holder or quilt), then you should have plenty of pockets left over, and this is the perfect way to use them up.
You’re also going to need some ordinary supplies like scissors, some gloss acrylic paint (Plaid’s Apple Barrel Gloss is my favorite by far), a paint brush, straight pins, and a sewing machine and thread.
For the bean bag filling, go to the dry beans section of your grocery store and pick out whatever you can find that’s as small and cheap as possible. For me, the smallest and cheapest available was split green peas, which ended up working perfectly.
Finally, you’ll need from three to five terra cotta saucers in nested sizes. I used four saucers measuring 6″, 8″, 10″, and 12″ for my game.
Sew the bean bags
Now get ready to make the easiest bean bags ever. Grab your old jeans and trim around the back pockets with a pair of scissors, right along the pocket’s edges. For the top of the pocket, just cut straight across the top. You’ll end up with pouch that’s already sewn shut for you on three sides.
If you want to decorate your pockets, take a few minutes now to paint them using the Apple Barrel gloss paint. Since I was making this game for the Fourth of July, I painted a star on each pocket.
Now fill the pockets about 2/3 full of the dry beans. Don’t make them too full, or else you won’t be able to sew them shut.
Use two straight pins to hold the top closed, then sew it shut with one or two rows of stitches on the sewing machine.
That’s it. Your bean bags are done! If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could sew the pockets shut by hand. (Or you might even get away with using hot glue, but I don’t think they would last very long!)
Paint the saucers
You can paint the saucers in any color or design you like, to match the occasion. I painted mine in a simple red, white, and blue design. I painted scores on each saucer, with the lowest score for the largest (easiest to hit) saucer, and the highest score for the smallest (hardest to hit) saucer.
The finished game
To play the game, just line up the saucers with the largest one closest to you, and the smallest one farthest away. The distance between the saucers can vary depending on the age and skill level of those playing. Then have the kids take turns tossing the bags onto the targets of their choice, and score them for any successful hits. Easy and fun!