In this instructable I'll be showing you how to turn an old broken refrigerator into an awesome rustic cooler, great for parties, bonfires, and all of types of outdoor festivities. This project is easy to tackle and best of all it doesn't cost a lot to build as most of the materials are recycled or reclaimed. This is also a great weekend project as it should only take a day or two from start to finish and doesn't require any specialized tools beyond standard wood working tools like drills, drivers, and saws.
And if you enjoy this project please consider voting for it in the "Before & After", "Summer Fun", and Summer Food and Drink" Contests. Thanks!
One of the best things about this project was the cost of materials, pretty much nothing! The broken refrigerator was left in the basement of my little sisters new home, and the pallets for free to take from a local business. Really the only things that had to be purchased were a few cans of spray paint, some caulking, a few plumbing fittings, two 2" X 4"s, and some casters. All told, the cost of this project was somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 and considering how big this project is I think that's pretty cost effective.
Old Refrigerator - Make sure the Freon has been properly removed, more info on this in step 4.
Pallets - You'll need about 4 pallets to get enough wood for this project.
Screws - 1 1/4" wood screws work well for this project
Casters - To make it move.
2" X 4"s - For framing in the bottom of the fridge and to build the base the cooler sits on.
Misc PVC/Brass Fittings - Used to construct a drain at the bottom of the cooler for easy draining after use.
Rope and Eye Bolts - To keep the cooler lids from opening too far.
Black Spray Paint
The tools for this project are pretty standard and are things that most people who like to dabble in making and wood working probably already have sitting in their workshop.
Drill/Driver - Pilot holes and driving screws.
Chop Saw - Useful to cut perfect 90 degree ends on the prepared pallet boards.
Circular Saw - For breaking down pallets.
Sander - for knocking down rough edges on pallet wood and for roughing up the fridge for painting.
Caulking Gun - For plugging holes in the refrigerator to make it waterproof and for applying liquid nails.
Pry-Bars and Hammers - For breaking down pallets into usable lengths of wood.