Dew Bucket : Evaporative Drink Cooler





Introduction: Dew Bucket : Evaporative Drink Cooler

Some of you may have seen my first Solar Cooler in a Can instructable, and it worked well, but it was designed for chunks of meat and cheese. This version is designed to accept three 20oz bottles of soda or three 12oz cans. If you haven't heard about evaporative coolers, they use warm water and evaporation to cool a medium in a way similar to the human perspiration system. Apparently they were used in ancient times to cool water and other things.

I have no affiliation with Mountain Dew or its affiliates or Pepsi Co. or its affiliates.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

I found all of my materials in my garage. If you can't find something, feel free to substitute similar object. My materials are as follows:

1 empty paint bucket
2 rags/washcloths(anything that holds water: sand, sponge, wool, ShamWOW)
1 mesh gutter cover
1 can of Krylon Fusion Plastic spray paint (white)
27 small plastic zip ties
steel wool
painter's tape

The tools that I used are also very common:
drill press
1" hole saw drill bit
diagonal pliers/wire cutters
tin snips

Step 2: Prepare Your Bucket

I wanted my cooler to be portable, so I used a paint bucket with a convenient handle. A larger five gallon bucket would also work. I chose a plastic one because it won't rust. The first thing to do is remove all of the paint from the bucket. Just get the sludge out and rinse it off. Mine was latex so after it dried it just peeled off. If the bucket has rust on the rim, use some steel wool to scrub it off. Lastly, mark drilling points for 18 holes in a honeycomb pattern on the side of the can.

Step 3: Drill Your Bucket

Use the hole saw to drill the eighteen 1" holes in the wall of your bucket. Try to make them even and consistent. These will be the "pores" of the system, letting water evaporate from them.

Step 4: Paint!

Painting the bucket white will help it reflect light and keep it from heating up the bucket. Since my bucket is plastic, I used Krylon Fusionfor Plastic. I picked up flat white but now I think gloss white would look the best. Make sure you mask the handle so it stays shiny.

Step 5: Make the Cages

There are three cages for the bucket that will each hold a 20oz bottle of soda. They will be arranged in the bucket as shown in the second picture. Start by wrapping a layer of mesh(gutter guard) around a soda bottle, and then securing it with zip ties. The bottle should be able to slide in and out. Cut off excess mesh and zip ties with tin snips and diagonal pliers.

Step 6: Make It Plush

Now the cages need an absorbent lining, I used some clean rags. Cut three to fit on the inside of the cages, with about an inch extra. Then secure the lining to the cages with more zip ties.

Step 7: Shove It All In

All of the pieces are now complete, they just need to be assembled. First put a layer of lining on the bottom of the bucket to cool the bottoms of the bottles. Then squeeze the three cages into the bucket, all at once. I had to squish them all together and then round them out with a bottle after they were inside. It'll be a tight fit.

Step 8: Finish

That's it! This Dew Bucket is ready for testing. Just jam three bottles into their slots and add water, warm water works fine. Evaporative coolers perform best in hot, windy environments with low humidity.

At moderate humidity and a light breeze, this bucket cooled 90*F water(room temperature) to 69*F in one hour. The lining was soaked in 90*F tap water.

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Questions & Answers


So how do you add water? Do you just pour water on the can?

I would guess it creates a moldy smell, no?

This one did not. It might however grow mold if it is not allowed to dry completely before being stored.

That' good, ...........We can get Rolls of Plastic Gutter Guard ( 20Mtr x 0.25Mtr )
here for approx. $3.00AUD.


Great cheap Cooler...

Does it have to be a Metal Mesh.... or could a Plastic mesh ( very cheap gutter guard ) work as well, ... It's the Toweling ( rags) that are doing most of the Cooling ??....or the Metal is too I suppose.


Plastic mesh should work almost as well.

i'm skeptical about this working here in the Philippines, because the humidity here is very high (it registered 99% the other day). Nevertheless, i made a proof-of-concept rig, a tin can wrapped in paper towels tightly bound to it with string. I placed a small shot glass full of water inside and i'll see if it gets colder.
Has anyone tried this in high humidity areas?

The design works best in dry climates. I think your design would work better if you wrapped the towels directly to the shot glass. With your current setup, the air between the glass and the can might act as an insulator.

i placed a digital thermometer inside and it only dropped the temperature by ~5*C