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Have an old fish tank sitting around and want to know a good way to use it? Have a need to entertain guests, but don't have the means to do so? You're in luck! For under $50, you can assemble a quality wet-bar complete with a fish tank.

WARNING : This task should not be attempted by anyone under the age of 18 without proper adult supervision

Step 1: Materials Needed

General Tools —
Measuring Tape
Electric Drill/Screwdriver
Screws: 4” (minimum quantity: 40), 2 1/2” (minimum quantity: 38), and 1 1/2” (minimum quantity: 48)
NOTE: deck screws are best
Waterproof Sealant (recommended)
Caulk Gun (recommended)
Circular Saw (for cutting 2x4s)
Jigsaw (for detail cuts of plywood)

Pre-owned Equipment — standard 15 gallon fish tank (required), power strip (required), mini fridge (recommended)

Framing — 2x4s (92 5/8”) can be found at Home Depot
Quantity: 9
Cost: $1.87 per stud

Shelves and Skin — 1/4” plywood , 1/2” plywood
Quantity: 1 sheet of 1/4”, 1 sheet of 1/2” plywood NOTE: Home Depot will cut basic plywood
Cost: $10.97 per 1/4” sheet dimensions for you. See Step 5 for
$15.49 per 1/2” sheet details.

Finishing (Optional) — Wood Stain
Quantity: 1 quart
Cost: ~ $7 per quart

Total Cost:
1.87x9 = 16.83
10.97
15.49
$ 43.29 + ($7 for optional stain) = ($50.29)


ALL OF THESE MATERIALS SHOULD BE AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL HARDWARE STORE.  WE'VE INCLUDED LINKS TO THE PRODUCTS WE RECOMMEND.

Step 2: Overview

The above overview is for reference when framing your wet bar. Each color represents a different sized piece in the structure.  This diagram is not intended for use in assembly.  It is only meant to provide a quick picture of the general framing.

Step 3: Cutting the Wood

Now that you have the wood, it needs to be cut to the proper dimensions.  Home Depot will make some of these cuts for you if you ask.  But the detail cuts you will have to make yourself.
For safety reasons, we recommend you have someone with previous woodworking experience to make these cuts.

Step 4: Framing

The first step in the construction of the bar is framing.  Follow the diagrams above for a solid, weight-bearing frame.  If you have any questions, leave a comment.

NOTE: Drill pilot holes prior to installing any screws.

Step 5: Shelves

We're using plywood for shelves.  Since the plywood has already been cut to the specified dimensions, you should be able to just place the shelves in the framework and screw them down as depicted in the above diagrams. 

NOTE: Drill pilot holes prior to installing any screws.

Step 6: Skinning

Skinning will make up the exterior walls of the wetbar (like attaching drywall to wall studs).  We're using plywood because it is inexpensive but still looks pretty good.  You can opt for other, similar materials, but for the shelves you will want something at least 1/2" thick.  Follow the diagrams above for proper skin installation.

NOTE: Drill pilot holes prior to installing any screws.

Step 7: Finishing

Finishing steps include staining and sealing.  The stain is optional, but it will give your wetbar a sleek, uniform look.  The sealing should be done for purposes of waterproofing (to prevent mold or bacterial growth).

Step 8: Installation

It's finally time to install your fish tank!  Power strip (required) and mini fridge (recommended) installation instructions are included as well.  Be sure to install the power strip before anything else.

Step 9: Congratulations!

You've completed your wet wet bar.  Enjoy!

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