Introduction: Floating Lemonade Stand

About: The creation process is almost more rewarding than the finished product.

Summer is the time to have fun and play in the water. Why not make it better with a floating lemonade stand? Splashing around is hard work and people get parched. The lemonade stand is there to make sure no one gets dehydrated in the hot summer sun. It is also meant to be the cutest thing on the water.

Step 1: Overview

This build will use all your facilities; sewing, painting, milling, wood working and plumbing (gasses and liquids). Like an iceberg, the lemonade stand has way more going on under the water than it does above. Hiding below the surface is an anchor, 5 gallons of cocktail and a full CO2 dispensing system.

The lemonade stand is basically a buoy. Unlike most buoys, this one really wants to flip over. As the keg empties it becomes increasingly more buoyant. The only way to compensate for the buoyancy is more weight. If you figure there are eight pounds of buoyancy per gallon, that is forty pounds just to keep the keg under water.

Once in place, people can swim up, have a drink or two and be on their way.

Icon by Boudewijn Mijnlieff - Noun Project

Step 2: Materials


  • 1 - 3/4" x 6" x 20"
  • 1 - 1" x 14" dowel
  • 2 - 1" x 30" dowel
  • 2 - 3/4" x 16" dowel
  • 2 - 3/4" x 20" round (or equivalent)
  • Wood Stain
  • Waterproof, UV Proof varnish
  • Paint - White, Yellow and Red


A kit like this or...

  • 5 gallon ball lock cornelius keg
  • 20oz CO2 tank
  • Grey (gas) ball lock connector
  • Black (liquid) ball lock connector
  • Paintball tank valve
  • Small gas regulator
  • Tap tower
  • 10' vinyl tubing
  • 4 - hose clamps


  • Fabric - As cute as possible
  • 2 - 1/2" x 24" steel tube stock
  • 18" Motorcycle inner tube
  • 8" Wheelbarrow inner tube
  • 1" x 20' webbing
  • Flip Flops
  • Thin chain
  • 2 x 25lb rubber grip lifting plates
  • 2 x Carabiners
  • 2 x 3" lag bolts
  • 2 x Closet bar hangers
  • 2 x Handles
  • 2 x Plastic Glassware Cups
  • Some fasteners and wood glue

Icon by Amrit Mazumder - Noun Project

Step 3: Woodwork


Mini-deck is more like it. The central piece to this project is the deck, it holds most everything together. I was unable to find a thick enough piece of round wood so I glued two rounds together. Once glued, I used a router to break the edge, top and bottom. If you shop for tabletops they will cost a bit more but they are thick and have rounded edges.

Once your deck is ready, you will need to recess where the vertical dowels will me mounted. Drill down a little more than half way through your deck. This recess gives the dowels a lot of stability. You will need one more 3/4" hole in the center of your deck for the draft tower to pass its vinyl tube.

For flotation the deck is going to have two inner tubes mounted to the bottom. Cut lengths of webbing to hold the inner tubes in place. The wood still needs to be finished so don't go overboard on tightening your screws just yet. In addition to the inner tubes, you will need one loop of webbing near the center of the deck to clip the keg to. Give yourself about a foot of slack for the keg loop.

Vertical Dowels
The vertical dowels need holes drilled in them to let the smaller steel tube stock through. Drill one hole in each vertical dowel about 13" to 15" from the top. This distance factors in the height of the sign, any overhang above the sign, the gap between the bottom of the sign and the top of the awning as well as the height of the awning. Depending on your design, you will need to adjust this measurement.

Additionally they will need to be flattened where you want the top of your awning. This is where the crossmember will fit flush against the vertical dowels. You will be using lag bolts to hold the vertical dowels in place. Drill out the bottom center of your dowels slightly smaller than the bolts you choose. This will keep the dowels from cracking when you screw in the bolts. The crossmember can be attached with wood screws.

Horizontal Dowels
There are three horizontal dowels. The 1" diameter one is used as a crossmember and top of the awning. The other two are used to hold the ends of the awning. Like the vertical dowels, the smaller awning dowels need to be drilled out to accommodate the steel tube stock. These holes only go half way through. The combo of the steel tube and the awning fabric will provide enough compression to keep the horizontal dowels in place.

Step 4: The Sign

This is the most time consuming piece of the whole build. Pace yourself because if you get it right, it's awesome. You can make your sign say anything, it does not need to say lemonade. Nor does your stand need to only serve virgin lemonade.

Starting off at the computer, choose a font without corners, pick your text and export your GCode. Once at the mill, your sign should be carved between 1/3" and 1/2" deep. Deep enough to show the recess and shallow enough to maintain strength.

Once the word is carved into your sign, use a jig saw and give it jagged distressed edges. This adds a little fun and does away with the boring square edges. Now all your wood is ready for stain and varnish. Following the directions on the can stain your wood to the desired color. Once dry, add multiple coats of varnish to protect your work forever.

Hand painting the sign
This is where the time consuming part of the project comes in. To get the yellow to pop, you will need to carefully put down a base coat of white in the wells of your letters. After the white follow with a couple of coats of yellow. Once dry, use the red to paint the vertical edges of each letter. The two tone effect looks cool and accentuates the carved letters.

Once finished screw the sign to the vertical dowels keeping in mind to leave a big enough gap between the bottom of the sign and the crossmember.

Step 5: Plumbing

Setting up a keg is pretty easy. If you are at all apprehensive about this part, talk to a home brewer buddy. You can power your keg with a standard 5lb, 10lb or 20lb CO2 tank. If you are worried about space or weight, you can use a 20oz paintball tank. Refills are a bit more frequent but the weight saving and the cool factor are worth going the paintball route.

You will need to make a sling for the keg using webbing. The sling should wrap the keg long ways in two directions. To keep the keg from sliding out, circle the keg two times 1/3 and 2/3 of the way down. At the top and bottom of your sling, add extremely secure loops to hook carabiners. If you chose to use the paintball tank, you can add a little pocket in your sling to hold the tank too.

Pass some vinyl tubing through the hole in the center of the deck and attach your tap tower. The end of the tube hanging out of the deck gets a hose clamp and the black ball lock connector.

The regulator will attach to your CO2 tank. From there you will need to attach a hose clamp and the grey ball lock connector.

Brew kit image -

Step 6: Awning, Anchor and Cups

The awning provides much needed shade for the tap handle. It would be a shame if someone swam up and burnt their hand on a hot tap handle.

The awning is a single length of fabric with surged edges and two loops tacked in. The loops hold the 3/4" horizontal dowels. You should cut the steel tube stock so that it is long enough to tension the awning in place.

The anchor is made from two rubberized weight lifting plates. Using the webbing, make yourself a strap that can hold the weights together and be closed with a carabiner. The same carabiner will be clipped to the bottom of the keg as well.

Since people don't usually swim with cups, you will be providing them. Using the flip flops, make two little inner tubes that fit for your plastic glasses. If you chose thin flip flops double up to provide enough flotation. Once you are happy with the fit, use your small chain to attach the inner tubes to the deck.

Step 7: Deployment

The lemonade stand is meant to pack flat. It will take some extra room on your way to the river or lake, but it will be worth it. Add the closet rod hangers to the bottom of your vertical dowels. Screw in the lag bolts and tighten down the hangers. Assemble your awning and head down to the water.

Put the all your parts in about two or three feet of water. Hook up the keg, and turn on the gas. Clip together your anchor weights and attach them to the bottom of the keg. Clip the top of the keg to the bottom of the deck. Now just wade out to a depth where the lemonade stand floats at the waters surface.

Enjoy your summer!

Summer Fun Contest 2016

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Summer Fun Contest 2016