Introduction: Growler Transport Rack (Bill's Cradle)

About: I'm cheap and like to use what I have on hand and I really enjoy taking things apart to salvage parts. Rather than be a precise engineering type of person, I'm more of an enthusiastic tinkerer. Making things iā€¦

I like to drink beer. And like a lot of people who like to drink beer after having a wonderful beer on tap at my favorite restaurant I get a half gallon container (called a growler) filled with beer to go so I can enjoy that beery goodness at home. The downside being that my growler (who I've named Bill) is unstable in the car and goes flying when I take a turn, even at the most cautious speed. Since I paid a lot of money for Bill (which gives me a 50% discount every time I fill Bill) I needed a way to keep Bill from being damaged. You can buy growler racks on Amazon for over $30 but being cost conscious this didn't seem like a good solution when I could build something myself.

Disclaimer: I am not a good carpenter. In fact I am best described as a member of the Half-Assed School of Carpentry. I focus on getting the object built rather than aesthetics. If you're looking to learn high quality wood working skills this is not the Instructable for you.

Disclaimer 2: This should be common sense, but don't use power tools if you've been drinking alcohol.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Here's what I used to build my Growler Transport Rack:


  • Scrap Wood
  • 1 Leather Belt
  • 16, 2.5" self tapping Phillips head deck screws
  • Hot melt glue


  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Dremel Trio
  • Drill
  • Countersink drill bit
  • Phillips head driver bit
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • T-square, ruler, and tape measure
  • Pencil

Step 2: Measurements

In order to build the rack to appropriate size we have to know the dimensions of the growler. So the first step is to measure the diameter of the base and height of the growler at its widest point. In the case of Bill, his base diameter is approximately 5 inches. Bracing Bill at 6 inches high should keep him from tipping over as I drive. With Bill's dimesions we can proceed to construction.

Step 3: Marking and Cutting the Base and Top

I decided that a base of approximately 1 foot by 1 foot would be wide enough to stabilize the growler during transport. I used a T-square to draw two lines approximately a foot apart on a piece of scrap wood that was about a foot wide. I then clamped this board to my work bench and used a jigsaw to cut along the two lines creating a piece of wood about 1 foot by 1 foot. I then used this piece of wood as a template to mark and cut a second piece of wood. Thus I created the top and bottom of the transport rack.

Step 4: Cutting Legs

With the base and top cut we need the legs that will give depth to the rack. I decided to make the legs 6 inches in height. This would raise the top of the rack to the point just before the growler narrowed. The idea being to brace the growler at the highest point of its greatest width. I made the legs from a piece of 2 x 4 left over from my big screen cattery project. I measured out 6 inch lengths using a T-square and used a circular saw to cut them to length.

Step 5: Assembly

With the major components of the rack cut it's time to assemble them. I chose 2.5" self-tapping deck screws so I wouldn't need to drill pilot holes in the legs... and that's what I had on hand. I took the bottom of the rack and traced the outline of the 2" x 4" legs on the corners. Then I clamped it down on my work bench and used a countersink drill bit to drill pilot holes that will leave the screws flush to the surface. Once I had the holes drilled I set the base on the legs and drove in the screws once I ensured the sides of the legs and base were aligned. I then repeated this process for the top of the rack. And it was during this part of the assembly I encountered one of the challenges of reusing materials. The top wasn't of a consistent width so there is a slight offset between the top and leg. This is where you need to remember my disclaimer about half-assed carpentry.

Step 6: Make a Hole

With the basic structure assembled the next step is to make a hole, without which, our rack is more of a table. The first part of this process is to find the center of the rack top. I did this by laying a straight edge diagonally from corner to corner and marking a pencil line. I then repeated this to form an X on the rack top and the center of the X is the approximate center. (With my half-assed carpentry I leaving a gap I aligned the straight edge with where the corner should be rather than the actual corner).

Once the X is completed I used my Dremel Trio to make a pilot hole in the center of the X. I then attached the Dremel Trio circle cutting attachment by setting the distance between the bit and pivot pin on the circle cutter to 2.75" radius. Which should result in a hole of 5.5". This width should accommodate Bill the Growler and leave space for padding so his finish won't be marred if he's jostled in transport.

With the Trio set up I cut the hole in the top of the rack and removed the wastage wood. I then sanded down the edges with a medium grit sandpaper.Ci

Step 7: Add Padding

With the structure completed it's time to pad the rack so Bill the Grolwer's finish isn't marred in transit. I used an old leather belt as my padding material. I wrapped the belt around the inside perimeter of the hole and marked where the belt met itself. I then used a pair of scissors to cut the belt at that point.

Next I used a hot glue gun to anchor one end of the belt segment to edge of the hole. Once that first glue spot cooled I applied more glue in small sections around the perimeter of the hole and held the leather in place as the glue cooled. Once I had worked around the complete perimeter I went back and applied glue in gaps between the leather and wood.

After the glue had cooled I used a utility knife to cut away the excess glue. With that the Growler Transport Rack (a.k.a. Bill's Cradle) is complete.