Introduction: Wooden Cooler

This cooler is made out of an old mini fridge that died on me. For the wood structure I used about 75% of recycled wood from an old project that was torn apart. For the finishes I used a nice white wood and inlaid some recycled bottle caps from some of my favorite beers.

Tools needed-
- Circular saw or miter saw
- Power drill 
- Clamps
- Sander
- Drill bits
- Safety glasses
- Measuring tape

Materials needed-
- Non working mini fridge or cooler
- A bunch of recycled bottle caps
- 4- 3" caster wheels
- 1-bottle opener
- 2- Hinges
- 1 door/drawer pull
- 1 hook 
- 1 box of 3" wood screws
- 1 box of 1 1/2" wood screws.
- 1 quart of paint
- 1 quart of polyurethane (satin finish)
- 1 quart of wood stain
- 2 black Silicone caulk
- wood putty
- 1 gas lift support and mounting brackets. I ordered mine from, but you could probably get it from an auto store too.

Frame Materials needed.
- 4- 2x6's @ 33" for legs
- 4- 2x4's @33" for legs
- 4- 2x6's @ 34 1/2" for the front and back
- 4- 2x6's @ 21 1/4" for the sides.

Lid Materials needed-
- 2- 1x2's  @ 31 1/2" for front and back
- 2- 1x2's @ 20 1/4" for sides
-10- 1x4's @ 21 3/4" for top

Side materials 
- 4- 1x4's @ 28" Front and back
- 4- 1x4's @23" sides
- 2 cuts of plywood @ 28" for front and back 
- 2 cuts of plywood @ 23" for sides.

Drain materials needed-
- 1- 1/2" garden hose spigot
- 1- 3" x 1/2" nipple
- 1- 1" x 1/2" nipple
- 2- 1/2" hose clamps
- 30"s of 1/2" tubing
- 1- 1/2" elbow
- 1- 1/2" nut
- White caulking
- 1- 1/2" Rubber washer

Step 1: Framing Mini Fridge

First I framed the fridge so I could get a perfect fit In the end. I used recycled 2x6's. The mini fridge measured 31 1/2 inches by 18 1/4 inches. Remember the mini fridge does not work, so I ripped out the compressor and all other unnecessary parts.
for the frame I used 4 boards measured at 34 1/2" for the front and back. and then 4 boards measured at 21 1/4". I pre drilled all holes and counter sunk all screws for a clean finish.

Step 2: Adding the Legs

For the legs I used 2 boards for each one. 1-2x6 @33" and 1 2x4 @33"

Step 3: Framing the Lid

For this part I had to buy some wood. I used  1X2" pine wood. The Lid measurements are 20 3/4" x 31 1/2". Make sure everything is square before drilling any holes. this is where the clamps really come in handy.

Step 4: Making Top to Lid

For this step I used  10 pieces of 1x4"  and cut each one at a length of 21 3/4". dont forget to counter sink your forget to counter sink your holes for a nice finish in the end.

Step 5: Get Boards Ready for Bottle Cap Inlay

For the side panels I decided to inlay recycled bottle caps between a couple of pieces of 1x4" pine wood. For the front they measured at 28 inches long. For the sides the length measures 23 inches.

Step 6: Mounting Bottle Caps

To mount the bottle caps I used a piece of plywood as the backer. The ply wood is 6 inches by 28 for the front and 6 inches by 23.
I painted the plywood black and then mounted the bottle caps with black silicone caulk. Worked great!! I then gave it about 5 coats of polyurethane, which have it a great finish.

Step 7: Installing Siding and Top Trim

For the sides I mounted the pine boards first and then the plywood with the bottle caps.

For the top I cut my ends at 45 degree angles to get a clean corner finishes.

Step 8: Installing Mini Fridge

For this part I just inserted the mini fridge and mounted it to the bottom. Fridge fit perfect!!

Step 9: Hydraulic Lift Assist

I ordered this from When fully extended it is 12 inches long and it is rated at 35 pounds. I was able to just drill the bottom mount into the side of the mini fridge. For the lid I had to cut out the foam insulation and inserted a piece.of wood for more support. I then mounted the top bracket to that board and got a really nice result.

Step 10: Lid Liner

For the lid liner I really wanted to use diamond plate, but was too costly at the time. I found a old whiteboard in my garage so I cut it to size which was 20" x 30". Then I covered the foam insulation with the thin metal from the whiteboard. Some day I would like to upgrade it to some diamond plate, but for now this will work. I was also able to use the original seal for the lid.

Step 11: Installing Drain

For the drain I am using an existing hole that is there from where the freon went. I drilled the hole a little bigger to accommodate a 1/2"x 1" nipple. That then connected to a half inch elbow. Connected to that is some clear half inch tubbing (30"s long)that then connects to a 1/2" x 3" nipple connected to a half in he garden hose spigot.

The reason I had to run the tube to the other side, was because I only had room to mount the spigot where the old fridge compressor went. ( note the gap In the picture)

Step 12: Final Step

Finally I added 3 inch caster wheels with locks. Then added a bottle opener, front handle and a hook for a dish towel. I plan on adding a side shelf later as well.

Hope you have enjoyed my build!

Please feel free to comment if you have any questions.

Step 13:

Gardening & Homesteading Contest

Participated in the
Gardening & Homesteading Contest

Woodworking Contest

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest