A Cool Coolbox!





Introduction: A Cool Coolbox!

As the summer is supposed to be here already in Scotland, I figured a coolbox for the car would be a good idea. The only problem being that cool boxes tend to look rotten, either blue or green, all plastic and with a flimsy handle which locks your food in for some reason! So I decided to make a cool coolbox that looks like something decent.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies!

First off, you need to find a decent looking box. I found this one in a cupboard at my school, and after checking no one wanted it (no stealing here!) it was mine for the taking. (The white stuff around the edges here is just a bit of PVA glue to strengthen the box)

Secondly, you need some sort of insulation. Again I got mine from the school, its from a project that no longer gets done so was going to be thrown out anyway. It's extruded polystyrene, better than that white polystrene as it's more solid. Ideally I would have like to used foil backed polyeurethene insulation (ie. Kingspan) but this was free and won't be that less efficient for keeping things cool.

I also used a pouch of Sugru, and when i find something suitable, I will use some sort of sealant.

Ok, on to construction...

Step 2: Chop Chop!

First thing I did was measure the box's internal sizes so I could cut the foam to size. Once I'd gathered this information, I needed to figure out how I was going to fit in the foam.

I made one big bit for the base and a bit the same size for the lid. Then I did each end and once they were cut, I cut the side pieces.
In order for the coolbox to have a good seal around the top, I also cut a part to fit inside the whole cavity, this would be mounted on the lid for when the box closes.

To cut the foam I used a bandsaw, and after years of using a hand panel saw to cut this stuff, the bandsaw was amazing! It didnt feel as though it was even cutting! (Be careful though, don't want to become overconfident! Remember, bandsaws were invented to cut up meat!)

I'm afraid you'll have to excuse the lack of photos, this is my first instructable and I simply forgot to take them as I was making the coolbox. Luckily, it's a simple build, so you shouldn't get too lost!

Step 3: Insert the Foam.

Ok, nice simple step this, just get the foam which has been cut to size and glue it into the box. I used a hot glue gun for this part, mainly because it was easily acessable, but also there is the fact that many solvet based glues would melt the polystyrene and PVA won't stick to the non-pourus surface of the foam.

For the insert on the lid, I did chamfer the sides ever so slightly, just so it wouldnt catch as it swung into place.

Step 4: Happy Feet.

Once all the foam has been put in place, your coolbox is essentially finished, as in it will keep things cool and look pretty awesome. I just felt that it needed some feet to stop it scratching any table that I may end up putting it on.

For this, i was going to use those felt pads you get for the bases of chair legs, but figured if you took the coolbox to the beach then they would pick up sand and defeat the whole point of putting them on. That's where the Sugru came into play. If you have never used /heard of Sugru it's a silicone rubber putty that sets solid after 24hrs, perfect for instructables! I got one packet which costs about a £1 and then split it into four equal sized balls and squashed them down on each corner. 24hrs later and they're totally solid and the coolbox is ready to rock!

Step 5: Finshing Touches?

That is all I have done to the coolbox so far, but I am considering painting the inside with a liquid rubber type product to make it a more waterproof container, but as it stands it does the job nicely! All you need to finish it off is some freezer blocks/packs, and there are plenty of ways you can make your own. Personally I got mine form TK Maxx for £4 and they are flexible ones, perfect for wrapping round some beers!

This was my first instrucatble so any feedback is more than welcome!



    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest
    • Backpack Challenge

      Backpack Challenge

    15 Discussions

    Me and my boyfriend love this idea! Nicely done!
    You could make a fiberglass and epoxy lining, to make the insite more robust and easier to clean :)

    Looks great. I had this idea too, but you beat me to it haha. I'll let you know if I figure out a liner when I get around to building mine, if you haven't updated by then.

    Nice idea! Thanks for sharing. Hell who needs to buy an ice chest when u can't just make it one

    This looks Steampunk-able. Also I can see it all spooky for Halloween. Well done.

    I like this, I find those plastic boxes rather ugly. I found it nice and clear to follow too, thanks.

    I love this. What would you think of using some sort of resin to seal the inside so you could fill it with ice?

    2 replies

    I had thought of that, but the only resin i had available was a polyester resin, which would have been fine to line the wooden box with, but it would have melted the polystyrene. Ideally what i need is an acrylic tanking compund like they use to seal shower trays.

    Hrm... Perhaps you could use a simple paint primer on the polystyrene to protect it from the resin?

    Very nice and stylish! Will you be updating again if you do the liner?

    1 reply

    Thanks for the feedback, yes I'll update if i do the lining, but as it stands its perfect for drinks and other sealed containers, I'll only line it if i decide to start storing food in it I think. And only if i can get something appropiate for free too!

    This looks great. I need to get hold of (or make) a wooden trunk. Nice Instructable.


    5 years ago

    Cool go check out my account

    Looks great and it ought to work great, too. Thanks for posting!