Wooden Cooler




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 www.liftsupportsdepot.com, 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 liftsupportsdepot.com. 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:



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    11 Discussions

    Awesome work! That's the coolest cooler I've ever seen bro!

    Nice, I am planning to make one of these soon to get ready for the summer.

    How do you handle drainage? Since the fridge doesn't work, I'm assuming you use ice, but most coolers have a drain plug to drain or water as the ice melts.

    1 reply

    I'm actually working on the drain now. I'm going to have a garden hose spigot coming out of the side. I will update soon!