Old-Fashioned Wooden Cooler


Every July my company sponsors a charity golf tourney at the Blackhawk Country Club. We always get a table at the 10th hole and come up with fun themes to entertain the golfers as they come through.CSHE SF Golf Blackhawk

This year, the weather was expected to be over 100 degrees, so we decided to rent an ice cream cart, fill it with dry ice and serve ice cream bars. Genius idea, right?!

Not so much. When we got the rental, it was old, beat up and spray painted.

Me, being the marketing manager and perfectionist I am, was not going to allow that ugly, cheap thing to represent our company in any way. So I decided to build my own solution – my very own DIY Cooler!


I decided to go with a modified version of this Shanty-2-Chic DIY Cooler because, let’s face it, those ladies are the best at making complicated seem easy and I love them.

IMG_6907Anyways, down to business. Here is what you’ll need for your DIY cooler.

1 – Styrofoam Cooler (I choose a big one from Walmart, but you can modify the dimensions to fit any cooler).
1 – Pack of 2 Narrow Utility Hinges (I used these from Home Depot)
1 – Pack of 2 Brushed Nickel Hooks
1 – Brushed Nickel Handle (I used this from Home Depot)
1 – Brushed Nickel Bottle Opener
6 – 1ร—4 boards (8ft long)
5 – 1ร—2 boards (8ft long)
3 – 1ร—3 boards (8ft long)
1 – 2ร—3 board (8ft long) – If you can find a shorter board, that works, but if not, you’ll just have some leftover.

I followed the directions as outlined on the Shanty2Chic blog, but had to adjust my measurements to fit the cooler I purchased since it was different than the cooler they used.

I started by cutting and assembling the sides of the cooler. I used my kreg jig and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. IMG_6900IMG_6898

Then I made the cuts for the legs and also attached them together with 1 1.4″ pocket hole screws.


The building plans that Shanty2Chic posted attached the sides together in a box before attaching the legs, but the sides that I cut were not quite long enough to make a box, so I had to improvise. I attached the legs to one of the sides first and then added the front panel, then the next leg, then the next side panel, etc until I had built all the way around the cooler.IMG_6901


This strategy is obviously not ideal, but I figured it was better than re-cutting and wasting all that wood, so I worked with what I had. If you mess up like me, make sure you check for square and make sure all the sides are even along the top edge.

Once I had the main part of the cooler constructed, I squeezed in the styrofoam cooler and added the 2×4’s under it for support. I actually measured the distance between the two sides before cutting the 2×4’s since I strayed from the original plans, so be sure to measure this BEFORE making your cuts. :)


I got excited and forgot to take pictures of me building the lid, but I basically built a frame around the lid with 1×2’s and then cut 1×3’s and 1×2’s to cover the top. I just nailed these into the frame with my Ryobi Airstrike Brad Nailer and pushed the lid inside.

Before adding the hinges, make sure to line up the lid with the bottom of the cooler so that you get a decent seal. If you don’t, it won’t shut properly and your drinks won’t stay as cool as long. ๐Ÿ˜‰


After the lid was on, Alexa helped me sand the entire cooler and we stained it with Minwax Early American. My favorite stain.


The cooler came in super handy for the golf tournament and we got tons of compliments! Now it’s in its permanent home on my back patio next to my wine cart and waiting for my next BBQ. :)



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