It’s our first official day of summer vacation and I am so EXCITED! I’ve mentioned, many times before, how much I love entertaining in the summer! Cook-outs, swimming, eating, time with friends and family – HEAVEN! I’ve always wanted a wooden ice cooler for our patio and decided last week that I could totally build one!
Here she is, my Country Cooler! I’m so excited about this, not only because I have been wanting one but, I designed and built it myself! It’s my first attempt at a piece this big and I’m happy to say that it is such a beginner project and only cost me about $50! I will share a detailed tutorial with you here, and we now have FREE printable plans for this cooler! Click HERE, or the button below to save or print the plans!
6 – 1×4 boards @8ft.
5 – 1×2 boards @8ft.
3 – 1×3 boards @8ft.
1 – 2×3 board @4ft. (try to find a scrap or buy an 8ft. board)
1 set of 2 1/2″ Zinc narrow hinges
1 – Rubber stopper with chain
1 – 6 1/2″ Zinc utility pull
1 – sink flange
1 – 1/2″ U Bolt
1 – Ice scoop
1 – Zinc bottle opener
3 – Hooks
*I used cedar boards for everything except the 1×4’s on the main cooler surround. I had scrap 1×4 furring strips so I used those. However, if I didn’t have the scraps, I would have made the entire piece with cedar. It’s just gorgeous and great for outside!*
I found this great styrofoam cooler at Wal-Mart. I ordered it site-to-store, and it was ready for pick-up in about 4 hours!
I used my miter saw to make the cuts. But, if you aren’t ready to purchase one, you can use the handsaw below for this project!
Start by building the surround for the cooler. I am going to share the measurements that I used for mine but, keep in mind that you need to measure and cut as you go. Board sizes vary and climates can affect the boards as well.
8 – 1×4 @25 1/4″
4 – 1×4 @16 1/2″
8 – 1×2 @25 1/4″
4 – 1×2 @16 1/2″
I attached the boards together using my Kreg Jig pocket holes! Above, I circled all of the places that I drilled the pocket holes and notice that I drilled pocket holes into the 1×4’s only so some 1×4’s have pocket holes going towards both ends to attach to the 1×2’s.
Here is the surround, assembled with Kreg Jig pocket holes and Gorilla Glue wood glue!
Now for the legs! I also circled where I drilled pocket holes into the 1×3’s.
4 – 1×3 @38 1/4″
4 – 1×4 @ 38 1/4″
Attach them with pocket hole screws and a line of wood glue!
Next, I just nailed them to the surround with my new Brad Nailer!
I put a few nails on the outside and a lot on the inside. I also used lots of wood glue :)
Now, just drop the cooler inside the surround. it should be a snug fit! If not, it’s not a big deal, we are going to brace the bottom!
The top should be flush with the top of the surround
and you will have a little space below.
This is where the 2×3 comes in. Cut 3 – 2×3 @16 1/2″ and drill pocket holes into both ends of each board.
Just attach with pocket hole screws and wood glue!
Now to make her pretty! Use 1×2 boards to trim the top, making the edges flush with the surround. You will have an over-hang between the legs. Measure for these cuts to get them exact and attach them with brad nails and wood glue!
Now for the top!
Use 1×2 for the trim on the lid and drill pocket holes into the ends of the 16 1/4″ boards. Attach with pocket hole screws and wood glue.
2 – 1×2 @25 1/4″
2 – 1×2 @16 1/2″
I attached the boards, for the top, with pocket hole screws. I circled where the pocket holes should be.
4 – 1×3 @23 3/4″
4 – 1×2 @23 3/4″
Now, just attach the trim to the top with pocket hole screws and wood glue. The top of the boards should be flush with the trim.
We need a drain still!
I had the idea to use a sink drain kind of contraption and this was SOOOO easy! I purchased a cheap sink flange and rubber stopper with a chain.
Just twist the flange into the spot where you want the drain (make sure the 2×3’s on the bottom are out of the way). Twisting it will cut through the styrofoam.
I had to follow up with my knife a bit but this technique made it easy to get the exact size hole that I needed for the flange!
Next, I “gooped” silicone sealant around the flange and dropped it back inside the hole. Push it in snug and wipe the sealant that seeps out with a wet paper towel.
To attach the top of the cooler to the wooden lid, just use a generous amount of silicone sealant to the top of the styrofoam lid and press it into the wooden lid.
Now for the finish!
I brushed on 1 coat of Rust-Oleum Dark Walnut stain
and followed up with 3 coats of Rust-Oleum Spar Varnish in satin! This is a great finish to protect outdoor pieces! Make sure to give the suggested drying time between coats!
To get the distressed edges on the finish, I just used my Corner Cat! It’s super easy to use and it’s light-weight! I just ran over all of the corners and edges with it.
I got to excited to get this together and didn’t take a picture of the hinges. They are super easy to install though! I just two at the back of the lid.
Do you love that zinc bottle opener? I purchased it from Amazon!. You can click the widget below to purchase your own!
I found this great ice scoop on Amazon, as well, and found a U bolt to attach it with! You can click the widget below to purchase this same ice scoop!
I just predrilled (using a drill bit that was the same thickness as the bolt) and hammered it into the holes ;) If it isn’t a snug fit, I would use Gorilla Super Glue Gel to secure it.
I attached my hooks and handle and in the ice and drinks went ;) It’s time to party!!!
I’m just in love with this cutie! We have already been enjoying it this weekend! I designed this cooler so that the styrofoam cooler can be replaced as needed. It just slides in and out. The lid can be pulled off as well! And, FYI, the cute kitchen towels are Threshold brand from Target ;)
If you love my Country Cooler, I would LOVE your pins;)