Holidays Woodworking

DIY Wooden Drink Cooler


Fourth of July is right around the corner, and I’ll be celebrating America’s independence in the most patriotic way possible – a backyard BBQ and listening to the Hamilton album on repeat (okay, maybe that’s just me). But for real, backyard BBQ’ing will be commencing, so that means we’re going to need somewhere to hold our adult (and kid) beverages. I spent some time in the shop this week creating a distressed, patriotic beverage cooler to show off at the party I’ll be attending. It only required a few simple tools and two afternoons to create!

How To Make A DIY Wooden Drink Cooler

I had some pine boards laying around from an old project and decided it was time to create something fun with them. If you were to buy the pine for this project it would cost you around $17 in wood. Not so bad!


Here’s how you can make your own…

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. While they are no extra cost for you to click on to purchased your items, DIY Huntress does receive commission from these sales (which helps to keep things free around here)!

What You’ll Need:


Miter Saw
Nail Gun
5/8″ Drill Bit
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
Measuring Tape

(2) 1 x 4 x 8′ Pine Boards
1″ Brad Nails
1 ¼” Pocket Hole Screws
Tarp/Plastic Bag
Plutonium Spray Paint (Hot Sauce)
Plutonium Spray Paint (Submarine)
Plutonium Spray Paint (Polar)
Plutonium Spray Paint (Clear Gloss)
Painter’s Tape
Star Stickers/Stencil

The Steps:

1. Mark your cuts. You will need to mark:
(4) 24″ Boards*
(4) 10″ Boards*
(5) 8 ½” Boards


*The longer boards will be mitered at 45 degrees on each end, so make sure to leave room for the miter cut – I left about a 1″ gap from the end of the board.

2. Use your miter saw to cut the longer boards. Start by cutting one end at 45 degrees. For the other end, keep the board where it is and just flip the saw to the opposite 45 degree marking.


3. Cut the five smaller pieces at 0 degrees (these will be the slats for the bottom of your cooler).


4. Drill pocket holes on the insides of 2 of the shorter boards and 2 of the longer boards.


5. Drill pocket holes in both ends of the slat pieces.


6. Begin to attach all of the boards using wood glue and brad nails. You will be making two separate boxes. Make sure all of the pocket hole pieces are joined together in one box. 



7. Attach the slats to the box that does not have the pocket holes.


8. Now that you have the bottom box and the top box, attach both together with wood glue and pocket hole joinery.


9. Measure the spots where you’d like the holes to be for the rope. I chose to place mine 2 ½” inward from both ends and found the center of the top board. I used painters tape here to limit the amount of tearing that occurs when drilling into wood.

10. Sand the piece before painting.


11. Paint the first layer of paint (I chose to do a white spray paint base coat over the entire piece with Plutonium Paint). Let dry.


12. Tape off your sections for stripes and paint those red. Let dry.


13. Tape off the sections for the blue pieces. Add star stickers (I found these at my local dollar store) to the white paint before spraying. Peel off when dry.


14. One dry, I decided I wanted my boxes to be distressed. I used my sander to create distress marks in the paint.


15. Spray a finishing coat on the wood. Make sure it is waterproof.

16. Cut your rope and thread it through the holes in the box. Tie tight knots on the inside of the box to keep the rope from falling out.


17. Next step is to cut a tarp or plastic bag to use to hold the ice. I had an old Ikea bag lying around and decided to recycle it for this project.


18. Staple the tarp or bag to the inside of the box.


19. PART-AY!


What I love most about this project is that by using slats on the bottom of the cooler, I have allowed room for some drainage in case any ice gets stuck on the sides of the tarp, or in case there happens to be a hole in it at some point.

I’m really excited to bust this baby out on July 4th weekend! Peace out boring coolers! My adult beverages have graduated…


I hope you guys loved this project and will make one for your next party (if you do, I expect an invite waiting for me in the mail and a brew with my name on it). Also, if you get tired of being a lush, maybe consider using this as a planter. Then your flowers can be singing the national anthem with you.

Make sure to tag me in those projects on Instagram and Facebook! I love seeing what you’re making!

Until next time…

*Some of the tools and materials for this project have been provided by Kreg and Plutonium Paint. All opinions, ideas, materials, and beverage choices are my own.

Sam Raimondi

Sam is a full time psychologist and part time content creator from Long Island, New York.



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