Grab a Cold One:

D.I.Y. Ice Chest Ideas

Grab a Cold One: D.I.Y. Ice Chest Ideas

Summertime calls for pool days, cook outs and crisp beverages. If you're looking for a creative way to keep drinks chilled this summer, let Pottery Barn help with these inspiring ideas. From the portable and simple to the semi-permanent and ornate, these D.I.Y. outdoor coolers ideas allow for both form and function in your outdoor space.

Upcycled Antiques

If you're a frequent outdoor entertainer, you may want to come up with a permanent ice chest installation that's easy to keep clean and looks good – even when it's not in use. Let your imagination run wild with upcycled antiques, where there are options abound. From claw-foot bathtubs to stone fountains, most decorative containers that can hold water can also hold ice, cans and bottles. To protect glass containers in a hard concrete or ceramic D.I.Y. ice chest, use lines of clear window caulk to create a raised surface on the inside of the container. This will create a buffer to minimize impact between the bottles and any hard sides.

Converted Whiskey or Wine Barrels

If your gatherings often include a few rounds of wine or whiskey, this ice chest idea is perfect for you! Use a full wine or whiskey barrel as a D.I.Y. ice chest by cutting a large opening in the side of your barrel and using hinges and a knob to create a door. Paint the inside of the barrel with a food-safe epoxy resin to seal the wood and protect the interior. If you have the tools, add a spigot at the bottom of the barrel to drain melted ice – if not, you can simply tip it forward. Even if you’re not a wine or whiskey drinker, this piece is a great piece for your beverage-cooling needs.

Repurposed Garden Planters

For a more straightforward D.I.Y. project, this super functional option affords lots of style. Transform a garden planter into a multifunctional ice chest that's portable and drainable – all you'll need is a garden planter in your desired size. For best results, choose an option with thick, insulated walls (think concrete) – and look for pre-drilled drainage holes in the bottom, which you can plug with rubber stoppers before filling, and then unplug to let out the melted ice.
Your improvised garden planter ice chest is now fully functional, but if you want to give it more insulating power, have a thick piece of plywood cut to fit over the top of the planter. Seal it up by lining the perimeter of the plywood with a refrigerator door gasket, and affixing it with a strong adhesive. Place the planter on a plant stand base with casters so you can easily roll it around your patio, pool deck or porch. These upgrades aren't required, but they can make the ice chest more versatile for outdoor dining and entertaining.