Rustic Cooler Box from Recycled Pallets Info

Topics being covered

  1. Using pallet wood to build rustic furniture. 
  2. How to build a wooden cooler box around a plastic cooler.
  3. How to use pipe to build a functional and decorative shelf. 

Supplies/Tools List

  1. Pallets
  2. 48 quart Coleman cooler
  3. Optional hardware/accessories
  4. Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane
  5. Dewalt screw gun/drill
  6. Kreg Jig
  7. Miter saw
  8. Dewalt Table Saw 
  9. Titebond 3 waterproof wood glue

**Click on items above to see description and purchase**

 Rustic Cooler Box from Recycled Pallets - beachbumlivin

Rustic Cooler Box from Recycled Pallets - beachbumlivin

For this week's woodworking project I'm building a Rustic Cooler Box from used Pallets. The project was a lot of fun to do and pretty simple! By just using some old Pallets that were free I was able to build something that will get a lot of use. Plus, by using the Pallets I think it turned out really cool looking! Much better than just buying some new wood and building this cooler box. Continue reading down below  :)

Creating the Rustic Cooler Box

So what's up fellow beach bums, I appreciate you guys stopping by because I got a great one for this week. It's something I’m really excited about building because I plan on getting a lot of use out of it. Especially with this warm weather coming and it's already hot as crap here.  Stay tuned and I'll show you what I end up building. That's right. So what is cooler than, get it, cooler? Than a box made of pallet wood that you put your cooler into and holds your beer. That is just awesome!


So as far as supplies go for this project all I pretty much needed was pallets. I went ahead and broke down the pallets into individual planks. I have the entire center sections broke down which are just the two by four sections. On these pallets they worked out good because they are just solid two by fours and are not the ones with the cut outs where the forks can go into. So that works out great because I'm really going to need those to build the frame of the cooler box. Inside you are obviously going to need a cooler. I have a forty-eight quart cooler, which is just a simple basic cooler. I think it will make it easier for framing it out since it's just a basic square.

So the first thing I need to do is get this cooler prepped. I need to take the handles and the rubber hinges off. So now I have the cooler ready to go and ready to be framed out. I'm not worried about attaching the cooler at this point. I just need to get the dimensions of the frame and then I worry about setting the cooler in and getting it attached later on. So I just finished up building the base or frame part and now I'm going to move on to adding the pallet boards to the top. I want to go ahead and do this before I put the cooler or anything in there because what's going to happen is I'm going to attached these and then I'll trace an outline of the actual cooler and then take a jigsaw and just cut a hole so that I’ll be able to raise and lower actual coolers top lip to determine how high I need it. So once everything's done and I have a wooden frame built around here and everything, it'll fit nice and flush down onto the cooler. So once I get this attached and then I cut a hole I'll be able to add spacers down here on the bottom that will allow the cooler to sit on.

So I've just finished attaching the top and now I'm going to get the dimensions for the hole I'm going to cut. I'm just using the top because it's the same size on the outside as the actual cooler. So I'm going to trace an outline, take a jigsaw and actually cut the hole out so the bottom portion of the cooler, from the bottom, fit up to this top level nice and flush. All right, I've just finished putting the cooler in and I think it turned out really good. It fits nice and tight. It's really flush, just the way I wanted it. I haven't quite attached it yet because I'm I actually going to take it back out. I want to go ahead and work on the base and leaving the cooler in for right now and attaching it would be in the way. The easiest way to do this would be to take the pallet wood and just put it on outside like this and just go down. That would be the easiest way and you could just attach it with some hammer and nails or screw gun. I want to do something a little different. I want to take a piece of thin plywood and actually put it behind here. So it will basically have a little canvas area right here and then I'll do something with the pallet wood to do something kind of decorative. I think it will be cool and a little more challenging than just attaching it to the outside.

All right, so I've got the panels cut and now I just need to attach them. I'm going to use a nail gun and get these attached to the inside. Okay, so this is the idea I came up with as far as a way to brace the cooler. I didn't actually screw anything into to the cooler so it worked out really good. All I did was I had two two-by-fours and built this little brace first and slid it in here. I put pressure on the cooler and you can see those little tabs from where the handles were. They worked out perfectly because it limited how far it could go up and I was able to put enough pressure on the bottom with this brace to wear those tabs were touching the pallet wood on top.

Okay, so now it's time to build the lid. What I did was I took some of the two by fours that I had from the pallets and I just cut the length for the front and the back and somehow it worked out that somehow that whatever I cut off, the remaining part of the two by four fit perfectly on the ends. So I didn't have to do another cut or measurement. I have it framed out and now I'm just basically going to build this together. I'm going to attach all the two by fours so it's nice and snug around the lid and then I'm going to use some screws and actually attach it to the lid so that when it opens this part is attached to the lid and it opens just fine.

So I'm ready to get started on finishing up these panels and what I end up doing was I took pieces of pallet wood and I cut several of them with like a wavy pattern. I cut it into one continuous piece and then I took some other pieces of pallet wood and cut them down into a bunch of little strips. Then I cut them into little pieces basically little blocks. So I have a big stack of blocks and what I plan on doing is taking some glue, I actually got some waterproof wood glue because this is something that's going to be outside and have ice in it and drinks and stuff like that. So to be on the safe side I went ahead and got some waterproof glue. I'm just basically going to stack them up like I'm doing bricks or something. I'm just going to stack these up with no certain pattern or anything. Every so often I'll have a layer with the wavy pattern on top of it like that. I'm just going to go up and do all the sides like that. Should look pretty cool.

All right, so I just finished up the front and the sides and I wanted to show you guys how I was going to do the back because I was going to do it a little different. This is just basically and really easy way to wrap the cooler. I had mentioned in the beginning how the simplest way would have been to use the pallets and just go on the outside and just screw or nail them in but I did these recessed panels and then on the backside this is just a really simple way. All I did was take the pallets and cut them down into these little strips and then I'm just going to glue them on. It's not going to take anytime at all. So that's it, I had to add my BeachBumLivin tag on it of course. So once I get done with this panel I'll be done with these and I can move onto the next thing.

Okay, so I'm pretty much done with the cooler but I was really feeling like it needed a place to where you set cases of beer waiting to be added to the inside of the cooler. So I've decided to build a shelf and what I've come up with is to use piping so I have this piping material right here. The idea is to have these two longer pieces of pipe just running along the bottom just wide enough to where you set a case of beer. So I'm going to go ahead and build this and then attach it to the cooler. All right, so I just finished up the shelf and got that all mounted, looking awesome. I was thinking about painting it black but after seeing it mounted I've to decided to leave it bare metal. It looks real industrial and just pretty dang awesome if you ask me.

I went ahead and put a layer of exterior clear coat on it just to protect it. Just in case it gets wet. I've got two things left to do. I've got this mountable bottle opener that is powder coated black and it has the recycle emblem laser etched into the top, which looks awesome. So I'm just going to mount that right here, a nice and convenient location. Lastly, I have this copper hand stamped BeachBumLivin-Est.2012 little plaque I'm going to mount right here on the top. So I'm going to knock those two things out and then I'll be done with this project and it’s going to be time to use this bad boy.  


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