With just $40 for supplies, standard tools and a free day or two, you can turn your an old fridge into an attractive backyard cooler.
Hosting a ton of people in your yard can be a logistical ordeal, with people constantly running in and out of the house, but with this brilliant DIY mega cooler, you can keep enough drinks and food stocked outside to last the whole evening (read: more time for you to simply enjoy the party!).
This fridge-to-cooler conversion from Matt2 Silver at Instructables looks expensive and complicated, but it's much easier than you'd think! If you've already got an old, broken fridge sitting in your garage, the project should run you only $40 or so, and it doesn't require any special tools beyond standard items like drills, drivers and saws. (Lacking an old fridge? You can find them on Craigslist for fairly cheap as well, according to Matt2 Silver.) The best part: The cooler conversion takes only a day or two from start to finish, so it makes for a nice weekend project!
The reclaimed wood for the outside of the cooler comes from wood pallets that you'll need to break down and process to be the correct length. The refrigerator will need some easy dismantling — basically just taking out the screws and pulling out shelving and electronics (Matt2 Silver includes an important note about not cutting the Freon lines). From there, you can paint the refrigerator (only suggested if it's white and will show through the wood), cover the top and sides with wood and add a base and casters so that your cooler is portable. After all, you'll want to take this sweet cooler everywhere you go to show it off, right?!
For final touches, you'll want to add rope catches so that you can prop up the lids without them going too far, screw on some heavy duty handles to both lids, and attach a chalkboard so you can label what's inside or write a special message to your guests.
You can also use a mini fridge for a smaller-sized cooler that's perfect for a compact patio or deck. YouTube user Elliott used dog-ear redwood fencing for siding on his converted mini cooler and recommends staining or sealing the wood with linseed oil or SuperDeck.