Wooden Cooler Box

Want a unique cooler to show off at your next braai party? Perhaps something that complements your patio furniture? Maybe you’re just thrifty and don’t want to throw away a perfectly good cooler box… Transform it with this cool DIY project that will take it from the ordinary to the extraordinary!

What you will need:

  • Five 38mmx38mm planks at 2.4m
  • One 19mmx63mm plank at 2.4m
  • A large cooler box
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Wood glue
  • Hinges
  • Spigot
  • Handle
  • Bottle opener


  1. Take the cooler box apart. You want to be left with the bare box and the lid removed.
  2. Build your sides. In order to ensure a snug fit, measure the width, height and depth of your cooler box. Decide on the length you want your legs to be (76cm is good as your finished product will be around counter-height). When attaching the supports, add 3.81cm to the distance between the two – this is because you will be adding 38mmx38mm supports for the box to sit on. Now build the two sides.
  3. Once you have your two large sides, cut the 38mmx38mm at your depth measurement. Attach it with wood glue and screws. Make sure you know the length your 38mmx38mm supports need to be and cut it to size. Now attach with glue and screws as well. There you go – you have your frame!
  4. You should measure how long you want your side planks to be. Nail your planks onto the frame to from the side. Don’t attach planks to the side with the cooler box drainage hole just yet. Start from the outside on each side and work your way in. You may use wood glue here to add to the stability. Once at the centre, measure the remaining gap and cut a plank to fit.
  5. Drill a hole in one plank to fit your spigot. On this side you can start nailing your planks from the centre outwards. Make sure the hole on the plank is parallel with the drainage hole on the cooler box.
  6. You should now add trim to the top of the cooler over the rim where the cooler and wood meets. Cut your planks to fit with a 45° angle. Once done with this, add trim to your sides as well. That’s your base done.
  7. Now you move over to the lid. Measure the cooler box lid and build a frame around it. Use the 19mmx63mm plank for this. Glue and nail, or screw the wood together. Place the cooler box lid into this frame. It’s supposed to extrude a bit lower than the frame. Now screw the frame onto the lid, making sure it’s tight.
  8. To cover the lid, measure the frame you made in step 7 and cut wood to fit, nailing it onto the frame once you’re done. Now you should measure and add trim to the top of your lid.
  9. Attach your finished lid to your base with hinges. Fix them to your lid first then line it up with the base.
  10. Now for the finishing touches! Treat the wood as you see fit, then screw the spigot into the drainage hole of the cooler box. Finally, attach your lid handle and bottle opener, and there you go. Enjoy!