Do you have an old, broken and unused refrigerator that you have been wanting to throw away but have not had the time to do so? Do not dump it just yet. Your old refrigerator can actually be turned into an awesome party-friendly cooler that you can use whenever you host a huge party. This Do-It-Yourself project costs about 40 dollars worth of materials and it takes about two days to finish. As a result, you will have a combined serving or prep table complete with multiple cooler compartments good for keeping drinks, condiments or other foods cold. Without further ado, below are the steps for turning your old broken refrigerator into an amazing party cooler:
Prepping Up the Tools and Materials
First and foremost, the materials that you will need include an old refrigerator, about four pallets of wood, wood screws, caulking, casters, frames and bases for the cooler to sit on as well as PVC and brass fittings, rope and eye bolts and if you want, a black spray paint. As for the tools, they are all pretty standard and chances are you probably have it at your house anyway. The tools include a drill, a screwdriver, a chop saw, a circular saw, a sander, a caulking gun as well as a pry-bar and hammer.
Breaking Down Pallets
The next step after you have gathered all the tools and materials would be breaking down the pallets. This can be quite difficult mentioning the fact that they are so tightly put together. Hence, you may consider to cut through the deck boards where they are attached to the side stringer boards of the pallet. This will let you to get only the middle stringer and the deck boards to be attached, making it easy for you to separate the deck boards with a bit of leverage and hammering in the process.
Processing the Pallets
After you have broken the pallets down into pieces, the next process would be adjusting the pallet wood itself. You will have to cut it so that they are the same width of the refrigerator, in which you can assemble a quick jig for the cop saw which will allow you to index the boards to the same length as the refrigerator quickly. In addition, leave some of the deck boards untouched because they will be needed at a later step.
Disassembling the Refrigerator
This process is pretty simple, use your screwdriver or drill to remove all screws and pull all of the electronics and shelving out, but be careful not to cut through the Freon lines.
Painting the Refrigerator (Optional)
After you have dismantled all the content of your refrigerator, you may want to paint it although this is not mandatory. If you have a white refrigerator, the bright white color will really emphasize unfinished edges of the pallet boards, creating an overall “unfinished” look if you choose to keep it that way. If you choose to paint the refrigerator, try not to spray paint to the gaskets that seal your refrigerator doors because it may cause the seal to work less effectively.
Attaching the Pallet Wood Sides
Once the refrigerator is painted (or not), you can start covering all of its sides with the pallet woods that you have reclaimed earlier. Make them to fit perfectly, and in the process you may want to combine the usage of liquid nails and wood screws to fasten things up.
Putting Wood Covers for the Doors
After you have covered the sides, the next process that you would have to do would be to cover the doors with the same reclaimed pallet wood, but this time you need to do it in parts because the front faces of the doors and the edges need to be done separately. For the door edges, cut the pieces to be three or four inches wider than they should be, because it should cover the other pallet board that will go with the front doors.
Constructing the Base
After all sides including the front doors have been covered, you should make a base for your cooler in order for it to be portable and moving. Create an under-structure frame that can support the cooler’s weight and do not forget to provide mounting points for the casters.
Making It Waterproof
Since you will be laying your cooler horizontally, whereas the original refrigerator is meant to be placed vertically, you will need to add some waterproofing to prevent leakage coming out of your cooler. Seal the smaller holes with a dab or two of caulking, whereas you can cover up larger holes with a combination of PVC plugs and caulking. Let the caulking to dry out for a while, and after that fill the cooler with water to check for any leaking.
Adding Finishing Touches
Last but not least, add finishing personal touches to your cooler. Use heavy duty handles to make the cooler easier to open; use rope catches to prevent the lids from opening too wide. You can also provide space for a chalk board or a white board on the front to let people know what would be on the menu at the party.
In addition, you can also turn it into a business cart for selling cold drinks on a sunny hot summer day, but regardless of its intended usage, now you have learned the method of turning your old broken refrigerator into an amazing party cooler.