Keep Your Cool with 10 DIY Ice Chests

At your next outdoor bash, don't keep going back into the house for drinks! Instead, grab yourself a cold one from one of these clever—and stylish—"ice chests."

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  1. Serve It Up in Style


    Entertaining on the deck this summer? Keep your frosty beverages cool with one of these unique beer and wine coolers. Although it might take a little elbow grease and imagination to assemble some of these, others just require a few bags of ice and some of your favorite drinks to get the party started.

  2. Ice-Cold Bath


    A vintage clawfoot bathtub gets a new lease on life as a king-size cooler. Decorate it with a few images of your favorite drinks, and you'll have a one-of-a-kind piece of functional deck furniture!

  3. Beverage Bench


    Giving up on gardening? Turn that unused potting bench into a fashionable drinks station for your balcony, patio, or deck. Fill the sink area with ice, use the top shelf for glasses, cups, and bottles, and load up the bottom with a washtub full of ice and beer. You'll find a tutorial here.

  4. Picnic Table Potables

    For DIYers with a little more ambition (or time), create a picnic table with a drink trough by removing the table's center slat and replacing it with a section of rain gutter. Fill the gutter with ice and drinks, and you'll have a backyard cooler that will make you the envy of all your friends.

  5. Cocktail Craft


    Give your larger get-togethers a nautical theme by serving a boatload of beverages on ice. This charming outdoor cooler would also be great for serving oysters, fruit, or a collection of salads—just place the bowls deep in the ice to keep your grub chilled on those hot summer days.

  6. Wine Barrel of Fun


    While half barrels are handy, a full-size wine barrel can make a distinctive outdoor holding area for ice and drinks. Placed on a sawhorse and outfitted with a simple hinged door, this unusual cooler keeps beverages within easy reach.

  7. Radio Flyer Fare


    If you collect vintage pieces, chances are you could easily pull together a whimsical cooler by combining a couple of your favorite items. In this playful creation, a Singer sewing machine base holds up a classic Radio Flyer wagon, the perfect combination to nestle soft drinks, punch, and beer on a bed of ice.

  8. Cool Wheelbarrow


    A wheelbarrow makes a great outdoor cooler for Fourth of July celebrations, especially if you happen to have a red one. Wheel it out of the garden shed or garage, find a shady spot on the deck, fill it with ice, drinks, and a few flags, and voilà—a fast, simple, and mobile solution for keeping your drinks cool outdoors.

  9. Whiskey, Neat!


    Tired of that whiskey barrel planter in front of your house? Roll it around to the back and attach four legs to the bottom. Make or buy a lid and fill it with ice cubes for a rustic, country-style cooler.

    Adam Zombek,

  10. (Not Entirely) Kiddie Pool


    A kiddie pool is a simple, fun, and economical way to cool cans of soda and beer on a hot summer day. If you're using an inflatable version, keep sharp items like bottle caps far away—nothing can ruin a weekend barbecue like a punctured pool full of melting ice!

  11. Soda Fountain


    Repurpose a concrete fountain from your garden into an drinks station for entertaining. Just set it up on your veranda, deck, or patio, and fill one or or both basins with ice and drinks. Decorate with flowerpots or greenery, and impress your guests with your do-it-yourself ingenuity!

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