Simply by looking at this broken compact refrigerator from a new angle, a DIYer gives this appliance a second chance.
When a household appliance breaks beyond repair, your first impulse might be to kick it to the curb. Repurposing furniture has become a thrifty and eco-friendly trend of late (as evidenced by these features from HGTV, DIY Network, Country Living, and Martha Stewart Living), so you might want to give your weathered furniture a second look before throwing any out. YouTube user Elliott Reyna saw the potential in his broken compact refrigerator and upcycles it into a handy beverage cooler. Though he admits to not using any plans for this DIY project in the YouTube comments, Reyna’s beverage cooler (or beer cooler, depending on the shindig) turns out to be a must-have for any patio or deck party.
Insulated coolers are fairly easy to come by and are not wildly expensive, but some might argue that they are not the most aesthetically pleasing. For example, this cooler from Target costs about $20, but its bright colors may be difficult to match with other decor. Reyna’s DIY alternative may require a little bit of elbow grease, but its rustic appearance provides instant charm. Plus, this compact-refrigerator-turned-insulated-cooler comes with the satisfaction and bragging rights that accompany completing a project successfully.
The first step in creating this custom insulated cooler is to remove the refrigerator door and compressor elements from the unit. You’ll need the door again later, but there’s no need to save the compressor for the purposes of this project. It’s important to note that removing the compressor makes the fridge nonoperational, but that shouldn’t be a problem seeing as this one was already broken.
The next step is where Reyna’s woodworking skills truly shine. He builds a supporting frame for the compact refrigerator, making a point to leave some space for a “bar top” by the lid. It’s worth mentioning that the fridge isn’t the only repurposed element in this DIY project. In the YouTube video description, Reyna mentions using “dog-ear redwood fencing as the siding” and recommends “cedar siding or old recycled pallets” as alternative materials. As a way to prevent siding mishaps or asymmetry, he makes it a point to attach the planks from the outside corners and work his way in, then adjusts the center plank as necessary.
Once the compact refrigerator is completely encased in wood, Reyna reattaches the door and finishes up the hinged lid with more redwood planks and a handle for easy opening. As a clever little touch, he adds some PVC pipe and a spigot to the bottom of the cooler to easily drain out melted ice without having to tip the entire thing over. Reyna also screws casters to the legs for mobility.
Of course, this video is just the starting-off point. Depending on the size of the refrigerator, you may need to alter the dimensions of the wooden frame. Reyna mentions different types of wood that would work for this project, but you can also test different paints and finishes for a truly personalized look. When discussing the other possibilities for this concept, this DIYer notes in the comments on his video, “you could keep it functional. You’d have to relocate the compressor components so they are back in the vertical position. Mine is more of just a glorified ice chest.” Whether you call it a “glorified ice chest,” a beverage cooler, or a beer cooler, this DIY project demonstrates how a fresh perspective can revive a broken appliance.