Rustic Pallet Cooler With Bottle Cap Artwork

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When I was working on my Gift Wrap Cart project, Crates and Pallet also sent me a shipment of pallet wood.  Initially, I wanted to use it to build a pallet wall in my son's bigger big boy room. However, the universe had other plans for it. 

My son's school has an annual auction, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year.  Each grade level contributes a project for the auction. Last year, Triple Threat built a pallet bookcase and I painted a 'Tree of Knowledge' with the children's fingerprints as the leaves.

When I started thinking about the auction project for this year, I remembered we had a lot of pallet wood begging to be turned into something amazing. And the best part about this pallet wood is that it's ready to go - no disassembly required! 

After considering a few options, we decided to build an outdoor rustic beverage cooler. Since this was supposed to be a class project, I needed to come up with a way for the students to contribute.  

Inspiration struck when I was looking for a bottle opener one night.  What goes along with beverages? Bottles and more specifically bottle caps.  So, there was my big idea - bottle cap art. Our wonderful art teacher agreed to supervise the project if we supplied the materials.  

Flat bottomed bottle caps were perfect for our project since they can easily be attached to any craft.  There are 100 second graders and we decided to get enough for each child to paint two.

We chose this 48 quart Coleman cooler since it was the perfect size to build the stand around.

Triple Threat started building the outside frame for the chest. Using some scrap wood (if you look closely, you can see our son's artwork) he made the fame to the exact dimensions of the cooler, leaving 1/4" on each side so the cooler could be removed easily. After the frame was built, he started cutting the the pallet boards to length and nailing them on.

To construct the legs, he used his compressor and nail gun to attached two boards on each corner.

The cooler needed a lid and we opted for a cover for the entire cooler instead of removing and attaching the ice chest lid. He found the straightest boards and made a box frame, then filled in the top with a few carefully selected boards.

Then, I got to use the big girl industrial glue gun I got for Christmas and attached all the bottle caps to the front.  I will neither confirm nor deny that I got a burn or two along the way.

On any beverage station, a bottle opener is required right?  This rustic, cast iron style was a nice finishing touch. 

courtesy of amazon

courtesy of amazon

At Hobby Lobby, of course, I found this heavy duty iron handle for the lid and it complements the bottle opener perfectly.

The painted bottle cap artwork reminds me of an antique hand-made quilt.  Do you agree?

After seeing how perfectly this pallet cooler fits on my patio, I'm going to have a hard time letting it go.  

Since we donated our time and talent to build this rustic pallet cooler, I hope the bids roll in and generate a hefty donation for the PTA. Bidding is open until February 25 at 10 p.m. You can bid on it HERE

Wouldn't this cooler make a great Father's Day present?  Children can create their own artwork to display on the front.  Father's Day is only a few months, so pin and share this project for later.