A DIY Concrete Ice Chest Perfect For Your Summer Festivities

Ben Uyeda from HomeMade Modern shows how easy it is to turn an old kitchen cabinet into a party perfect concrete ice chest.

Supplies + Tools

Quikrete 5000
Available at Home Depot
I used almost 2 bags of Quikrete 5000, so the planter weighs about 150 lbs.

2” Thick XPS Rigid Foam Insulation
Available at Home Depot
XPS Rigid Foam is a type of waterproof insulation that is easy to cut.

1/2” Brass Pipe
Available at Home Depot
I used brass pipes to avoid rust. The pipe should be long enough to go through the planter’s wall. I also got a threaded nut for the pipe.

Heavy Duty Casters
I used all metal, heavy duty casters for their strength and industrial look. Plastic or rubber wheels would be easier on a deck or floors. You could even try old skateboard wheels.

Scrap 3/4” Plywood
Available at Home Depot
I cut a piece of 3/4” plywood to create a mounting surface for the casters.

Caulk + Glue
Available at Home Depot
I used Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive and silicone caulk to glue down the foam and seal the mold.

Old Cabinet
Recycled + Reclaimed

1/2” Spigot
Available at Home Depot
I used a spigot but a hose bib could also make the planter easier to drain. You can make this project a little cheaper and easier without it.

RYOBI 18 Volt Cordless Drill
Available at Home Depot

RYOBI 18 Volt Circular Saw
Available at Home Depot

1. Cut Rigid Foam

Cut 3 pieces of the rigid foam to fit inside the cabinet. Leave about 1 1/2” to 2” of space between the foam and the cabinet.

2. Mark and measure where to drill the hole for the spigot

Measure the distance from the edge of the cabinet to the top of the foam. Mark that distance on the exterior side of the cabinet and where the center of the hole should be. Drill thorugh the cabinet and insert the pipe.

3. Cut the foam to fit the pipe

Use a knife to cut away the foam to make room for the pipe.

4. Seal the mold

I used duct tape and silicone caulk to seal the pipe to the foam and the edge of the cabinet.

5. Brace and mark the mold

Depending on the condition of the cabinet being used, you may need to brace it with L brackets or rope. I tied a ratchet strap around my cabinet to keep the weight of the concrete from pushing out the sides. Mark a line about 2” above the top of the cabinet. This will serve as a guide to let you know when you have added enough concrete.

6. Mix and pour the concrete

Mixing this much concrete is hard work and you may be tempted to over water the concrete to make it easier to work with. If you add too much water, the concrete will be weak and could crack. Mix the concrete until it is the consistency of wet cookie dough and pack it down into all the corners and cracks of the cabinet. Make sure the wet concrete goes under and around the pipe. Use a stick or pipe to push the concrete down.

7. Vibrate the mold

Use a hammer to shake and vibrate the mold. This will bring air bubbles to the surface of the concrete.

8. Put in the plywood

I placed a piece of plywood – the same size as the foam – on top of the wet concrete and pushed it down to be flush to the surface of the concrete. You may need to put something heavy on top to keep it from floating up.

9. Let the concrete cure

Let the concrete cure for at least 4 days before removing the form. The manufacturer suggests covering the concrete to control moisture, but I didn’t and it came out just fine.

10. Remove the outer mold

Gently break away the cabinet mold without cracking the concrete. You can use a circular saw to cut away the cabinet, if needed.

11. Remove the inner mold

Use a knife and prybar to cut and break out the foam.

12. Install the spigot and screw on the wheels

Screw the spigot on and seal it with silicone or latex caulk. You can also glue it on with Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive. Screw the wheels to the plywood and flip it over.

Good luck making your own Concrete Ice Chest and please tweet photos to @benuyeda or email photos to For more detailed instructions on this an other DIY projects, check out

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