DIY Concrete Beverage Cooler

Hi, friends! I’m SO excited to be sharing today our June Home Depot Gift Challenge! If you’re new around here, the HDGC is a monthly challenge that several other bloggers and I take on (here are my project so far if you’d like a recap; copper pipe clock, felt banner for kids, pegboard flower box, and garden hose storage). A specific item is chosen from Home Depot, and we all come up with a DIY gift for a chosen person.

SONY DSCThis month I got to choose the material we had to use, and I chose concrete. You may remember my little DIY concrete plant stand I posted a few weeks ago, and that totally got me excited to try more concrete projects. I just had to choose it for this month! The gift recipient is non other than good ol’ dad. It IS father’s day this weekend after all, so it was the perfect choice!

New graphic(We are in no way associated with Home Depot; we just love their stuff!)

Don’t forget to check out the other amazing concrete projects from my bloggy friends at the end of this post, AND, in lieu of Father’s day this weekend, we are also giving away a $100 gift card to… you guessed it… HOME DEPOT! Seriously friends, your dad would looooove to win this. You can enter at the bottom of this post, too!

When I chose concrete, I had a few ideas in mind, but nothing that really stood out to me enough to try. So, I thought and thought. I felt a little like Winnie the Pooh for awhile, tapping my head and saying “think think think.” I scoured the internet for ideas and inspirations. And of course, like I always do, I waited until nearly the last minute to decide upon and start my project. #professionalprocrastinator. 😉

I really liked using the 5 gallon bucket in my plant stand project, so I tried to think of things we could make using another one. Between my hubby and I, we finally came up with this DIY concrete beverage cooler! Because we’d never attempted something like this before, we changed a some things throughout the project a few times. Hopefully I can explain how we made ours without totally confusing the heck out of you!

SONY DSCMaterials:

  • 1 bag Quikrete 5000 concrete
  • Water
  • 5 gallon bucket (plus something else to mix the concrete in and with!)
  • 8″ building form concrete tube (we got ours from Home Depot)
  • 3/4″ thick piece of plywood to fit in bottom of the bucket
  • 4 large heavy duty casters + screws
  • 1/2″ Spigot (ours was actually a hose bib and worked perfect) + 1/2″ threaded coupling
  • Round piece of foam (I used a 10″ crafting foam circle)
  • Drill
  • Duct tape
  • Silicone or caulk
  • Thick sisal rope
  • Sandpaper

First, cut your concrete form tube to about 15″ long. I didn’t get a picture of this, but it was pretty easy. I just measured and David used a thick Xacto knife to cut around the form.

I then used the concrete form tube to trace a circle on my foam circle so it’d fit snuggly inside the tube. I used the Xacto knife on that as well (sorry there’s no picture of that, either!)

SONY DSCUsing duct tape, tape the foam inside the concrete form tube. I duct taped the entire top and all around the sides so no concrete could seep in (I may have gone just a little crazy with the duct taping…).

SONY DSCYou’ll need a piece of about 3/4″ thick plywood to go in the bottom of the bucket that the concrete will dry to. This will allow you to add your casters after the concrete has dried. We don’t have any fancy saws or cutting tools, so David just cut the wood into an octagon shape that would fit perfectly inside the bucket. If you’re able, cutting your wood into a circle would work better. Make it about the diameter of the bottom of the bucket so there’s not much room for the concrete to seep underneath.

TIP: Before you pour your concrete, mark the bottom of your plywood with where you’d like your casters to go. We marked ours after, but we had to chisel some of the concrete away to measure where we wanted them. Marking them before will make it easier! 

SONY DSCDuct tape both ends of the threaded coupling really well so no concrete can get inside and clog it. We want the water to be able to flow freely through and out the spigot when all said and done!

SONY DSCMix your concrete. We didn’t have anything large enough to mix it all in, so we used a smaller 2 gallon bucket and did a few “batches” at a time. We found that pouring water in first and then the concrete made it easier to mix. We also didn’t measure anything, we just used a tin can to add the cement to the bucket and just added water until we felt it “looked” right! And yes, we used a big branch to mix it all up. Much easier to just throw away after! (Make sure you wear gloves AND a mask while working with concrete!!)

SONY DSCSlowly start pouring the concrete into the 5 gallon bucket on top of the plywood. We poured about 2 to 3 inches of concrete over the wood, which was plenty before we added the concrete form inside.

SONY DSCOk, this is where it gets a little iffy. So, we had originally planned on using a nipple (basically a longer pipe that fit into the coupling on the inside) which you can see in the materials photo up above, but we realized not only would it be hard to drain any leftover water from under it, but also it would have reached too far into the cooler. It wasn’t as necessary as we had first thought, so we didn’t end up using it at all.

This part was also little tricky (and definitely a 2 person job!). David carefully placed the threaded coupling into the bucket, pushing it against the side completely. He push it into the concrete just a tad so it’d stay in place.

SONY DSCOur theory (since we had noooo idea how or if this would even turn out!) was that if we duct taped both open ends of the coupling, and then pushed it into the bucket and had the concrete form pushed up tightly against that too, then no cement would get into the holes of the coupling, making it easy for water to go through once finished. We would basically cut away the duct tape that was over the hole on both ends after the concrete dried. Phew! I hope that made sense!

Now carefully place your concrete form into the bucket, pushing it up against the coupling, and pushing it down just a little into the concrete. You’ll definitely need two people for this part, as I helped hold the concrete form in the middle so it wouldn’t shift while David mixed and poured more concrete.

TIP: In hindsight, we realize it would have been a lot easier if we had sprayed the outside of the concrete form and the inside of the bucket with Pam or some kind of oil spray to make getting out a little easier! We recommend doing it!

SONY DSCMake sure you push the concrete form into the coupling tightly, to keep it snug against the bucket and so the concrete falls around the coupling without much going between it and the form. Make sure the coupling is also close to the exact bottom of the concrete form, so the water will easily pour out. The sides of the beverage cooler won’t be totally even since the coupling pushes it out from the exact center a tad, but it’ll still work perfectly.

Continue to carefully pour concrete all around the concrete form, filling it up to almost the top of the bucket. We left about an inch or so on top.

SONY DSCUsing a hammer or stick, very carefully and lightly tap the bucket for a few minutes to ensure all the air bubbles are out (don’t tap too hard or you’ll shift the coupling!).

SONY DSCWe wanted to add handles to our beverage cooler to make it easier to move around the patio, so we used  thick sisal ropes. However, we didn’t think to add handles until after the cement had already been sitting for 30 minutes and had begun to set. We cut two pieces of rope the same size (each about a foot long), and then used a stick to make holes in the cement, about 2 inches deep.  We pushed both ends of the rope down into the holes to make a “loop” (and sadly, since this was an afterthought, I totally forgot to get pictures!).  Because the cement had already started to set, it didn’t easily reform around the rope. We used a hammer to gently tap the cement to try and move it back into place and make it smooth on top. Learn from our mistake; if you want handles, add them directly after you pour all the concrete!

We let the concrete dry for about 36 hours. Since it was super hot the few days we did this, it dried a little faster. If it’s cooler where you are, let it dry for 48 hours just to be safe!

Aaaaaand because David is super lightening fast, he got the dried concrete beverage cooler out of the bucket before I could even get pictures of him actually doing it! At least we know it’s fairly easy to get out, right? 😉 This is the only one I got!

SONY DSCHe just moved the concrete form around a bit to loosen it a tad and then just ripped it out. For the bucket, he very carefully tapped the bucket all around with a rubber mallet to loosen the concrete (he really wanted to save the bucket!), but it didn’t work too well so he ended up cutting the bucket up the side instead to take the concrete out.

So, because of all that tapping when we put the handles in last minute, our coupling shifted. David knew where it was, so he gently chiseled with a screw driver to open up the hole and cut through the duct tape on both ends. Twist on your spigot or hose bib. Use caulk or silicone and seal the spigot where it connects to the coupling on the outside. This will make sure water doesn’t leak through.

SONY DSCThen, carefully flip the concrete upside down, and drill holes and screw down the casters. We purchased one of our casters with a “stopper,” so it could be locked into place and not be rolling around too easily on a deck or porch.

PicMonkey CollageFlip her over, and sand the outside edges a bit to smooth them out. You don’t want someone reaching in to grab a drink and cut their hand on the concrete! I also sanded inside a little too, as there was a little bit of the paper residue left from the concrete form.

SONY DSCPhew! You’re all done! I gotta say, I was so worried it wouldn’t work like I had imagined. I hated having to wait 36 hours to find out! In the end, we love how it looks. I haven’t decided if I want to paint the concrete or leave it natural. What do you think?

DIY Concrete Beverage Cooler! SUCH a cool way to display and keep your drinks cold for entertaining this summer! By Dwelling in HappinessAdd some ice, wine, beer, sodas, or water, and you’re set for entertaining outside this summer!

DIY Concrete Beverage Cooler! SUCH a cool way to display and keep your drinks cold for entertaining this summer! By Dwelling in HappinessThe spigot works perfectly too, draining the melted ice after all the drinks are gone. While the spigot is totally optional (and not having it would make this project soooo much easier to put together), it definitely is nice to empty the water without having to lift this super heavy thing to dump it out!



DIY Concrete Beverage Cooler! SUCH a cool way to display and keep your drinks cold for entertaining this summer! By Dwelling in Happiness




DIY Concrete Beverage Cooler! SUCH a cool way to display and keep your drinks cold for entertaining this summer! By Dwelling in Happiness

DIY Concrete Beverage Cooler! SUCH a cool way to display and keep your drinks cold for entertaining this summer! By Dwelling in Happiness

SONY DSCPin it for later:


Wow, that got really long! So sorry about that! Now, onto some other fun things…

First, you’ve GOT to check out these other amazing concrete projects from some seriously talented bloggy friends of mine! Just click on the pictures below to see more!

AND, now for the giveaway…

We have up for grabs a $100 gift card to Home Depot!! Give your dad the best Father’s day gift yet, and he can spend it on aaaaaaanything his heart desires from Home Depot. Can we say major brownie points for you? 🙂 To enter, complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below! Giveaway ends one week from today on Monday June 22nd, at 5am CST!


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Have a great week, friends!

(I link up at these fun parties!)

80 thoughts on “DIY Concrete Beverage Cooler

    1. Ha! Thank you Shannon!! I definitely don’t know if “concrete skills” is something I possess. 😉 But we’ll pretend I do!! My hubby had a huge hand in this too, thank goodness!!

    1. Thank you Shelly!! Ha, I didn’t actually have this in mind when I chose concrete, but I’m glad I did!! Sort of… I know it was hard to work with. 😉

    1. Thank you, Emily! It was sure fun to think up and put together; I’m just glad it didn’t crack and fall apart! Which, it still could… ha!

    1. Thank you, Teresa! Concrete really is fun to work with, but you never know how it’ll actually turn out, which is the hardest part for me! We really had NO idea if this cooler would actually work, but we’re so thrilled it did!! you should definitely try a concrete project! 🙂

    1. Thank you Carole! The little faucet really does help not having to lift that insanely heavy thing to drain the water! Concrete is a lot of fun to work with, but also nerve-wracking because you never know how it’ll turn out! 🙂

    1. Aw thank you SO much, Amy!! We were shocked that it even came out. Ha! We were ready to do something else. I’m so glad it did work!

    1. Aw thank you, Tara!! I’m so glad we added the handles at the end, that thing is one heavy hunk of concrete to move around! The wheels help, too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  1. I love this idea. I’ve been playing around with concrete for a couple of years. So versatile.
    For future reference, for the spigot, you would need to cut a hole in the bucket and form to fit it in. Then use something like hot glue gun or caulking to keep the spigot in place & not let the concrete out. Then just pour the concrete just like you did before.

    1. Thanks, Vanessa! Concrete projects are so fun to try out. Thanks for the tip, and you’re absolutely right; that’s definitely the best way to do it. My hubby was reeeeeeally trying to save the bucket which is why we didn’t cut a hole for it, otherwise we would have. But unfortunately, we ended up having to destroy the bucket anyway. 😉 Next time though, we’ll most definitely be doing it that way! 🙂

  2. What a unique DIY project! I’m sure the men would love to have something like this for the back yard BBQ season. I wish I had seen this sooner, because our old cooler had an unfortunate run-in with my brother-in-law’s truck while we were camping, and the only other cooler we have isn’t big enough to hold beverages for the parties we host. You could also paint these, leave out the rope, and have a neat little planter for trees. That little spout at the bottom would be great for draining excess water.

    1. Thank you, Veronika! We gave it to my father-in-law and he loved it! I love the idea of using it as a planter too, that was my first idea before the cooler. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This is a really cute idea, and seems a lot easier than I would have imagined! How many bottles would you say this holds? I think this might be a great gift to make for my father-in-law for Christmas.

  4. My husband would go crazy over one of these! For some reason he loves things made of concrete. I think the wheels are a perfect touch. Thanks for such an instructive tutorial! I’ll be trying this for Father’s Day this year.

  5. Buying a beverage refrigerator is always a great investment no matter what drink you prefer whether wine, beer or just a fruit juice or soda. People usually just stash their beverages inside the refrigerator with the thought that these specific coolers are all too expensive and cannot be afforded by the average person.

  6. I love that i can make my own planters as you have demonstrated here. The faucet idea is great for drainage too. I’ll have to use this in the future. Thank

  7. This is so cool! I really like how it turned out – all the small details are great touches. I bet this came in so handy in the summer. Did you use it a ton?

    1. Thank you Kaitlyn! It was actually a gift for my father-in-law, and I do think he used it a lot! I wish I had made another one for myself. 🙂

  8. Hi, I really like the look of your blog and this idea. I would never have thought to make something like this though it would be great for Summer BBQs. I like that you have taken the time to include photos showing your progress.

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