Pallet Cooler Stand

Beginner Projects
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How to build a pallet cooler stand with 2x4s and pallet boards.


Are you busy #GetBuilding2015?

If you aren't, you should be!  Over $1000 in Home Depot gift cards are up for grabs, and all you have to do is build a project using scrap wood in the project, and share it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, including #GetBuilding2015 and #ScrapWorkLove in the month of March 2015.  You can get more details on the #GetBuilding2015 program here.  And also check out all the amazing entries here!

2015 sure is going to be an awesome year! This year, I'm also partnering up with my favorite glue company, Elmers!  I've been using Elmers since preschool (who hasn't, right?), but as an adult, I'm not just gluing papercrafts together anymore (although I still do a fair amount of paper crafting with my kiddos still).  

I've used Elmer's Carpenter Glue for as long as I've been building with wood, and it's never let me down.  

Here I am gluing my pocket hole joints (even though I probably could get away without, why not right?)

And I ALWAYS glue when I nail something.  ALWAYS. 

Once I nailed and glued a joint together, and had to take it appart - the joint didn't give, the wood splintered out.  It's true - the glue is what holds.  It's also inexpensive, so even if I'm really thinking a joint doesn't need glue, I still glue it - why wouldn't you, right? Cheap insurance I say!

Elmer's has also started a really cool section on their site dedicated to project plans!

I especially loved this pallet cooler!  What a great #GetBuilding2015 project!  You could use scrap wood or pallet wood on the outsides!

I especially love the bright, fun stripes!

Isn't that fun?  I love the pallet wood too!

This cooler stand was made by the amazing talented Karianne from Thistlewood Farms! I'm over the moon excited that Karianne and Elmers are letting me draw up step by step plans for this pallet cooler!

So, how will you decorate yours?  I can't wait to see!

Plans follow (if this is the homepage, click Read More below)

Thanks so much!


Dimensions shown above. Recommend adjusting to fit your cooler.


Shopping List

• Pallet wood boards

• (6) 2’ x 4’ x 8’ boards (for frame)

• Standard cooler

Elmer’s ProBond Advanced Glue

• (2) hinges

• Towel hook or bottle opener (if desired)

Common Materials
2 1/2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
Cut List

4 - 2x4 @ 36"
2 - 2x4 @ 20"
4 - 2x4 @ 26"
5 - 2x4 @ 17"

2x4s for lid should be cut to fit
Pallet boards to cover outside should be cut to fit

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Attach legs to the top boards with 2-1/2" screws, framing nails or with pocket holes from the underside (1-1/2" pocket holes and 2-1/2" pocket hole screws). Build two leg sets.

Step 2

Attach the 26" long support boards to the two leg sets to create the cooler frame. Use either screws or nails at an angle or pocket holes (1-1/2" setting/2-1/2" pocket hole screws). Place the bottom boards at a height that will allow you to rest the bottom of the cooler on supports tied into these boards (see next step).

Step 3

Attach bottom support boards to the bottom frame boards, setting the height to allow the cooler top to fit above the top (including top decking material). NOTE: You may wish to attach these later on for a perfect fit.

Step 4

Attach pallet boards or other boards to outsides with nails and glue. Nails should be no longer than 1-1/2".

Step 5

Step 6

Build a 2x4 frame around the cooler lid. Attach pallet boards to one side with glue and the smaller nails (less than 1-1/2" long). Glue cooler lid (Use the Probond Advanced by Elmers) to the wood. Set the cooler top on the cooler. Attach with hinges.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.