DIY Patio Table with Built-in Beer/Wine Coolers

Really, what is better than a patio table with a built in cooler! Who really wants to get up to get another beer?

Almost everyone has seen this picture of the wine cooler patio table ether on Pinterest or Reddit.

Right after my husband saw this he asked me to make it happen. I was already in the process of designing a patio table so I decided to take a stab at it.  I wanted to make a table that was more than just a table with a cooler in the center all the time. I wanted to have to option of covering it when not in use so we can do full meals on it too. I pulled up SolidWorks and started playing around with the idea. Here is what I came up with:

Patio Table with built in Beer/Wine Cooler with Lids

Like in my farmhouse table post I am going to be breaking the instructions into two parts. The first will be the construction of the table and the second will be the finishing instructions. 

Part 1: Table Construction

Materials needed:

  1. Wood (We used Spruce, see cut list)
  2. Wood glue
  3. Wood filler 
  4. Wood screws (1-1/4″)
  5. Wood screws (2-1/2″)
  6. Sandpaper (110 grit)
  7. Two plastic planter boxes (denoted pb throughout the instructions)

Cost of Materials:

  1. $75 from local lumber yard
  2. $5 from Home Depot
  3. $7.50 from Home Depot 
  4. About $10
  5. About $10
  6. $8 from Home Depot
  7. $24 from Home Depot or Amazon

 Tools needed:

Total Cost for construction: $139.50

Wood cut list:

2 – 6X2 @ 5′ 9-1/4″ (top long board)
3 – 8X2 @ 1′ 9″ (top side and middle board)
12 – 2X4 @ 1′ 11-3/4″ (top center board)
4 – 2X4 @ 2′ 5-1/4″ (legs)
2 – 1X4 @ 5′ 2-1/4″ (outer long skirt)
2 – 1X4 @ 5′ 6-1/4″ (inside long skirt)
2 – 1X4 @ 2′ 5″ (short skirt)
4 – 1X4 @ 2′ 3-1/2″ (cross beam)
4 – 1X4 @ 2′ 1-1/4″ (box supports)
4 – 1X6 @ 1′ 11-3/4″ (long box side)
4 – 1X6 @ 8-3/4″ (short box side)
10 – 1X2 @ 7-1/4″ (bottom box)

A little more about the design:

The first thing I did after having the initial concept sketched out in SoildWorks was go out and find the perfect cooler insert. We first looked into getting gutters but they come in large pieces and didn’t seem like they would work well for our design. Next we contemplated using sheet metal and bending it to shape we were looking for.  At this point we were still planning on installing a drain at the bottom to let the melted ice out. After walking up and down the aisles at Home Depot we came to the gardening department. The idea clicked, why not use planter boxes and instead of having one long one, having 2 short coolers?

Going back to the drawing board, I played around with the design to incorporate the two planter boxes. We decided to have the planter boxes be removable instead of installing a drain. This was much simpler and now we have the option of replacing the boxes if for some reason they break during the years of future use without having to do construction on the table.  The planter boxes also have a nice rim on the outside for the lids to sit on, another added bonus.


After the designs were done was head to our local lumber yard to get our cut list made. At the time, we didn’t have a way to cut wood accurately enough to do our own so we had the lumber yard do this for us (for a small fee).

The first step after getting home with all the boards is to sand all of them. Alex jumped in and did this for me again; I think he secretly loves sanding.

Using the Kreg Jig we put pocket holes in both ends of eight of the top center boards (2X4 @ 1′ 11-3/4″), the other four are going to be used for the lid and do not need these holes. On a side note, this was my first time using theKreg Jig and absolutely love it! It is super easy to set up and use. I used this website to walk me through the set up and how to use it.

Arrange all the top boards on the ground, face down (pocket holes up). Put the planter boxes (PB) into place upside down (hole side down). This was to made sure we left enough space so the PB could lift out from in between the boards.

Next apply wood glue to the ends of the now Kreg Jigged top center boards.  Using the 2-1/2″ wood screws, attach the top center boards to the middle board through the pocket holes.  Make sure to hold both the boards down when doing this. I actually stood on both the boards while Alex screwed them in.

After the eight boards are attached to the middle board, repeat the same thing for the two side boards attaching them to the center boards.

The Kreg Jig was used again to make holes down the top long boards. Using a pencil, mark off points where the side and middle boards make contact with the long board (two spots at each junction were pocket holes will be made). Six pocket holes are made on each top long board.

Attach the long side board through the pocket holes using 2-1/2″ screws after applying wood glue.

The next step is to make the boxes to go around the PBs. The first step to do this is screwing together the sides of the box. This is done by first counter boring holes then adding wood glue between the attaching surfaces.  Make sure to use a square to make everything line up before using 1-1/4″ screws to attach them together..

Then, using a pencil and counter bore bit, mark off and counter bore five even-ish spaced holes on both long sides of the box. The only thing that is important about this step is to get the cross holes to line up enough to be able to screw the bottom supports together.

Put the pb inside the newly made pb support box. On a flat surface, place this assembly upside down. The plastic pb should be the only thing touching the surface.  Next take the box supports (1X4 @ 2′ 1-1/4″) and place them up against the wooden box so it is flush on both ends and also siting on the flat surface (the same as the plastic pb).

Using 1-1/4″ screws attach the box support boards to the wooden box. We did not counter bore these screw holes because they are not going to be visible at the end. We did add wood glue.

Here comes a little bit of a tricky part. We need to attach two of the cross beam boards to the box assemblies before assembling the table skirt. This was done by measuring and making the centers of both the cross beam board and the short box side of the wooden box. Use a T-square to make nice straight lines at the proper lengths. I love putting my T-square from my freshman Engineering Graphics class to use.

After the cross beam board is lined up use a clamp to hold it in place. Don’t forget to put wood glue between before clamping.

Then using eight 1-1/4″ screws to attach the cross beam board to the wooden box (four screws in the box supports and four in the wooden box).
Next lay out the pb assemblies and table skirt boards on top of the facedown table top. Mark out the placement of the needed pocket holes to attach the skirt to the table top. Using the Kreg Jig make the pocket holes at the marks.
After making sure the pb box assemblies are completely center with the holes in table top, wood glue the table skirts and attach them to the table top via the pocket holes.
Next pull up the pb box assemblies, added wood glue on the areas that make contact with the table top and placed them back down making sure the holes are still lined up. To attach the cross beams to the table skirt drill two counter bored holes at each junction. Using 1-1/4″ screws attach all eight junctions together.
Next line up the legs (2×4 @ 2′ 5-1/4″) and the outer long skirt (1X4 @ 5′ 2-1/4″). The outer long skirt is just for on the long side of the table, it will cover all the holes made to attach the skirt to the cross beams. Attach the outer long skirt by first applying wood glue to the backside and screwing it together through the inside using 1-1/4″ wood screws.

Raise the table up onto sawhorses to attach the legs (this just makes it nicer for your body to get in the correct angle).  Attach the legs by adding wood glue and using four 1-1/4″ wood screws in each corner. Use a clamp to help hold the boards together. We did the two holes closest to the corner then moved the clamp outwards for the second set of screws.
The table is now ready to be flipped over onto its legs. Used wood filler to cover the few counter bored holes that are showing. Don’t forget the ones on the towards the bottom of the side of the wooden box (we forgot and they do show). After the wood filler is dry the last step for the main table in to sand down every imperfect surface to prep for the finish.
The two lids are the final part to finish off the construction portion of the table. We made the lids by taking two of the center boards and attaching them together in four spots through pocket holes with 2-1/2″ wood screws and wood glue.  Use a clamp to help hold them together.
Using a 1-1/2″ hole saw bit, cut a hole through the lids so they can pull them up after they are covering the coolers.
The lid ends might need to be sanded down to help them slid in and out easier.

Section 2: Staining / finish

Materials needed:

  1. Benite wood conditioner (1 quart)
  2. Wood stain (1 pint, Dalys’ 45 cherry)
  3. SeaFin Teak Oil (1 gallon)
  4. 3M Final Stripping Pads
  5. 110 grit sand paper
  6. Sponge brushes
  7. Rags/ old t-shirts
  8. Disposable cup (red solo cup)

 Cost of materials

  1. $16.75 from Dalys 
  2. $10.45 from Dalys
  3. $53.95 from Dalys
  4. $2.41 from Dalys
  5. Accounted for in construction
  6. About $3
  7. Free
  8. Already had

 Tools needed:

  • Electric sander

Total finishing Cost: $86.50

Total Overall Cost: $226


If you want a more detailed explanation on the wood conditioner and stain please look at my farmhouse table post(this was our first table built). 

Using a sponge brush apply Benite wood conditioner to all the surfaces of the table, top and bottom. Really coat everything! This is really going to help protect the table while outside. After applying it to all the surfaces wipe what little excess is left on the top with a rag. Let the conditioner dry for 24 hours.

The wood stain comes next. Apply as thick of a coat on as possible, you really want it pooled on as much as you can. I applied the wood stain and Alex came about 3 minutes behind me wiping it off with a rag. We used a test piece beforehand to figure out how long we wanted to stain on to get the color we wanted. Wait 24 hours before starting the next step.

The last step is to apply the Seafin teak oil to the table surfaces. We did this by using a sponge brush to put an even coat on all the exposed surfaces. We were told by the local stain store to do at least 7 coats and to let them dry at least 12 hours in between. Teak oil will wear down over time and will need to be recoated after about four years. The one nice thing about it is that we don’t have to take the table in or cover it during the Seattle winter. This might be different for a cold climate I am not exactly sure. I would recommend going to your local stain store and find out what your climate requires.

Another top coat option the guys at Daly’s were telling me about was SeaFin Aquaspar. If I remember right they told us we would need to cover this table or bring it in for the winter. They also said that when this needs refinished you has to sand it all the way down to refinish whereas the teak oil you can just add coats on top of the old stuff.

Don’t forget to stain and finish your lids too. We hung ours from of garage ceiling using wire so we could do both sides at once.

One thing I wish I had done before stain the table was pick out the chairs. We had a really hard time finding chairs they sell without a table that matched our stain. We ended up finding the ones in the picture from Big Lots. Very comfortable but they sit a couple inches to short for the table. Nothing we can’t fix by cutting down the legs a little bit.

Now it is time to sit back and relax, with a glass of wine (or beer) and enjoy the rest of the summer!


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