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.

This picture was taken at Medlock Ames’ tasting room. Picture source: dwell.com

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?

View of the table top. I have one lid on and the other is transparent.

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.

View of the bottom of the table. I only drew the planter box supports on one side. It is the same thing copied over to the other side.

Instructions:

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.

I didn’t get a great picture of this step. The red arrows are pointing out the outer skirt. The purple arrow is pointing out one of the screws attaching the outer skirt with the normal skirt.

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

Instructions:

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!

Thanks for reading

180 thoughts on “DIY Patio Table with Built-in Beer/Wine Coolers

      • I used true 2″ pine for everything except for the legs. Since I was going with 4×4 legs I had a hard time finding something that was not pressure treated. I eventually found spruce 4×4’s that were really straight and used that for the legs. It’s been a year and the table was a huge hit last summer/fall. I’m planning on building another in the next few weeks to sell.

  1. This is the best. Knowing my 4 adult sons, I’ll be building at least one of this in the near future. I love it.

  2. I’m liking the styrofoam insulation idea…..and you truly need a way to DRAIN the ice tubs…..and not onto the deck or patio directly underneath the table…..plastic refrigerator water line with a petcock valve….a simple way to keep the line stowed under the table (velcro straps?)….

  3. Great site, great ideas – love the blue chairs on that farmhouse table / bench set. Going to do something similar with standard black outdoor chairs after completing this DIY tomorrow. I went out and collected up some of our old wood that we took off our barn built in 1905, so it won’t have the precision of yours (all the 1x material will be new/straight/milled and all the visible wood will be the barnwood with nail holes, etc.). I also wanted to ask a personal question; I see what I believe to be a Chiefs jersey on one DIY, and if I’m not mistaken I have that exact Jayhawks tee shirt from ’02-’03 FInal Four when Hinrich and Simien were around….you guys from the KC area? I am out in Colorado Springs but grew up on the the land between Hays and Ellis (to the west), Kansas off I-70. Just interested.

  4. My dad and I made this table as our first woodworking project ever!

    The wood we used is dark red meranti (also called Philippine Mahogany) sealed with Varathane’s spar urethane UV protectant.

    Instead of making the entire underside boxes and then setting in planter boxes, we just used steam table trays. These have a lip that eliminate the need for any underside structures and make for a lot less work.

    • Hi Kenneth –

      The metal troughs in my table are actually from the food service industry. They’re called steam table pans (or steam table trays), and you can get them from any big restaurant supply store, such as Pitman – http://pitmanequip.com/

  5. I love this table alot great idea. Would you consider making another and shipping it I can pay you for the costs of materials,shipping,and labor. I’m not good with this sort of stuff but I love this table so much.

    • Hi Shelby –

      If you email me, I’d be happy to talk to you about making you a table just like the one I made above. troypickard AT gmail dot com

  6. This is a great idea! I shared the link to this on my facebook. As a woodworker, projects like this are fun to make and enjoyable long after the project is complete. Thank you for posting.

  7. Thank you for sharing your project! I built one for my daughter who is in college and she says that she will be using the trough to fill it with ice to hold her Pepsi and Cokes in. I know better though, it will be used to house the beer!

  8. Hi, I love this table and design! I would love to build this, but having a smaller deck, could you offer some insight to a smaller design?

    • You could certainly cut down on the length, and only build it with a single cooler bin, rather than two. Also, if you size it down, then for the legs you can use 2x4s, or two 2x4s in an “L” shape, rather than 4x4s.

  9. Just wanted to know if you had overall directions (with any corrections that may have come up) to build this table, which is truly awesome!. My husband and I are empty nesters and want to do something fun together, like wood-works….
    This can be a good start since we are new at this. Still need to buy tools, a complete list of tools and materials would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!

  10. Thank you – for the AWESOME step by step instructions and especially for including the approximate cost. It helped me convince my husband that it was an affordable and incredible project! :) It will be a great bonding experience for us. Much less stressful than constructing our own solar screens. (nightmare!)

  11. Can anyone who has built the table tell me what depth and setup they used with their Kreg Jig? I don’t see it anywhere in the instructions and would hate to ruin my lumber by drilling the pocket holes wrong. Thank you.

    -JP

    • Hi JP –

      As with any time you use the Kreg jig, you should first try your settings out on some scrap pieces. This way, you can hone in on the correct settings without ruining the wood you’re planning to use.

      The settings you use will depend entirely on the thickness of the wood you choose. If you’re using 2x4s, the true dimensions of 2x4s is actually 1.5″ x 3.5″. So, you’ll generally want to set your jig up at the 1.5″ setting.

  12. My son found your table on the web after his wife commented that she really liked a similar table she had seen in a novelty store. My son asked me to build the table for their anniversary. I used treated lumber for the project and and it worked out beautifully. I had to let the lumber dry out for a week or so, and must be careful torquing the screws (because the wood is very soft). He wanted a painted finish so went to Home Depot and matched the color he wanted and it turned out great. Thanks for posting this table. The instructions and pictures were easy to follow. I really enjoyed building it.

  13. I just priced out the wood with my local lumber yard… $400 for cedar which he highly recommended for this outdoor patio table. My gut tells me not to skimp on the wood – I don’t want this thing looking like crap in two years – but I’m wondering if there’s anything that can be done to make it weather resistant and reel in that $400 cost.

  14. your table looks great I will be making one for a friends deck over the winter just a quick tip for your next time when using pocket drill and screws the end boards and middle board you have the holes in long board going into end grain next time for stronger joint drill them the other way

  15. Thanks to everyone that has contributed to this thread.. from the original design to the various derivatives. I wanted to return the favor and share pictures and design files for a bar height table that I made. A single picture (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7dCa2UUsnO9TnBmUDRPb25QNDg/edit?usp=sharing) and a folder with more pictures, the cut list and the SketchUp8 design files (https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B7dCa2UUsnO9T3ZfUDBUVzNOMEk&usp=sharing).

  16. Is anyone willing to sell theirs? Currently in Texas and looking for a Christmas present but dont have the time to build it. Absolutely love the idea!

  17. Great plan and instruction. I cut the wood on Sunday and stayed up half the night Monday putting together. Table (except staining) was ready for birthday Tuesday morning. Thanks!

  18. I would like to make the Patio Table with Built in Beer/ Wine Coolers, but cannot find how to print all of the plans out, or do you buy the plans? Please help me out with this. Thanks

    • Hey Jeannie,
      I don’t have a way set up for printing. You can always just copy and paste all the instructions into Word to print. Hope this helps.

    • I think you are talking about the outer skirt. We screwed it in over the long skirt from the inside. There is one photo of this with the red and purple arrows. Let me know if this was not your question and I will try again.

  19. I noticed a lot of comments on the measurements which I had some trouble but when I laced my planter box down I started measuring off that went very easy that way. Love your patterns ! So know I plan on making single end tables with small boxs so they can have there own at there chairs as we’ll … GREAT PLANS please keep posting ideas

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  26. Hi Sarah,
    I built this table last year, and love it! Great, easy to follow directions, thank you! My only concern was the legs did not feel sturdy, nothing too serious, but with young children this has to be a concern… so yesterday I removed the legs, cut 4 more 2x4s at the leg length, and screwed 2 legs together into an L shape. Ideally I would have liked to use a 2×6 so when you screw it together with the 2×4 you have equal sides but due to the size constraints with the coolers and outer skirts that was not an option. I then screwed all 4 of the new L shaped legs inside the skirt so that it has screws coming in from both the x and y plains making it very sturdy! I replaced the outer skirt on both of the long sides and now it is perfect!
    Let me know if you want photos to help my description… thanks again! Dan

  27. Lads love the table but I only see one problem.. drainage for the water and ice ? Do you have it that the planter boxes are removable ??

    Cheers

    Alan from Ireland

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  30. I’d like to use 4×4’s instead for the legs I assume this is a simple adjustment, but this is my first attempt at wordworking…and I’ll have to get all cuts made at the lumber yard, so trying to get it right the first time! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  32. What kind of wood has everyone been using for this?

    Anybody build it with non pressure treated wood from home depot or lowes? I am afraid to use pressure treated wood because it will dry and shrink.

  33. Great table… I will be building one very soon. The only thing I’ll be adding to the design is a hole for an umbrella to try and keep the ice from melting so quickly in the hot sun!

  34. Here is a picture of my finished table. I used all 2×6 and 2×8 SPF lumber from Home Depot. This lumber is used mostly for framing. This is one of my first woodworking projects and I went with the cheapest lumber I could find. I also used Benjamin More transparent stain for the table, no poly/ clear code, stain only.

    http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r118/nastety92/Woodworking%20projects/IMG_10231_zps409d9d97.jpg
    http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r118/nastety92/Woodworking%20projects/IMG_10221_zps5334a6f2.jpg

    Nick

        • Hi Greg,

          The table is brand new and not even outside yet. It will be spending it’s whole life outside so we will see how it holds up. I live in MA and plan on covering the table in the winter.

          Nick

          • Cool thanks. I am thinking about going this route as well. Should hold up okay with a good sealer

  35. Love the concept… Except, I want more!
    A restaurant I go to has a simple grill in the centre. You light up the briquettes else where in a steel tub that fits in the slot at the centre of the table. Then you sip your drinks, barbecue your choice of meats and veggies slowly on skewers, and enjoy a great evening with friends. Now, if we can incorporate that in the centre with coolers down the sides!!! Imagine!

  36. I would not recommend Spruce as it will rot, White oak would be a good alternative wood but it will drive up the cost a bit.. Also, a waterproof glue as well as treated deck screws should be used. I would also recommend 1/4″ gaps between the top planks to help prevent standing water.The finish needs to have UV protection and recoated every couple of years. :@)

    • I was concerned about the plan not having gaps between the top planks. Not sure how that would change the plan. Did anyone build one with 1/4″ gaps between the top planks?

        • Gaps would be fine but the only place you can put gaps is the 2X4’s. To compensate for the extra width then you would have to make the 3 2X6’s longer. Besides that how would you varnish in between the gaps. If your worried about water then you can put any type of water proof cover over the whole table.

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