· Holidays · 4th of July · Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler
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Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

I can’t believe that Independence Day is just around the corner! It seems like summer is already flying by. But I do love all of the opportunities to have backyard barbecues with friends and family, so I’m not really complaining! ;-) The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays for that very reason, so I always like to celebrate by sprucing up the backyard a bit. A few pieces of summer-y or patriotic decor (along with a playlist of upbeat songs, of course) always go a long way towards making the holiday feel extra special!

When I saw this project, I knew I wanted to replicate it for my family’s annual 4th of July barbecue. Since my husband usually uses his smoker to make some sort of delicious smoked meat for special holiday meals, our little charcoal grill doesn’t see much action. So instead of letting it sit off to the side, I thought it was a brilliant idea to incorporate it into my party decor as a drink cooler! The project was super simple, and the look just screams “backyard barbecue.”

Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

Charcoal Grill Cooler

Here’s what you’ll need:

If you get a charcoal grill from a thrift store, or you have an old one at home, you may want to clean it up a bit first. If it’s rusty, I recommend using Rust-Oleum’s Rust Reformer spray, which covers rust and stops additional rust from forming. We used this reformer spray to restore the vintage baseboard air vents during our studio makeover, and it was incredibly effective! To use, just prep your surface by using a wire brush to brush away any surface rust, then spray the reformer on, and let it dry for the recommended amount of time.

If rust isn’t an issue, you can leave your grill as-is, or use spray paint to give it a bright, fun color. Since our grill is in fine working condition, I opted to leave it black.

Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

The next step is to line the inside of your grill with a trash bag. This will keep any ash or dirt from mixing with the ice and creating a muddy mess. Let the edges of the bag drape over the edges, or you can trim it a bit and keep it in place with some tape. If your grill has been recently cleaned or is new, you can skip this step.

Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

If you are lining your grill with a trash bag, make sure to cut a few holes where the holes on your grill are (where the ashes fall through into the ash catcher). This will allow the water to drain as the ice melts.

As for the melting water, you can either place a bucket underneath your grill to catch the water, if it will be placed on a patio or deck, or just let the water drain out onto your grass.

Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

Before your backyard bash, simply fill your prepared grill with ice and cold drinks, and enjoy!

Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

This easy project will not only keep your drinks cool during your outdoor party, but it will look great too! Happy barbecuing! :-)

What’s your favorite way to keep drinks cool for an outdoor gathering?

Turn Your Old Charcoal Grill Into A Cooler

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • What a beautiful idea to transform the charcoal grill into a cooler. I will try this at home. I get so interested with the transformation it could offer.

  • You could do one of those new mini gardens with the little house garden people Etc. Spray a fun color first. Paint picture on inside of lid. then in winter close the top put a canvas cover over whole thing in spring it’s all clean and dry. Instant storage.

  • Brilliant idea. I like finding new uses for things that are sitting unused. It got me to thinking of other ideas, like a mini garden that you don’t have to stoop to use (it gets harder to do that as you grow older), or, because of the lid, a temporary holding spot for the grilled foods. The lid would hold the heat in, keep the bugs off. Thanks for the inspiration.

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