How To Turn An Old Broken Refrigerator Into An Awesome Rustic Cooler

How To Turn an Old Refrigerator Into An Awesome Rustic Cooler

Here's Steps #4-6 For Turning An Old Broken Refrigerator Into An Awesome Rustic Cooler

Step 4: Taking Apart the Refrigerator

Taking Apart the Refrigerator
Taking Apart the Refrigerator

Dismantling the refrigerator is a pretty straight forward process, basically just take out the screws and most of the electronics and shelving pull right out. One very important thing to be aware of though is the Freon lines. It is Illegal to cut Freon lines and allow the gas to escape into the atmosphere! Getting caught doing so will warrant a hefty fine, and more over, it's just a bad idea as you're polluting the air and the environment.

In our situation the refrigerator we used was left in the basement of my sisters newly purchased house and the previous owners decided for some reason to cut the lines before leaving so we didn't have to contend with Freon removal. However if you're thinking about tackling this project and don't already have a busted Freon free refrigerator at your disposal fear not, there are safe ways to deal with the Freon. Check out the links below to learn how to safely remove Freon from your refrigerator. I think these guides were built for the purpose of scraping the refrigerator for metal, but they'll work just fine for this project too.

Refrigerator Freon Removal Guide

Refrigerator Cooling System Removal Without Cutting Refrigerant Lines

Once you have the refrigerator stripped down you're ready to start the next step, painting!

Step 5: Painting the Refrigerator

Painting the Refrigerator

Painting the refrigerator isn't a necessary step, the reason we chose to do it was because the bright white enamel of the refrigerator was very visible where the unfinished edged of the pallet boards came together and the white showing through the boards made the project look very unfinished. If you're lucky enough to have a black refrigerator for this project then you can skip this step otherwise, grab a sander to rough up the surface of the refrigerator and about 4 cans of flat black spray paint and get to work.

Note: try to avoid spraying the gaskets that seal the refrigerator doors. The paint may cause the gaskets to seal less effectively making your refrigerator/cooler less effective.

Note: Don't worry to much about getting a perfect coat of paint. most of the refrigerator is going to be covered by wood, the only goal of the paint is to cover up the thin spaces the will be visible where the pallet boards don't quite meet. The last picture on this step is the finished paint job we moved forward with and as we you can see, it isn't all that pretty.

Step 6: Adding the Pallet Wood Siding

Adding the Pallet Wood Siding

With the refrigerator painted black, the next step was to start covering the sides, top, and bottom of the refrigerator with the reclaimed pallet wood. We started by laying out the cut pallet boards to see how they would fit together on the side of the refrigerator. Making them fit together, and making everything look good, took a bit of time as some of the pallet boards had to be fit together like puzzle pieces.

Once everything looked good we started attaching the boards using a combination of liquid nails and 1 1/4″ wood screws. The screws were long enough to go through the outer casing of the refrigerator, but not so long that they would puncture the inside cooler compartment, the screws also provided clamping pressure to ensure a good bond between the liquid nails, wood, and refrigerator.

The top and sides of the refrigerator were very easy to cover with wood, (the only small hang up was accommodating the door hinge on the top of the refrigerator which required a bit of router work to make one of the boards fit properly). The bottom of the refrigerator proved to be a little more work as we had to frame some parts of it in with 2″X 4″s before we could add the pallet wood siding.

Click the “Next” Button below for Steps #7-9 For Turning An Old Broken Refrigerator Into An Awesome Rustic Cooler


Leave a comment: