I was at the birthday party of a dear friend’s child. I can’t believe it was just yesterday I held him in my arms and watched him give me that toothless baby grin. Now he’s nine. Nine?! When did that happen?
His mother planned a pirate themed party. We hung sheets for sails, found striped t-shirts, baggy pants and pirate hats for the “party staff” and other items for the guests. At the center of the “ship” (aka the back yard), was the old Coleman ice chest. It looked sooo out of place. I decided to ask for permission to give something a try. I explained what I wanted to do, and was given the “What-are-you-waiting-for?” look.
After trips to the DIY, craft store and Wal Mart, we were ready to begin.
You can use the basic plans to make any size, shape or color custom ice chest you need.
You will need:
- · A main tub or container for the ice; it needs to be large enough to hold the ice and drinks.
- · Insulation for the container. It should not be fiberglass insulation.
- · Plastic pool liner or two or three sheets of 6-mil plastic
- · Spray paint
- · Other decorations- party rocks, themed toys, decorations and so forth
- · Tools and materials to build your chest
Mom and Dad decided to have an old chest set up to hold the “booty,” or birthday presents. I offered the possibility of a cold drinks “lagoon.” It would require a little digging, or not, depending on how much work they wanted to do before and after the party.
Digging a big hole was out. Okay. There are other ways to accomplish a task.
We bought an inflatable children’s pool. This would hold the ice and drinks. Styrofoam sheets would provide the insulation, whether it was buried in the ground or not. Good old duct tape would hold the sheets together after the pool was inflated. After the party, the items can be reused.
We placed three sheets of 1″ Styrofoam under and around the pool. The edges were taped securely. Sheets of green fabric were carefully draped on the side to resemble “grass.” We pinned and glued various things- plastic crabs, lobsters and such on the fabric, around the top and tossed a few into the pool along with plastic fish.
Some of the fish and other “goodies” had tags for prizes on them. No sense in having the lagoon serve only one purpose.
A half hour before the guests arrived, the lagoon was filled with ice, drinks and the goodies.
A small fishing net was decorated with brightly colored tape. This was used by the guests to “fish” for their drinks. They could try for a prize. After one or two tries, an adult fished out their drink. Everyone got a turn before they got a second try. It was hilarious.
At the party’s end, all the drinks were gone. We tossed in the rest of the plastic toys and let the guests fish out the ones they wanted to take home. When they were gone, we pulled up chairs and soaked our aching feet. How’s that for multi-use?
For a drink pond, dig the hole in the ground. It shouldn’t be too deep. Line the hole with the Styrofoam so the ice doesn’t melt too fast. Place the sheets of 6-mil plastic over the foam and fill with ice and drinks.
Stones or other items can be placed around the rim to keep the plastic from shifting. This can also be done with fire pits when a burn ban is in effect.
Build a wooden case for your ice chest. Examples of this can be used for:
- · A coffin for Halloween- keep it smallish and unadorned, or place cartoonish stickers on it to make it less scary- or “scary-it-up” if you wish
- · An old-timey wooden crate that opens to reveal drinks inside
You can also use plastic or aluminum drink tubs. Insulation keeps the condensation down to protect your floors and keep the ice frozen longer.
The children loved the lagoon. Now I have invitations to other children’s parties- and not surprising, the parents want ideas for something special.
Of course I will. I have a ball doing this.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.