You can make a small drink cooler with a sewing machine, some insulating material, and some waterproof material. Best of all, the project takes minimal time and skill to complete.

Part 1 : Preparing the Materials


1.Select the right materials. You will need three types of material: an insulating material, a waterproof material, and an outer material.

  • Thermal batting is the best insulating material, but if you’re on a budget, you can recycle thin flexible foam or bubble wrap. Craft foam and packing foam can also work but will create a stiffer cooler.
  • Laminated/coated cotton, PUL lining, and vinyl are your best options for waterproof materials. If you’re sticking with recycled materials, though, you could use thin plastic sheets, plastic table cloths, or plastic shower curtains.
  • The outer material can be the same as your waterproof material, but you could also choose something different. Pick a fairly durable material, like canvas or denim.



2.Cut the pieces. You will need to cut three rectangles from each of your three materials.

  • The large rectangle will need to be 10 inches by 26.5 inches (25.4 cm by 67.3 cm). Make sure that you cut out a rectangle with these dimensions from your insulating material, outer material, and waterproof material.
  • The other two rectangles are smaller but should be equal in size to each other. These rectangles should be 6.5 inches by 10 inches (16.5 cm by 25.4 cm).

Part 2 : Assembling the Outer Cover


1.Pin one side panel to the main section. Spread out the large rectangular section of outer material so that the right side faces up. Lay one smaller rectangle of outer material right side down, aligning it to the upper right edge of the larger rectangle. Pin in place.

  • The larger rectangle is the “main section” of the cooler and the smaller rectangles are the “side panels.”
  • The long sides of both the main section and side panel should be positioned at the top and bottom; the short sides should be to the left and right.
  • The upper right corner of the side panel should fall inside the upper right corner of the main section. In other words, no part of the side panel should fall outside the perimeter of the main section.


2.Sew the first edge down. Stitch down the long edge of the side panel, partially attaching it to the long edge of the main section.

  • Use a seam allowance of 1/2 inch (1.25 cm).
  • Begin at the corner edge and work your way inward. Stop 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) away from the left edge of the side panel piece. This excess material will make it easier to bend the material in the next step.


3.Pin the next edge in place. Fold up the right side of the main piece until the short left edge of the side panel lies flat on top of it. Pin this short edge of the side panel to the top edge of the main section beneath it.

  • Use your fingers to smooth out the material at the bend between your long and short sides.


4.Stitch along this edge. Sew the side panel and main piece together along this short edge using a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) seam allowance.

  • Start as close to the previously stitched edge as possible.
  • As before, stop stitching once you are within 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) of the loose edge of the side panel.


5.Pin the final edge in place. Turn the main piece over so that the remainder of the top edge meets with the loose long edge of the side panel. Pin the two edges together.

  • If done correctly, the two edges should end at the same point.


6.Sew down the final edge. Stitch down this final side to finish the first side panel.

  • Use a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) seam allowance.
  • Start stitching as close to the end of the previous side as possible and continue stitching all the way down to the end of this final side.


7.Repeat with the second side panel. You will need to sew the second side panel (small rectangle) to the other long side of the main section in the same manner.

  • Since the main piece is no longer perfectly flat, doing this might be a little trickier. Follow the same basic steps, though.
  • Keep the right sides of the main section and side panel together.
  • Use a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) seam allowance on all sides.
  • Pin one long side in place, then sew it on. Pin one short side in place, then sew it on. Finish the panel by pinning the other long side in place, then sew it on.

Part 3 : Assembling the Inner Cooler


1.Arrange the layers and pin in place. Before you can sew the different panels in place, you need to loosely hold the insulating material and waterproof materials together.

  • Spread out the waterproof material with the right side down and the wrong side up.
  • Lay the insulating material down on top of the waterproof material. This material will not be visible in the final product, so it doesn’t matter whether it is right side up or right side down.
  • Make sure that all four edges match, then pin the two materials together around all four sides.
  • You should do this separately with each of your rectangles. In other words, you should pin together the main (large) insulating piece and the main (large) waterproof piece, then pin together one side (small) insulating piece and one side (small) waterproof piece, then the final side (small) insulating piece and the final side (small) waterproof piece.


2.Baste the layers together. Loosely stitch around all four edges of all three sections, sewing by hand or by machine.

  • Your basting stitches should have a seam allowance of 1/4 inch (0.6 cm).
  • You do not need to stitch the pieces down securely at this point, but your basting stitches do need to be sturdy enough to hold the layers together.
  • If you don’t want to baste the pieces together, another option would be to evenly and lightly apply spray adhesive in between the separate layers. Spray the adhesive onto the wrong side of the waterproof layer and carefully press the insulating material on top. Let dry before continuing.


3.Sew one side panel in to the main section. Follow the same procedure you used with sewing the first side panel of outer material to the main section of outer material (review the “Assembling the Outer Cover” section).

  • Flatten out the main inner section with the right side of the waterproof material facing up. The insulating material should face down.
  • Line up the right corner of the side panel with the right corner of the main section. The waterproof layer should face down and the insulating material should face up.
  • Pin and sew the first long edge of the side panel in place using a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) seam allowance.
  • Rotate the main section so that you can pin and sew one short edge of the side panel and the other long edge of the side panel in place. Continue along with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) seam allowance.
  • When all three sides of the side panel have been stitched on, this panel is complete.


4.Repeat with the second side panel. You will need to attach the other side panel to the main section in the same manner. Make sure that the waterproof sides face each other and the insulating layers face out.

  • Use a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) seam allowance around all sides.
  • Once this panel is attached, the inner section of your cooler is complete.

Part 4 : Finishing the Cooler


1.Slip the outer cover into the inner lining. Turn the inner lining right-side out but keep the outer cover inside-out. Then, slide the outer cover into the inner lining.

  • The two pieces should fit together snugly. Make sure that all four edges around the opening match up. The stitched edges of the side panels should also line up.


2.Fold down a hem. Fold all four edges down by 1/4 inch (0.6 cm). Pin in place.

  • Since the three layers of material will be thick, you may need to press the folded edge of the hem with an iron to help hold it in place, especially if the sewing pins are not holding well.
  • The edge should be folded in so that the raw edge is visible from the waterproof layer but not from the outer material layer.aid5381415-900px-Make-a-Cooler-Step-16

3.Sew around all four edges. Stitch the hem in place using a sewing machine. Make the stitch line as close to the raw edge of the hem as possible.

  • A zig-zag stitch placed along the raw edge works best, but a standard straight stitch could also be used.
  • Overlap your beginning and ending stitches to help secure the thread.


4.Turn the cooler right-side out. With the outer and inner layers now attached, flip all of the material right-side out.

  • The “right” side of the outer cover should be visible from the outside.
  • When you peek inside the cooler, you should be able to see the waterproof layer but should not be able to see the insulating layer.


5.Cut two strips of self-adhesive Velcro. Cut two strips of 1-inch (2.5-cm) self-adhesive Velcro. Each strip should measure 3 inches (7.6 cm) long.

  • You’ll use the Velcro to give your cooler a sealing mechanism. To separate pieces will create a better seal than one long piece would.
  • Keep both sides of each strip (the fuzzy side and the spiky side) sealed together as you attach them to the cooler.


6.Stick one side of both strips to the inner lining. Peel off the paper backing from the spiky side of one strip. Press the adhesive side of that strip to the open edge of the cooler. Repeat with the second Velcro strip.

  • Both strips should be placed roughly 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) down from the open edge.
  • Both strips must also be attached to the long edge of the opening, not to the short edges.
  • The first strip should be placed 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) in from the left side. The second strip should be placed 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) in from the right side.


7.Fold in the other side of the cooler. Peel off the paper backing from the fuzzy side of both Velcro strips. Carefully fold together both long edges of the cooler opening, keeping them aligned with one another. Press the opposite edge into the Velcro adhesive using your fingers.

  • Work slowly to make sure that the placement of the Velcro strips line up evenly along both long sides of the opening.


8.Use as needed. You should be able to open and close the cooler using the Velcro. The cooler itself can now be used to carry drinks and other small items that need to be kept cool.

  • Thanks to the waterproof lining, you can use both ice and cool packs in your cooler. Be aware of the fact that water from any melted ice can leak out from the top opening if you accidentally tip it over, though.

Source : WikiHow