So I just got married recently. Actually, as of last week, it was my wife and I’s one year anniversary! Hurray! We haven’t killed each other yet! 🙂
Anyways, while we were planning the wedding, I had the hardest time trying to find groomsmen gifts. I wanted something that could be made personal, but was also functional. I ended up getting a few .45 caliber bottle openers, which were cool and all, but I wish I thought of this DIY instead! A personalized Beer Carrying Tote with a bottle opener, that allows you to add ice without ruining the wood. Genius! Now that we know what we’re building, let’s find out how to make our groomsmen gifts!
DIY – Beer Carrying Tote as Groomsmen Gifts
Tools Needed for this Project:
If you don’t already have some lying around the shop, you’ll need to pick up the following wood boards:
Other goodies you can pull from around your shop (if you don’t have them already) are:
Life Made Simple – Cut List
Time to make your life easier, with a newly added addition… the Cut List! Here I’ll list all the cuts you need to make, so you can get them all out of the way at once. #winning. So, in order:
- Quantity (2) Two: 1″ x 6″ x 10.5″
- Quantity (I) One: 1″ x 6″ x 9.25″
- Cut Quantity (2) Two: 0.25″ x 4″ x 10″
- Cut Quantity (2) Two: 0.25″ x 2″ x 10″
- Cut Quantity (1) One: 0.25″ x 2″ x 8.5″
- Cut Quantity (2) Two: 0.25″ x 2″ x 6″
Step One – A Long Journey Ahead
I’m not going to lie. This project is a doozy! Between the staining, waterproof varnish and chalkboard finish, this project takes a long time! Not necessarily due to the difficulty, but more so the ‘waiting for paint to dry’ phase. So be prepared!
Having said that though, with your cuts out of the way (cut list above), we’ll start with assembling the sides of the beer carrying tote; which are the (2) two – 1″ x 6″ x 10.5″. See the image below, as we’ll be rounding off the sides to give it a little flair (or is it flare?). Either way, the picture does better justice than words. Remember, you can make these cuts with either your table saw, miter saw, jig saw, or hand saw (if you’re so brave enough). It’s 27 degrees from top to 4.5″ down. You’ll come in each cut from the sides to 2.25″. See?! I told you the picture would be easier! Just cut that. 🙂
PS: What isn’t shown in the picture is us cutting a hole for the dowel rod. From the two sides you just trimmed down, you’ll want to add an 11/16″ hole about two inches down (dead center) on each end. I know… I told you to get a 3/4″ dowel rod, but that’s to ensure a snug fit. It’ll take a little sanding to get it to fit, but at least it’ll look perfect!
Step Two – Rabbet and Sanding the Sides
Once you’ve cut your sides using the above measurements, you’ll want to rabbet the bottom of them at 0.75″. As usual, I’ve used my miter saw to do this (as I feel most comfortable with it), but feel free to use dado blades on your table saw, a router, or a jig. Any of them will do, as long as it’s a 0.75″ rabbet on the bottom of each of the sides.
You’ll also want to sand the sides with 60 and 220 grit at this time, when everything is apart, as it’s much easier. Make sure you sand the bottom piece (1″ x 6″ x 9.25″) as well before putting everything together.
Step Three – Skipping Ahead (Lesson Learned)
I hope you’re reading this section, because if not, you’re gonna have a bad time! We’re skipping ahead a bit, from a lesson learned the hard way! You’ll see in the photo below that everything is already sanded, stained and varnished, but just ignore that.
Now that you’ve cut you your 1″ x 6″ x 9.25″ (bottom of the beer caddy tote), you’ll want to add some holes for the melted ice to flow through. I decided to use a 1/2″ spade bit to do this, and just put one hole underneath each beer bottle. They’re spaced about 2″ apart from each other. As mentioned, we’ll be adding ice to the tote to keep the beer cool, and these holes allow the ice to melt out the bottom without ruining the wood. So drill six of them in total, with your 0.5″ spade bit, and you’re good to go! Again… Make sure you do this before you sand, stain and varnish, or you’re gonna have a bad time!
Step Four – Put Beer Carrying Tote Frame Together
Moving right along, with your sides trimmed down, your dowel hole cut, your 0.75″ rabbet joints cut and your bottom piece cut for ice drainage, you’re ready to put your beer carrying tote frame together!
Simply add some wood glue to your rabbet joints and clamp the 1″ x 6″ x 9.25″ wood bottom all together. You can also add some wood glue, and insert your dowel rod / carrying handle right now too (as shown in the picture).
Step Five – DIY Sanding and Staining All Around
With your frame all glued, dried and together, you can now stain each individual piece. This included your sides and bottom (the beer carrying tote frame – which is all together now), the front and back halves of one side of the tote, and JUST ONE SIDE of wood on the other side of the tote. The reason I stress this is because one outer-facing side of the tote is going to be covered in chalkboard finish, and you don’t want to stain that section. Sand? Yes! Stain? No!.
Step Six – Router, Sand and Stain your Beer Divider (not a bad thing)
Dividing the beer?! I know. It sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not! We’re making the separators on the inside of our beer carrying tote, that’ll keep our beer from bumping each other and going flat.
Take your Quantity (1) One: 0.25″ x 2″ x 8.5″, and your Quantity (2) Two: 0.25″ x 2″ x 6″, and make the following marks shown below in the photo. We’ll be splitting the 8.5″ board in thirds with two cuts, and each of the 6″ boards in half with one cut.
On the 8.5″ divider, you’ll make one 1/4″ split, half way down, at 2.75″ and the other 1/4″ split, half way down, at 5.60″. On the two individual 6″ dividers, you’ll split them in half (with a 1/4″ route, half way down) at 3-inches. Any confusion, just see the pictures below for clarity.
Step Seven – Waterproofing and Chalkboard Siding
The end is in sight! Right after, of course, you put on two coats of waterproof varnish, wait for them to dry, then put on the chalkboard finish. Just a lot of waiting in this step!
Follow the direction on your Minwax Helmsman Varnish, as you need to wait several hours before applying each coat. As shown in the photos below, I taped off the inside of the box, and just coated the wooden areas that would be touching the ice. I didn’t see the need to poly the entire box, as I applied wax on the rest of it instead, but it’s totally up to you.
With the varnish all dried, you’ll want to finish by spraying your Krylon Chalkboard Paint on ONE SIDE of the beer carrying tote. It’s fairly easy to use, just wait a few minutes in between coats, and the paint should be dried to the touch in 30 minutes.
Step Eight – Final Touches, Sanding and Final Stain Coat
Tada! You’ve made it! The Last Step!
With all the varnish and chalkboard finish dried, put your sides back on. If you have any nail holes to fill, do that now with your Elmers Stainable Wood Filler. Lastly, apply your final coats of stain, lightly sand with 220 grit, apply another stain coat and finish with your Johnson Paste Wax
Your last final touch will be to add a rustic bottle opener on the side if you have one. Simple enough to do! Center it, and just screw it in.
Step Nine – Wa-Bam!
Eight steps later, and you finally have your beer carrying tote for your groomsmen! Load it up with a six-pack, add some ice to keep the beer cool and come up with something clever to write on the chalkboard side! If at first you don’t succeed, wipe it off and start from scratch. Hench, the beauty of chalkboard! 🙂
Step Ten – Share, Like, Comment, Purchase
Please share, like, comment to let your friends know about this post.
If you found this DIY project to be too difficult, or don’t have enough time to complete it, feel free to purchase it from our Etsy shop! I mean, we’ll eventually run out of room in our house if we keep everything we make, so it’s win/win!