Trick Out Your Tailgating Cooler With Wheels

Article Posted By: Laura Sullivan

of The Home Depot

Tailgating Cooler with Wheels

When it comes to tailgating gear, aside from a good spot in the stadium parking lot, there aren’t many things more important than your cooler. When you need to carry your cooler any distance, though, you are quickly reminded of the sheer genius behind the invention of the wheel. So, let’s add some wheels to a cooler. And while we’re at it, let’s add a Lazy Susan steering system, and trick the cooler out to be a thing of tailgating beauty.

Here’s how to trick out your tailgating cooler. 


1 piece of 2×2 pressure-treated lumber (cut to measurements below)
1 piece of 2×10 pressure-treated lumber (cut to measurements below)
Circular saw
2 threaded rods (½-inch thick)
Lazy Susan turntable fixing plate
12 flat head wood screws (1½ inch)
Cord cover plates
2 stainless steel plumbing clamps (1¾ x 2¾ size)
2 8-inch and 2 9-inch lawn mower replacement wheels
10 nuts (½-inch)
10 washers (½-inch by 2-inch)
Braided rope to match your team colors
8 washers (5/16-inch)
4 hex bolts (5/16-inch by 5-inch)
4 hex nuts (5/16-inch)
Clear silicone door & window sealant

Optional “bling” items:
Flame decals
LED lighting for under the cooler

Wood cuts (Use a circular saw—or have your local Home Depot make these cuts for you):

2×2: Two pieces the length of the cooler, measured from flattest part of the bottom of the cooler

2×10: A 6-inch square and a 7½-inch square

Notch a piece of 2x2

Lay the 2×2 pieces against the bottom of your cooler to check the length. Mark a spot about two inches from the front and back for the axles. Notch out a 1/2-inch cut of the wood from the back of each piece of 2×2 for your back axle, as shown above. Make sure the threaded rod fits in this notch. Notch out a ½-inch piece across the middle of the 7½-inch cut of wood for the front axle. This will be for your front axle. Make sure the threaded rod fits in this notch, too.

Attach the rotating piece to a piece of wood

Attach the Lazy Susan rotating piece to the 6-inch piece with wood screws.

Attach the 7.5-inch piece of wood to the rotating piece

Place the threaded rod in the 7½-inch piece of wood. Swivel the Lazy Susan piece so that you can attach the 7½-inch piece of wood to the other side of it, with the front axle in the notch. You now have a “wood sandwich” with the Lazy Susan piece in the middle and the axle sticking through it.

Attach the 2x2s to the swiveling piece

Attach the 2×2 support boards to either side of the 6-inch piece with two wood screws on each side. Make sure the larger swiveling piece is on the bottom, as shown. 

Use a plate to reinforce the back axle

Put the second piece of threaded rod into the slots to make the back axle of your cooler. Hammer an electrical cord cover across the threaded rod to secure this back axle.

Reinforce the back wheels with plumbing bands

Wrap the stainless steel plumbing clamps around the cord cover plates to keep them in place and reinforce the structure.

Attach the cooler wheels

Attach the wheels to the front and back axle. The larger wheels on the back axle should be about one inch from the side of the cooler so they don’t scrub. Position the smaller wheels in the front about two inches from the cooler, so that they have a full turning radius without scrubbing against the sides of the cooler. Position a nut and washer on the inside and outside of the wheels to keep them in the correct place.

Attach a steering rope to your cooler

Attach the rope to each side of the front axle with a knot. Put another nut on the outside so that the rope stays in place. Cut the ends off and burn slightly to seal so they don’t interfere with the wheels or navigation.

Mark the bottom of the cooler

Flip the whole thing over and outline where the base should be attached to the cooler.  Mark the spot where the boards will be bolted into the cooler. Four bolts should be enough for most coolers.

Drill holes to attach the cooler to the wheels

Drill a hole straight through the 2×2 and the cooler for your bolts.

Bolt the wheels to the cooler

Place a washer, then bolt on the outside. 

Use silicone to seal the inside of the cooler

Use dabs of silicone under the washer and nut on the inside to make the cooler air- and water-tight again. Allow it to dry for at least three hours before you fill it up. Add the flames to the side and stick-on LED lighting, if desired, or let your imagination be your guide as you completely trick out your cooler!

Cooler that's been tricked out with wheels

ESPN’s College GameDay was built by The Home Depot, and now The Home Depot’s Facebook page has a College GameDay app. The app features tailgating DIY projects, including how-tos for a tailgate table, ladder golf and  cornhole game. It also helps fans find great tailgating products at great prices.

For even more tailgating ideas and inspiration, follow the Apron blog’s Tailgating series. We’ll gear you up for game day with tips, like a sweet tote for tailgating gear, and more awesome DIYs, like a tailgating table that slides out the back our your truck


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