Step #1: MaterialsPrevNext
- There are a lot of different styles of cooler. But they all have some common features. First off, there must have a layer of insulating material to keep the drinks cold. Then on both sides of the insulating material you need a layer of waterproof material to keep it sealed. Then you need a method of attaching all the layers together. Lastly, you need a way of opening and closing the cooler.
- Waterproof Material: Generally sheets of thin plastic work well. If you want to make a flexible cooler, then I recommend using a material like vinyl. This can be purchased by the yard at fabric stores. You can also use cheap plastic shower curtains or plastic table cloths.
- Insulating Material: Any insulating material can work. Flexible foam is probably the easiest to work with. You can probably find a suitable material lying around your house. You can use packing foam, craft foam, or even bubble wrap.
- Attaching Material: You can either attach the waterproof material directly to the insulation or you can attach the two outside layers together and create a pocket with the insulation inside. You also have a number of options in how you attach the layers. You can sew the layers together. This is probably the best option. It gives you strong uniform edges. However if you aren't skilled at sewing, you have other options. You can use glue or tape (be sure to use a glue that is designed for the materials that you are using). If you are using plastic, it is also possible to melt the layers together. However this can be quite difficult. It takes a lot of practice to be able to properly melt plastic together without messing it up.You have a lot of options. Feel free to do whatever is easiest for the materials that you are working with.
- Opening/Closing Mechanism: The most common methods for closing a flexible cooler are either zippers or Velcro.
- You have a lot of options in how you construct your cooler and as a result you have a lot of options when choosing what materials to use. In this example, I am making a flexible cooler with craft foam, a vinyl table cloth, spray glue and Velcro.
Step #2: Trace and Cut the InsulationPrevNext
- You want the sections of insulating material to be approximately the same dimensions as your soda pack. The easiest way to achieve this is by laying the soda pack on the insulation and tracing the outline of each of the sides. If you are using Velcro to close the cooler, then trace an extra outline of the end of the soda pack. This will give you two end pieces at the opening to fold over and overlap.
- Then you need to cut out each section. Depending on the type of insulation use either a knife, scissors or a hot wire to cut out each section.
Step #4: Attach the Sections of the Body of the CoolerPrevNext
- Lay out the sections as they will be assembled. Be careful to match up the edges with equal lengths. If you are using a fridge pack, the side pieces are not the same width and the end pieces are not a perfect square. It is easy to mix them up. Then using glue, tape or a sewing machine attach each of the pieces together. Try to follow the previous seams. Start by attaching all the long side pieces together. Then attach the bottom piece to each of the side pieces.
- If you are using glue, it is a good idea to clamp each of the seams as they dry
Step #7: Trim the Seam AllowancePrevNext
After attaching all of the sections together, you will have a lot of material sticking out at every seam. Trim off this excess so that there is only about 1/4"-1/2" of material sticking out at each seam.