DIY Beer Caddy with Shanna
Making beer may be what you know us for, but we like to make other things as well! This month, our numbers ninja Shanna gets crafty with an upcycled beer caddy! Check out her do it yourself, step-by-step tutorial and learn how to create a fancy carrier for you next Alter beer run. Cheers!
As of late, beer caddies have become popular gifts for that hard-to-buy-for beer lover because they’re just a cool way to schlep suds. Plus, nothing says you’re serious about beer like a durable carrier that can withstand repeated use without so much as a whimper. I figured it wouldn’t be that difficult to build one, so I set out to make it happen. Sourcing the material was easy enough – there were a few humble panels of discarded 7/16” OSB in our warehouse that had previously been used as a shipping substrate for brewing materials. (Image 1) While OSB (oriented strand board) isn’t typically used in any building application where it can be seen, I decided to make it the main event in the interest of sustainability. If you don’t have any OSB laying around, use 1 x 6 lumber in any specie you prefer.
In order to be workable, the OSB had to be ripped down to 5 ½” planks that could then be cut down into the following pieces: (Image 2)
To make the tapered cuts to the side panels of the tote, I measured up 6.5” from the bottom of the side panel on both sides, then used a carpenters square to mark out a 21 degree angle on each side of the piece. (Images 3,4,5) If you don’t have a carpenters square handy, find the center of the width (2 ¾”) and mark two spots equidistant from the midpoint to form the angle you prefer. (Image 6) I used a jigsaw to make the cuts (Image 7) and then drilled the holes necessary to accommodate the handle, in this case a ½” diameter piece of metal conduit.
To mark out the drill spot, I found the midpoint width of the top of the taper and measured 1 ½ “ from the top edge.. It’s essential to leave plenty of room for the paddle bit to do its job and yet have enough solid material at the margin to safely support the weight of a six pack. (Images 8, 9, 10)
With all of the pieces cut, I sanded down the OSB to eliminate the shipping stickers and scribbles from its previous life and to smooth out all of the splinters created while making my dimensional cuts. (Image 11) I started with 80 grit sandpaper and then moved to 120 which resulted in a smooth (dare I say attractive?), workable surface. (Image 12) Regardless of which type of lumber you use, make sure to sand and round the corners of any exposed edges; it visually softens the piece and eliminates potential splintering. (Image 13)
This step is totally optional, but we thought it would be really cool to show an example of how you can decorate your carrier. Down the street from the brewery is an amazing “maker-space” called Make-It-Here. This place has everything, including a full wood shop, metal-working shop, 3D printer, laser engraver, and more. So if you don’t have the space or the tools to build at home, there is a local spot right here in Downers Grove with everything you need. We opted to laser engrave the sides with our logo. Such an amazing device.
If you want to apply stain to your caddy, this will be your next step – it’s much easier before assembly. I opted for a natural look and started assembly. (Image 20) I applied ample wood glue to the edges of the bottom piece, where the sides were to be attached ( Image 23), turned the piece over and used a nail gun to fasten. (Image 24, 25) I put the handle in at this point so that when the sides were attached, some tension was created to keep things securely in place. (Image 27) I applied more glue before attaching the side panels with the nail gun (Image 29) – you want to be sure that none of that precious cargo comes crashing down out of the caddy while in use..
I had excess glue dripping out of all the joints (Image 30) which I easily removed with a rag. I let the piece dry overnight, gave it a quick once-over with some 120 grit sandpaper and applied two coats of oil-based poly to protect the wood. Finally, I added a bottle opener to the side with a couple of wood screws. (Image 34)