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Published on August 21st, 2013 | by Jules Yap


The TARVA Ice Chest


Materials: TARVA 3-drawer chest

Description: Summer has arrived in Texas, which keeps you struggling to keep your drinks cool out on the balcony. The obvious solution is to get a plastic cooler, but that’s not half the fun as building your own custom ice chest!

The Tarva proved to be a good basis for construction, and I even kept the bottom drawer intact for storage.

Since I would be sawing up the top surface to create a hatch, I had to put some additional structural supports underneath it. This also served to attach the hinges for the top hatch. Instead of measuring out how deep the supporting floor had to go (keeping in mind the additional layer of insulation I was putting in) I put everything in upside down, making sure the top lid of the cooler (screwed into the hatch) would nicely fit into the main body, once everything would be assembled.

Additionally I built a drainage in the bottom of the cooler, so you don’t have to turn the entire chest upside down to let the melt water out.


At this time it was a good moment to try out the functional assets of the chest, to much content of my buddies. The test run proved successful (the beers were nice and cold), the drainage had some leakage issues. Good thing we tested it before sealing everything up!

Once the leakage issues had been solved (plumbers putty to the rescue!) I finalized all insulation front, back, and sides and glued the remaining two drawer fronts to close everything up.

I then applied some walnut stain on the bare pine wood. I made sure to quickly wiped it down before it dried, so to keep the overall look light, but enhancing the wood texture. Some layers of clear stain to make it weatherproof and a touch of spray paint layer and the chest was completed. (Inspired by this)

I’m ready for that Texas heat now, my beers will be ice cold all summer long!

~ Joey in Houston, Houston, Texas


NUMERÄR double hack
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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

15 Responses to The TARVA Ice Chest

  1. Kat says:

    Hi I would be interested in the “how to” guide for this project. Could you please send it to me thank you?

  2. Noah says:

    So the measurements for the trava is Product
    Width: 79 cm
    Depth: 39 cm
    Height: 92 cm

    so going by that the cooler must be very small

    • Sandra says:

      I believe this was probably made from the Tarva dresser which doesn’t appear to be available anymore. Too bad, this is a really good idea.

  3. Mike says:

    I too would also line to get all the dimensions for this as well

  4. beer cooler says:

    Additionally, the pizza is much tastier than the foil.

  5. Greg says:

    Did any of you get a response re the measurements and directions?

  6. Kim says:

    I would assume the measurements he used may not work for others.
    I think he used an old dresser so it would depend on what size you find and also on what size cooler you use.
    I am just guessing here.

  7. Lik3_a_sir Lik3_a_sir says:

    I’d also like to get the measurements/specifications for this project please. Thank you!

  8. Julie Cox says:

    I would like the specs/directions for The TARVA Ice Chest, please.
    Thank you.

  9. Becky Ringkamp says:

    Very nice idea. can you send me the measurements and directions.. thanks so much.. I am going to make one for the pool bar. love it

  10. Chase says:

    Do you have instructions you could send me?

  11. Sam says:

    This is such a neat idea. Do you more instruction on how to put this together? My other concern is when you glue the drawer covers to the base, what if you need to get to the cooler for some reason? I would love to make one of these for my new house. Could you provide more detailed instructions, with measurements. Thanks! Great job, looks awesome.

  12. Dan Wiener says:

    Do you have the measurements for the cuts?

    • Kristy says:

      Is there anyway to get the measurements or the how to directions. I would love for my husband to make us one for the patio.

  13. Chris says:

    This is absolutely awesome! I hate to just steal your idea, but I would love to build something like this for my Dad for Christmas. Was just wondering though… Do you have any idea what model Igloo cooler you used? I guess all I really need is the cooler’s dimensions. Thanks a lot, and again… Awesome job!

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