Build a Sunken Drink Chiller into Your Patio Table

Credit: prepinthemidewest Use a Gutter as a Sunken Drink Chiller in Your Patio Table

This is a brilliant yet simple idea to update your patio furniture for entertaining. Adding a sunken drink chiller to the middle of a picnic style patio table. I couldn’t find the steps involved with this project but it seems pretty straight forward. From the looks of it all you would need is:

  • a section of aluminum gutter
  • aluminum gutter end pieces
  • metal L-brackets
  • epoxy or construction adhesive (you can find adhesive specifically designed for gluing gutters and keeping them water tight)
  • self tapping sheet metal screws (you could optionally use an epoxy or construction adhesive of your choice)
  • wood screws (I recommend galvanized screws  to avoid rusting)
  • drill
  • circular saw or miter saw
  • tin snips or sheet metal sheers
  • gloves

Please make sure to wear gloves during this project. The edges of the gutter can get very sharp and can cut like a knife. Unfortunately, I speak from experience.

As I see it, these are the steps in building the drink chiller into your patio table:

  1. Remove the middle board of your patio table.
  2. Cut your gutter section to your desired length using tin snips or sheet metal shears. Please keep in mind that if you leave space at the end of the gutter you will need to fill them in with part of the board you removed. Make sure there are supports available to allow you to do this.
  3. Glue the gutter end pieces in place.
  4. Attach the L-brackets to the sides of the gutter using the self tapping sheet metal screws. Keep in mind that the screws will poke through into the inside of the gutter. You can always cover the sharp ends with a little silicone. However, if you do not want to risk poking yourself on the screws then perhaps you should use some epoxy or construction adhesive to attach the L-brackets
    instead. Whatever attachment method you use do not space the L-brackets too far apart or the gutter will possibly buckle under the weight of the ice and bottles when filled. Also keep in mind that depending on the type of gutter you get you may need to bend the L-brackets to get the angle right. Pliers and a little muscle should be able to do the job.
  5. Center the gutter on the patio table and slide it into the empty space left by the board you removed. Attach the top portion of the L-brackets to your table using wood screws. NOTE: I would actually alter the attachment of the gutter from the picture slightly. If possible I would mount the L-brackets from underneath the patio table. That way there is no sharp metal on top of your tabletop. Just make sure the screws you use aren’t so long they come through the top of the table when screwed in.
  6. If you have left empty spaces in your patio table at the ends of the gutter, cut sections of the board you removed in the first step, place then in the empty spaces and attach the pieces to the table supports using wood screws.

If you’re feeling extra handy then I might recommend drilling out a hole on one end of the gutter and using a cork or rubber stopper to  plug it up. That way when the ice melts you just pull the plug and all the water can drain out.

Use a Gutter as a Sunken Drink Chiller in Your Patio Table

Seems like a pretty simple an inexpensive way to update your patio furniture. All items I specified for this project can be found at Lowes or Home Depot

I originally found this idea here:


  1. Jahzz
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for the DIY tips. I saw this pic on other sites & yes, on prepinthemidwest site too…with no diy instruction guide. Seeing this reminded me of a similar table design I saw years back in the islands…with container compartments that easily holds cooking warmers or the table easily converted into sea-food buffet (hot/cold) centre self-help and yes chilled wines, beer, can drinks in a corner full of ice. Will surely add this to my Home décor project :-)

    • admin
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

      I’ve also seen similar designs for hot and cold compartments in my travels. I would like to build an altered version of this project using sheet metal drywall mud pan. That way I could do hot and cold or separate drink types. I also hope to figure out a way to build in a lid to cover the containers up when not in use and get full use of the table top again.

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