Kegerators are the ultimate DIY way to store and consume your homebrew.
For the uninitiated, the term “kegerator” is a portmanteau of “keg” and “refrigerator”, which is precisely what one is a keg-refrigerator hybrid.
This can be made by simply drilling some tap holes in a chest fridge or freezer, installing the taps, then linking them to your keg that sits inside the chilled unit.
however, if you want to optimize the functionality of your kegerator, you’ll need a kegerator collar!
These are very basic constructions that bring some BIG benefits to your boozy bonanzas, so I’m going to tell you how to make one.
Why Should I Bother Making A Kegerator Collar?
I’m assuming most reading this post are aware of the value of a kegerator collar, but just to cover all bases, a kegerator collar has two primary benefits:
- It saves you from drilling through the fridge/freezer — Not only is this quite tricky to do, it demands accuracy, and once complete, there’s no going back… that fridge/freezer can never be used for its original purpose ever again. It is a kegerator forever more!
- It allows you to fit larger kegs in your fridge/freezer — A kegerator collar increases the dimensions of your cooling unit, allowing you to install taps higher up and store larger kegs in the cooler.
But enough chit-chat; the sooner we get started, the sooner you can enjoy a frosty jar!
Building A Kegerator Collar: A Step-By-Step Guide
Thankfully, a kegerator collar is an incredibly simple component, so even if you’re a DIY newbie, this shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Here’s what you’ll need.
- A chest freezer – Enough timber to collar the perimeter of your chest cooler — Do yourself a favor and choose some nice wood, as it will improve the aesthetic and longevity of your creation.
- A pencil
- A drill — I use the DeWalt DCD771C2
- A tape measure
- A desk clamp
- A circular saw, or if you’re trying to save a few bucks or just aren’t comfortable using heavy machinery, a hand saw will do just fine if you’re precise.
- Some rubber sealant tape
- A pocket hole jig system
- A pocket hole jig clamp
- Some 120-grit sandpaper
- Some wood stain (optional)
Step 1: Removing Your Cooler Lid
You’re going to be mounting the lid of your cooler on the collar, so our first step is to remove the lid by removing the screws holding it in place on the freezer.
Usually, there are only four screws securing the brackets, so it’s an easy job with a drill.
Once you’ve removed the lid (with brackets attached), set it safely to one side and move on to the next step.
Step 2: Measuring The Perimeter Of Your Cooler
Your collar needs to sit flush on the rim of your freezer, so before we can cut our wood down to size, we need to measure the rim’s outer perimeter.
Don’t measure the inner perimeter, as you’ll end up with a collar that only just sits on the rim, which will look scruffy and provide less of a barrier to keep the cold in.
Step 3: Cutting Your Timber
Mark the length and width of your cooler’s rim on your wood, clamp it down, then get to chopping.
A circular saw will provide the quickest, most accurate results, but a few careful passes with a handsaw can be just as effective.
For mine, I cut the long planks to span the entire side of the rim, while the shorter planks were trimmed to the length of the shorter side of the rim minus the width of my longer planks, meaning the longer planks boxed in the shorter planks.
This saves you from cutting complex diagonal edges.
To put it into woodworking terms, your edges should come together to form what looks like a butt joint, to save you the hassle of cutting mitered butts.
Step 4: Assess Your Cuts
Before we move onto the next practical step, prop your timber up on your cooler and see if it’s a good fit. If all seems well, proceed to step 5.
Step 5: Drilling Pocket Holes
Grab your pocket hole jig and clamp and use them as a guide to drill 3 equidistant pocket holes at both ends of your shorter boards.
These will allow you to attach the four boards of your collar, but don’t screw them in just yet.
You still have to use the jig to drill 3 equidistant holes facing downwards along the bottom edge of your shorter boards.
These are the holes you’ll use to attach the collar to the cooler.
Step 6: Screwing The Collar Together
Now you can use those lateral pocket holes to screw your collar together. Check it’s stable once you’re done.
Step 7: Sanding
With a fully assembled collar, it’s time to give it some TLC with the 120-grit sandpaper.
When you’re happy with the surface, you can apply some stain if you’d like to add some custom flair to your kegerator.
Step 8: Sealing
Before you can secure your collar onto the cooler, lay down some rubber sealant tape around the cooler rim.
This is going to sit directly beneath your collar, keeping the cold in and the heat out.
Step 9: Attaching The Collar To The Cooler
For this step, simply set the collar in place on top of the cooler and sealant tape then use your downward-facing pocket holes to screw the collar to the rim.
Step 10: Attaching The Cooler Lid
The penultimate step is to secure the cooler lid on the kegerator, which couldn’t be easier.
Just line the brackets up with the original screw holes on the cooler, then use your drill to screw the brackets into place — Job done!
Step 11: Drilling Your Tap Holes
This final step has some wiggle room. You can do this however you see fit.
Just make sure that the holes are as airtight as possible when installing your taps, otherwise, you’ll end up with some warm brewskies — Boo!
That’s really all there is to it. Granted, the upfront cost of materials and tools is a little steep if you don’t already own them, but by DIY-ing your own minibar, you end up saving overall.
Now, what are you waiting for? Tap that frosty keg, pour a cold one, kick back, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!