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I am a mom to twin boys, full-time employee of a telecommunications company and wife to a professional musician. I work, do yoga, cook and try to squeeze in DIY projects and spending time with friends.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kid Cooler!

This is going to be so great!

Too many blog posts by too many total strangers said that this was an easy project.  So the Unwired Family went to Home Depot on a Friday afternoon, and spent $17 on PVC.  $10 for the long pipes, and $7 for joints, caps and a hose inlet.
Several blogs touted a need for a PVC cutter.  Mr. Unwired found that a hacksaw worked just as well.  If we didn't own the workbench, he would have cut the PVC in the miter box on the ground.  But this eliminated kneeling on the cement... and hey, it's not like the workbench gets out of the garage much these days.
So this is what we built.  It took 75 minutes, which included all the re-sketching (due to a lack of imagination on my part), plus a trip to the local hardware store for the 4 elbows we forgot to buy at Home Depot (adding $3 to our total, bringing it to $20 for the whole thing).  If we'd bought all the parts the first time, we could have had this done in an hour.

The design is simple- two arches with three braces to stand them up; The legs are capped with PVC caps (to hold the water in).  Each of the legs and the top is made of two 2 1/2 foot sections joined with a T-shaped joint; the braces are five feet long (uncut).  We used 3/4 inch PVC, although other blogs used 1/2 inch.  For inspiration, a more decorative version is here, while a simpler version is here.

We opted not to glue the joints.  I agreed with the ideas in this blog, where she says that the pieces hold together well without glue, and no glue makes it easier to (purposefully) take the thing apart to store it.

The magic of this is that Mr. Unwired used a 1/16th inch drill bit to put holes (11 in total) into the PVC structure, so that when the hose is connected and turned on just a teeny tiny bit, it sprays water...  like this:
The number of holes is important.... we started with just 3 and when the water pressure built up, the joints popped and the thing exploded!  It was fun to watch... the water simply needed more places to escape.  Physics, you know?  Eleven was our magic number- if you build your own design, drill carefully and slowly, because if you make too many holes you'll have to blast the water in order to keep enough pressure in the system, or add more PVC, or swap out the holey PVC for less perforated pieces... and that would slow down the fun!

The blog linked above referred to putting misters in the holes.  That would be awesome, but I haven't been able to find them.  The guys at my local hardware store said that I should look in the sprinkler supply section of a garden center.  Sounds like a worthy addition to the fun!

Without the misters, I looked high and low for something we already had on hand that could be added to the cooler.  Yes, you guessed it... those are paint rollers!  These rollers came our way when a friend moved to NJ seven years ago, so it seemed like a good bet to string these on one end of the cooler to bump and splash the kids.  Worked like a charm, for no extra $$$!

And here is the finished product, complete with kids playing in it! They had a blast, and we look forward to setting it up and soaking them again!

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