I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are today, but here where I live? We just hit over 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time this year— and that’s got me thinking about new, fresh ways to cool off!

We might still have a few days until Memorial Day and several weeks until the actual, official start of summer, but we’re betting a lot of you out there have the same thing on your mind. After all, while some of us are lucky enough to live and work in buildings with central air conditioning, still more of us reside in older buildings that don’t have it at all.

Of course, we always have the option of installing window units, but running them frequently can drive up our electric bills. And unless you hit a great sale, those portable A/C machines aren’t exactly cheap, either, especially when your whole city rushes out to buy them at once.

So is our choice between a comfortable home or a comfortable wallet? Friends, we’re happy to say the answer is no! Thanks to this genius DIY-er over on the YouTube account desertsun02, we have a way to make your very own air conditioner. What’s more, it’s portable, so you don’t have to be stuck in one room in front of the machine all day.

How does he do it? With a regular old Coleman Cooler! Here’s how:

DIY Coleman Cooler Portable Air Conditioner


  • Hard-sided or Styrofoam cooler
  • PVC pipe
  • Small fan
  • Ice


  1. Place the PVC pipe and the fan on top of the cooler, one on either side. Trace around them, drawing two circles.
  2. Using a drill and a handsaw, cut through the lid along the trace lines, so that you cut out two circles in the lid of the cooler. Of course, be careful!
  3. Fit the fan and the PVC pipes into the cut wholes. The fan should be facing into the cooler, so that when turned on the air blows into it. The PVC pipe should be facing out, away from the fan, so that you get the full benefit of the cool air.
  4. Place a large block and/or amount of ice into the cooler. Fit on the modified lid, and turn the fan on for a refreshing, cooling breeze!

Simply brilliant, and ultimately pretty simple to make— no extensive electronic or HVAC experience required. It’s a great option for a portable bit of cooling – you can even take it on the road and hook it up to your car for power! – and more energy efficient.

The inventor points out that it works best in semi-dry or dry climates, but we’re sure that anybody desperate to cool off can appreciate the ingenuity on display here.

Of course, this invention and its process make much more sense when you see it in action, so be sure to click on desertsun02’s video tutorial below to see how it’s made, to hear more tips, and to see the options for powering it. (There’s one that makes it totally energy efficient!) Watch and learn!

What do you think of this DIY portable A/C? Got any great tips for staying cool this summer? Please share them in the comments.