Barbecue at Picnics All Summer Long with This DIY Toolbox Grill

If you're already known as Mr. or Mrs. Fix-It, why not embrace your status and demonstrate to your friends what that title can really mean. Show them how you can MacGyver an old toolbox into the ultimate portable barbecue. Think of all those times when you've been on a picnic or attended an impromptu tailgate and wished that you had your barbecue with you. Well, now you can.

Converting an old toolbox into a barbecue is not only a great exercise in upcycling, but the finished product will look pretty cool too. Metal toolboxes are built to be insulated and sturdy. That means you'll instantly have a mess-free design that won't leak grease or ashes. Imagine having a grill can go right back in the car with no clean-up!

Get ready to be a happy camper. Thanks to these easy directions, now you don't have to buy an already-converted toolbox, you can make one yourself.

Making Your Own Toolbox Grill

#beautiful Sunday afternoon = 1st #BBQ in the new garden ??☀️ #toolboxbbq #improvisation

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  • 1 Steel Tool Box (Most likely found at your local Goodwill)
  • 2 Steel grates
  • 4 Stove bolts, 4 washers, 8 nuts
  • Aerosol Paint Remover- Hardware Store
  • Heat-resistant Stove Paint
  • Magnets
  • 4 Rubber stoppers


  • Safety Glasses
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Drill and bits
  • Right angle drill
  • Paint scraper/putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • Wrench
  • Ratchet and Socket
  • Elbow grease

As a safety precaution, it would be a good idea to thoroughly burn your grill grate before grilling food on it. You don't want to leech any chemicals into your food.

Step 1: Size down the grates


The interior of the tool box should measure 8 inches by 17 inches at the top, and 8 inches by 19 inches on the bottom. Use a reciprocating saw to cut both grill grates down to the appropriate size and remove the extra cross bars.

Don't forget to wear safety glasses!

Step 2: Position the grill grates


Drill two holes 2 inches down from the top of the tool box, with one pair on each side. The grilling grate should insert into the holes at both ends.

The 2-inch clearance between grate and lid will allow you to grill meat with the lid closed.

Step 3: Paint Removal


Strip all the original paint off the tool box. This may require scraping, scrubbing, and grinding.

Step 4: High-heat Painting


Paint the outside of the toolbox with high-heat stove paint, resistant to up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.

This will allow you to burn everything from coal to seasoned wood in your new toolbox grill.

Step 5: Leg Construction


Drill four holes into the bottom of the toolbox. Make sure that there is one in each corner and that they are equidistant from each other.

Then, fasten stove bolts, which will be your legs, through the holes making sure to leave one 4-inch gap between the ground and the bottom of the tool box. On the bottom of each leg, adhere some rubber plug to act as skid-proof 'boots'.

Step 6: Finishing Touches


Ventilation: Drill two holes into each end of the toolbox grill just below the grill rack.

Secure the Grilling Grate: Make sure your grate isn't going to go anywhere during cooking. The easiest solution to ensure this is to insert a magnet inside the compartment where the grate bar slides in.

The metallic grate will attach itself to the magnet and will then be securely "locked" in.

Step 7: New Coat of Paint


Once everything is complete, you can paint your new grill. Select whatever color makes you happy so long as it is heat-resistant.

And of course, once you have finished, fire up the grill and throw some meat on. You're going to want to test this out before you invite your friends over.

Find the full, detailed set of instructions on Instructables.

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