Supplies needed: gutted sewing machine case, perforated metal hanger strapping, screws, plastic bin, spray paint.
Step one: We purchased the gutted sewing machine from the Goodwill Outlet for $5. We selected a model that had two fliptops of the same size so the outdoor bar would be stable and less tippable.
Step two: Measure the empty space to figure out the size of bin that will nestle inside the wood structure. We found a plastic bin without a top at the Goodwill Outlet for less than $2.
Step three: Flip the whole thing upside down to mount the strapping that will hold the bin.
Step four: The plastic basin is held by perforated metal hanger strapping that was purchased at an auto parts store for about $4. Purchase screws from the hardware store. Make two supports that are equal length and screw in each end to the wood.
Step five: Using screws that came with the metal strapping kit, we attached a strip between the two straps that were fastened to the wood. This strip adds stability to the supports.
The strapping is adjustable and if we ever swap out the bin, we can easily remove the stapping for longer pieces to hold it in place.
Special note: Each type of sewing machine console will be a little different. We had a false drawer on ours that we had to work around. One of us held the drawer open while the other fastened the screw and trimmed excess strap.
Step six: Everything from here on is decorative. We sanded the finish a little and used some old blue acrylic as a base coat. Using two cans of white paint, we sprayed the whole thing. We sanded down some of the edges and depressions in the wood a little to reveal the blue undercoat. To finish it off, we sealed it with an outdoor spray lacquer.
The finished product: A section on the top pops up and the plastic bin is completely removeable, which is convenient for dumping ice or bits of potato salad that jump out of the bowl. We fit eight bottles of water easily.
Because the two fliptops are the same size, the outdoor bar supports pretty heavy things. I've found that the structure is stable enough to support stoneware and full pitchers.