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DIY outdoor bar ideas

The weather is warming up and it's time to start planning for summer outdoors. We put together a collection of ideas for a DIY outdoor bar.


To make a simple outdoor bar you only need some PAR pine that can be purchased at your local Builders, a couple of reclaimed pallets or timber. And we stumbled across some great ideas for an outdoor bar that you can make yourself using timber, or using refurbished furniture, and even some with items you can easily source on local or online classifieds.

When building an outdoor bar from scratch it is important to ensure the structure has a sturdy framework, especially if it has to stand on its own. Carefully think through the design on paper before you rush out and buy all the materials you need to build an outdoor braai, so that you can consider all the options before committing yourself.





Think out of the box for ideas for making an outdoor bar... sometimes the most unexpected materials can be put to use to make an outdoor bar that is both functional and stunning. Wine barrels, wooden crates, and even concrete blocks offer the perfect solution as a base for an outdoor bar.

If you plan on refurbishing furniture you already have, or have secondhand furniture that would be ideal for an outdoor bar, be sure to protect this to extend the lifespan. Paint furniture with a paint that not only looks good but also adds a layer of protection for furniture that will be used outdoors on a covered patio or deck.

The Rust-Oleum range of spray paint products offers a wide selection to choose from, and you can select from so many different colour options. Rust-Oleum is solvent based and will provide reasonable protection to outdoor furniture when applied according to the instructions. However, make sure that any pieces you want to use are made of pine or hardwood, since MDF and similar board products, with the exception of marine plywood, are not recommended for use outdoors.

Making your own outdoor bar allows you to design a piece that complements your style. It doesn't have to be modern to be functional. Reclaimed pallets or old fencing can be turned into your own creation, and you don't need to finish these if you prefer a more rustic look. Let the wood age naturally and apply Woodoc Antique Wax to protect the top from stains.

PAR pine is reasonably affordable and strong enough to use for building an outdoor bar as long as it is properly treated  to protect it from the elements. Even an outdoor bar on a patio should have some protection where it will be subjected to constant temperature extremes and changes in ambient humidity.

Don't use varnish, as this will only crack and peel off, but rather finish with an exterior sealer such as those offered in the Woodoc range. Woodoc 50 is perfect for inland areas while Woodoc 55 is specifically formulated to protect against salt spray for coastal regions. The reason for using sealer rather than varnish is that, varnish sits on top of the wood, whereas sealer is absorbed deeply into the wood - providing far better protection all round.

Pop into your local Builders and take a stroll through the timber and garden sections. A basic frame can be topped off with decorative or plain paving stones to add a wonderful accessory to a deck or patio and that doubles as an outdoor bar. 

Whether you want a large, full-on outdoor bar, or just a small place to store drinks and accessories, look around for items you already have that can be re-purposed. An old vegetable rack or trolley can be sanded down and sprayed in your favourite colour and be the perfect accessory for a small balcony.