How to Get A New "Ice Maker" for Under $4!

4 Materials
1 Hour

Oh those ice makers are a life saver if you love having ice in your cold beverages! But when they clog up or quit working, and if like us, you're tired of the "fixing", you start looking for other ways to have ice .... without buying a new appliance. (Average cost to have a new ice maker installed is about $200-$300 depending on model of frig and labor fees.) Yes, an automatic ice maker is essentially another appliance that works inside (or you could say is installed inside) your frig's freezing compartment. This is a photo of one that's similar to the one we have...or I should say "had". Now if you're looking for a rocket science approach to a 'fix', this isn't that post. ;-) But if you're looking for a very simple and inexpensive "fix", do read on. UPDATE: For those who are concerned about your plastic being food grade or not, you can line the container with Saran Wrap or other plastic wrap or line it with aluminum foil. Both options are food safe. Others comments have addressed this issue as well, if you're looking for more answers to this concern. SECONDARY UPDATE: We've been using this little ice "bucket" now for several years with happy success! No smelly ice cubes, no problems with ice cubes all sticking to each other, only a little 'frosting over' on the cubes occasionally. It may not be everyone's perfect solution, but it worked great for us. :-)
This shows the ice maker unit. Underneath is the 'bucket' that holds the cubes as they're made. Ours initially worked fine but seemed to get clogged frequently with ice in the water tube. We learned via YouTube videos how to fix it ourselves and save a ton of money on repair costs. But then one day.....{sigh} it started leaking onto the floor from the back and we'd had it! After trying a few DIY fixes again, we thought "Well, what did we do in our former house where there wasn't an auto ice maker? We used ice cube trays!" But we like a lot of ice so we needed something more than just 3 or 4 trays in our little side by side frig/freezer. We needed something that we could store more ice at the ready.
This is our side by side frig/freezer. Loved having the ice maker and water dispenser but when it quit working, and at the cost of getting a new dispensing unit, we thought there must be another way. :-) And we can get cold water from bottles stored in the frig so.......
This is the cover that hid the automatic ice maker inside the freezer. That unit has already been removed and you can see the ice trays sitting inside on a shelf.
After the ice maker unit was removed, we simply took a piece of 1/4" plywood and made a shelf that fit on the already existing brackets. We used white high gloss spray paint on the shelf making it easy to clean if necessary. As you can see, there is still room for a couple more trays. Though this works well, we wanted to have room for more ice cube storage.. So.........
To hold the ice cubes, I bought a plastic shoe box which fit on a lower shelf perfectly. I also now have 'created' another shelf where I can put things on top of the shoe box. Before we were just storing the cubes in a plastic dish but it wasn't feasible to store more things on top of it.
The shoe box works like a drawer making it easy to put the cubes into it and also easy to have cubes at the ready :-) Now we have almost as many ice cubes available as we had with the auto ice maker.....and no worries about leaking. :-)
And when you open up the freezer, it looks as good as it did with the ice maker in it....not that a 'decorative looking' freezer is all that important. LOL! If your ice maker has quit working and you're looking for a simple yet very workable way to have lots of ice, this idea may be for you too!

Suggested materials:

  • Sterlite plastic shoe box  (Walmart or most big box stores)
  • Ice cube trays  (Walmart or most big box stores)
  • 1/4" plywood scrap piece  (Left over from previous project)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Rachel
    on Jan 7, 2017

    dont the ice cubes stick together?

    • CK
      on Oct 20, 2018

      Nope....the only time the cubes stick together is IF they've been in the box a loooooooong time. During the summer months when we use a lot of ice, there is no problem. Now that it's winter we did find a few cubes stuck together. But is that really an issue? Nope ;-)

  • What is the plywood used for? Under support?
    • CK
      on Oct 20, 2018

      Sure if you have a wire shelf that fits, it would be fine. We didn't have one so we used the thin plywood shelf. But I can say, after 2 years of this 'fix', everything works amazingly well. No trouble with air flow to the trays.

  • Merv
    on Oct 20, 2018

    How is this an ice maker? You have to actually make the ice yoiraeld and in the freazer

    Not a terrible idea but not an auto ice maker either

    • CK
      on Oct 20, 2018

      Right. This is NOT an automatic ice maker and nothing in the post says that it is. This is a simple, easy "fix" for someone who can't or doesn't want to replace the automatic ice maker in their frig/freezer. But the freezer does in fact, make ice.

Join the conversation

2 of 100 comments
  • Annie Elkey
    on Apr 22, 2019

    My ice maker recently went. Love your idea. Thank you

  • Rebecca S
    on Jul 22, 2020

    A shoe box is not food safe. Aluminum causes Alzheimer. So, wax paper will work if using double-sided tape to hold it in place.

    We just use our old icemaker ice bucket where it is on a shelf. If I took out the unit, I could stack more ice cube trays, or make some yogurt popsickles for the kids. But, the icemaker works, it just keep disconnecting its waterline and has ruined our floor. I stack our ice trays on one side inside the bucket, and dump them into the other side. It works for us.

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