Hand-painted coolers are extremely popular with Greeks in the South, and knowing how to paint one well is a valuable skill for any sorority girl! It’s traditional to craft a cooler for your fraternity formal date or as aBig/Little gift, but they also make perfect birthday gifts for sisters and even dads! I recently painted a cooler for my g-little, Makenze, and it came out gorgeous! Here’s my step-by-step guide for painting the perfect cooler!
Start by taping off the parts of your cooler you don’t want painted, like the handle. Then, prime your cooler so the paint has a base to stick to. A spray primer formulated for plastic is best.
Use the carbon or transfer paper to trace your design onto the cooler. You can find carbon paper at any craft store. If you’re super artsy, you may not need to do this if you can free-hand the design you want. The designs I used for Makenze’s cooler were very intricate, so I knew I needed the carbon paper!
It’s time to start painting! I use a combination of acrylic paint and paint pens. The paint is great for large areas, while the paint pens are perfect for precision! This is my favorite part of cooler painting. I would watch Criminal Minds for hours while I was painting Makenze’s cooler until it was perfect! Once I finished the designs on each side, I painted pearls down the edges. If you’re painting a cooler for a guy, bow ties are a great option!
After your cooler is perfectly painted and dry, brush on the Mod Podge with a sponge brush. I usually put three coats on mine so that it’s almost impossible for the paint to chip. After the Mod Podge is dry, spray your cooler with acrylic sealer for a smooth finish. Peel off the painter’s tape!
Fill up your cooler with your favorite cold beverages for tailgating, the beach, or a day on the boat! Smile when everyone marvels over your artistic abilities!