A little background: My boyfriend is a super outdoorsy, country boy and if you know any of those you surely know what a Yeti cooler is. Those things are apparently so great that they are even “bear proof” and also over $200 for the smallest one! And guess what… my boyfriend HAD TO HAVE ONE. Any time he took me out to a nice meal we had to hit up the Bass Pro afterwards and somehow ended up in front of the Yeti’s. Ridiculous I know. I decided for his birthday I’d give him a “Yeti” – so, I painted the logo on the front of a regular cooler. Turns out everyone loved the fake Yeti and his dad even wants one now!
Cooler painting is not only for sorority girls and date parties (some sororities have a tradition to give personalized coolers to their dates). Even less than super crafty or artistic people (like me…) can do it, and so can you! I recently painted a cooler for my boyfriend for his birthday and it was so easy. Usually I am not the crafty person due to my lack of patience, but with these easy tips I finished painting the cooler in a day in a half.
What you need:
- Cooler of any kind/size/color
- Sanding paper (optional)
- Primer (spray or paint on – see list at the bottom of the post for suggestions)
- Acrylic Paint
- Cheap paintbrushes of all sizes (not sponges)
- Paint Pens
- White tissue paper
- A Sealer (spray or paint on)
- Painters tape (the blue tape)
How you do it:
- Wash dust and dirt off cooler with dish soap. Some people say to sand the whole cooler so that it is a smooth to paint on. I on the other hand did not sand it because it looked more rugged and boyish to me (not to mention it was a whole lot less time consuming).
- Tape off wheels and handles if you have them. Cover the cooler with the primer of your choice generously.
- Plan your attack. Decide in advance what you want on each side of the cooler and where you are going to put it.
- Print out your images. Pretty much every side of my cooler, I traced! I googled to find the images I liked the best for the Jack Daniels & Browning logos, Pistol Pete (GO OSU!), and the state flag of Oklahoma. Print them out in the size you are going to want them to be on the cooler.
- Transfer your printed images. Lay the image down, place white tissue paper over it and trace with a pencil. When done tracing tape the white tissue paper onto your cooler lightly as the paint will peel up. Trace over the pencil with a sharpie and it will bleed through onto the cooler. I DID free hand the camouflage and the state of Oklahoma (go me!) and had a friend with nice handwriting do the Yeti. Stencils are incredibly helpful if you don’t have an artistic friend handy.
- Paint wisely. Use paint pens to work with small letters and spots or to outline all of the images in black. That will make the images POP!
- After allowing the cooler to completely dry add the finishing touches. Use a sealer of your choice and follow directions on bottle. I used 2-3 layers of Mod Podge then 2-3 layers of Krylon Sealer. 24 hours between Mod Podge layers is recommended.
If you aren’t very artistic then I recommend you use simple, less detailed, larger images. A simple clean cooler looks best! Don’t forget to share your customized coolers – post a link to your site in the comments!
Bulls Eye Water-Base Primer and Sealer by Zinsser– apply 2-3 coats
Outdoor Mod Podge (paint on)
Triple Thick Brush-On Glaze – highly recommended after Mod Podge