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Tailgate Tuesday: Painted Cooler Tutorial


For the second installment of Tailgate Tuesdays, I have a fun tutorial for you to dress up your favorite football beverages.

This probably comes as no surprise, but here in the South, tailgating is kind of a big deal. Everything from dresses to cupcakes are adorned with team logos. That includes, you guessed it, coolers.

I had seen some really great painted coolers on gamedays over the years and a few weeks ago, I finally decided to make my own.

DIY Painted Cooler

Materials Needed:
Ice chest/Cooler
Spray Paint Primer made for plastic (I used Rustoleum Fushion for Plastic)
Acrylic Paint (the cheap bottles you can buy at Walmart or any craft store) and Paint Pens
Sandpaper (optional)
Mod Podge

I did some research and the general method seemed to be the same. Sand, prime, paint, seal and seal again.

Well, being the rule-breaker that I am (read: lazy) I decided to skip the sanding and went straight to priming an extra cooler that we had laying around in the garage. Are we the only people who have somehow mysteriously collected a million ice chests over the years?

I primed the cooler with Rustoleum Fushion for Plastic. I sprayed the blue sides of the cooler white and the top green.



After I let the spray paint layers dry for a day, I started painting the designs in with cheap acrylic paint (because it is nice and thin) and paint pens. Since the paint was so thin, it took several coats to achieve the color I wanted.

I decided to paint the top of the cooler like a football field. I free-handed some stripes and a football in the center.


Next I wrote the fight song around the lid with a paint pen.


Then I sketched the main designs on the cooler with a pencil.


I roughly sketched out a Razorback face and then painted the designs on in several layers.


After I was happy with the designs and let them dry overnight, I added a layer of Mod Podge to the painted sections of the cooler.


If you’ve never used Mod Podge before, don’t freak out  when it goes on white. It dries clear, I promise.

After the Mod Podge had dried, I added a final layer of clear gloss Miniwax Polyurethane. The polyurethane is pretty toxic, so make sure and apply it outside or in a really well ventilated area.


That’s it! Let the cooler dry for at least 24 hours and then fill with lots of yummy tailgating food and booze!

I really like how it turned out. The finished product:


Because I already had the paint, cooler, Mod Podge and polyurethane laying around the house, this project actually didn’t cost me anything. If you needed to go out and buy all the materials, it could get a little pricey – but who can put a price on true team spirit?

We used it for the first home game and while there are a few scratches, we were really rough on the cooler and it made it through a Saturday full of tailgating fairly well.

Have you ever painted a  cooler?     Any tips or steps I missed?


Introducing…Tailgate Tuesday


Well kids, the best time of the year has finally arrived. College Football is alive and well.

Tailgating, barbecue, fight songs and cold beer a.k.a. some of my favorite things

To celebrate, I’m starting a new blog feature aptly named Tailgate Tuesdays. Today I’ve got some photos from our new tailgating spot (this is the first year we’ve had our own spot in Fayetteville) and in the coming weeks I’ve got lots of tailgating tutorials already lined up.



Go Hogs!

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