I have been keeping a secret for about a month and a half and I am finally able to spill! Patrick is in the Sigma Chi fraternity at our school. One of the traditions for the greek community (everyone, not just our school) is painted coolers. My best friend, Paige, was the one who really turned my interest. I decided to surprise him and make him one. It took a lot of time and planning.
I am also going to outline everything I did for it. I found it very difficult to do because there was no articles or posts that I could find that outlined and detailed every part of it, so I hope this one fills the gap! Here it goes:
-krylon plastic fusion spray paint (white)
-mod podge & new brush just for this (do not use an old one, it will pull any paint bits left over into your new work- designate a brush just for this)
-minwax (new brush- same as above reason)
-paint pens (optional, but make life much easier)
-a mixing space for the paints
-frog tape (painters tape may also work but I have not tried it)
Before you do anything to your cooler- figure out your design. I used the Cooler Connection to find images and inspiration (as well as some tips.) I drew out my design on paper and printed off the images I liked so I could refer to them if need be.
I began the cooler process by taking my cooler and taping off the inside so no paint would get inside (using frog tape and newspaper.) I also taped the wheels off so they would not get paint on them. I then took the white krylon plastic spray paint and began covering all of the surfaces (except the bottom and inside.) It took me about three cans to cover it completely. Be sure to allow dry time in between each coat. Also, do not spray too close- you will have dripping paint if you do.
After the cooler was all white I decided to paint the top first. I started with the letters. In order to get them perfect I printed off the greek letters (one per piece of paper) colored the area (on the back side of the paper, using pencil) that I wanted the outline to transfer, and then placed the paper on the cooler top (ink side up.) From here take your pencil and outline the front, the lead from the pencil should transfer. I did not press very hard because I did not want the lead to show through my paint. I then used a small brush to paint my letters. Then I painted the background. Be sure to go over everything two-three times. I then used a paint pen to outline my letters and make them pop. Let dry for 24 hrs. Use mod podge to seal the top. It will appear white when it goes on, but dries clear. Paint it on just like paint- use a good amount, but don’t go crazy, too much and it will not dry clear.
For the painted sides this was the basic way I went about it. Be sure to keep in mind, lighter colors over darker colors are not always easy and may not cover the whole way.
For the Vineyard Vines side (my favorite side) I tried a few different things but what worked best (and what I ended up using) was this:
-carefully measure out the side of your cooler and figure out what size squares you want. I used 3″ x 3″
-pick your pattens (I am going post all of the patterns I used on here to make it easy for you all to use them! I will make a Facebook album- expect that in the next two days, I will post an update about it too.)
UPDATE: Here are the prints!
-create word documents using the patterns (see image below) and print out & cut out
-apply mod podge directly to the cooler and carefully put your images (ink facing you) onto the cooler. Keep in mind, once they touch, it is difficult to move. Make sure you have allowed a good amount of time for the ink to dry after printing, otherwise it will run. I let this dry for 24 hrs. before putting a coat of mod podge over to seal it. I eventually applied 3-5 coats.
These were the basic steps I used for placing images and painting. The entire cooler at the end got 3-6 coats of mod podge. Then about 3 coats on minwax to seal it all. I may decide to put additional sealer on.
Here is the rest of the cooler and a few close up shots:
The whale and skip jack and actually stickers that I used-I am too much of a perfectionist to have them not be exact!
These are my two favorite bow ties on the cooler!
Okay so I am not a professional, but I think it is pretty good for a first cooler! I hope to do a few smaller ones this Summer as well.