Cooler Painting 101

Hey y'all!

As a typical southern girl, I swoon over Pinterest and how talented some girls are at painting coolers. If you have a Facebook, (let's be honest, who doesn't?) definitely check out the group called 'The Cooler Connection'. It's literally a huge public forum for coolers, bubba kegs, and flasks! Plus everyone is super friendly and more than happy to share their advice and personal stories.

But continuing on, I've had my few not-so-great failures from painting a cooler..but it's all in good fun! The great thing about it? You can always sand down the plastic and just start again. Sometimes it can be frustrating if you mess up just the smallest bit, but again, practice makes perfect!

Now, on to the fun part! How exactly do you paint your very own cooler? 

  • Start by sanding down your cooler with a heavy grit to get the finish off, then use a light grit to help smooth the surface. I recommend using a handheld electric sander because otherwise, you'll never finish!!
  • Wash with soapy water to get all remaining dust off.
  • Use a plastic primer (spray paint or Krylon Fusion) and wait for it to fully dry before painting.

    Here are a few 'pinspirational' coolers! Make sure to check out my tailgating board on Pinterest for more ideas!

    • Make sure to seal your hard work! Modpodge or spray paint sealer are both good options. Multiple coats will ensure that your paint will stay in good condition and will postpone fading or discoloration. 
    • Wait 24 hours after applying sealant before use.

    cooler painting


    1. This is pretty nifty! I am going to the beach next week, maybe I will have time this week for this fun project!

    2. This will make a fun personalized gift, perhaps I will even include some beverages.

    3. I just made one for a wedding gift. The couple loved it! A tip I will share is, I cannot draw and saw to trace your picture on tissue paper and then trace it again on the cooler. I found that I could not get the small details so I purchased carbon paper at an office supply store. Tape your carbon paper onto the cooler and then tape your picture and trace. You have nice fine lines and then you can paint. This also save time but not having to trace the picture twice.

    4. Another alternative to purchasing carbon paper: Print out the image you want to trace, then take a number 2 pencil and shade in around all of the lines (extra shading in the detailed parts) on the back of the paper, then tape to the cooler and trace the front. Works just like carbon paper!

    5. They are also used to protect ice creams from melting in hot car. Ice chest coolers remove the dilemma of bringing drinks and food across different places Jerry