Friday, September 6, 2013

DIY: Painted Coolers

Alright crafters, especially crafters who are into sports, beware of this tutorial.  I am now slightly obsessed with this project and fully intend to make them for many people.  While it is always nice to do for others, these babies are not easy and are very time consuming.  You have been warned.

I first got the idea for this project from my mom, who mentioned she had seen it on another blog.  Of course, the first thing I did was search for "painted coolers" on Pinterest.  You should only do that if you have a lot of time on your hands because there are so many amazing coolers out there!  Apparently this is a big thing in the south, especially at sororities.  Seriously, you will be amazed by some of the things people can do, so cool!  So I decided to take a crack at it and decorate my own cooler for the upcoming college football season.  Disclaimer:  this post is going to be long and detailed, don't say I didn't warn you!  Here we go...

This is what I started with.  Lukcily, UCLA (my team of choice) is blue and gold, so I was able to buy a blue cooler and get started right away.  You can spray paint the entire cooler a different color if you want to, just make sure you prime first and use good spray paint.

I started out working on the lid of the cooler...

 I already had this team logo stencil from a tote bag I made and luckily it fit perfectly.  I taped it down to hold it in place.

I used a fine tip Sharpie in the color of my paint to trace the outline...

I then traced that outline in the acrylic paint (doesn't have to look pretty on the inside of the lines).

After the outline was finished, I filled in the entire logo with the acrylic paint...

Since the yellow was a little light, I outline the whole thing in blue, using a blue paint pen (I like the brand from Michael's.)  I did a double outline to make it stand out a little more.

On my next cooler, I will probably decorate the base with stripes, I think it might look better, but for this one I did polka dots and added in some footballs for good measure.  For both shapes, I used the outline in Sharpie and fill in with acrylic paint method.  With the polka dots, I did a base coat of white paint first, then went back over them with yellow.  The brown of the footballs had good coverage on its own so they didn't need a base coat.

Everything I painted needed multiple coats, which is one of the reasons why this whole thing took such a long time.  Make sure you wait until each coat is dry before giving it coat number two.  It is also super important to cover the painted areas with a sealer.  With each polka dot and football, and with the entire lid, I coated on a thin layer of Mod Podge, and once I finished painting the entire cooler, I sprayed the whole thing with a sealer.  If you don't seal, the paint will chip, so make sure you give it a good coat.  I added in some extra details with the paint pen, like writing in the fight song around the top edge and writing "Go Bruins" on the front.  I also did the Bruin "B" on the back using the trace in Sharpie and fill in method.  Here is the finished product!

I think I will go back and outline the "B" in white to give it a bit more definition, but other than that little detail, I'm loving this cooler!  It took a long time (especially for an impatient person like myself), but the finished product is definitely worth it!  Can't wait to use this baby tailgating!