Apartment Living BlogDiy › Cool Down! Cooler Decorating 101

As summer dwindles, there is less and less time for lake and ocean activities. But, come fall, there are still plenty of times that a cooler will come in handy. You don’t need a beach! Think football games, birthdays, tailgating, golf outings, mountain weekends, backyard barbecues, bonfires…the possibilities are truly endless. Don’t show up to your next social gathering with a plain old cooler. Decorate it! It’s a great gift for both college and high school graduating seniors (decorate it with their college colors/mascot!), bachelors and bachelorettes (think “Last Fling Before the Ring!”), etc. Read on for cooler decorating ideas and inspiration…

Type of Cooler to Pick…

One without a lot of texture! This makes it easier to paint when there aren’t a bunch of ridges and bumps. Regardless, it’s a good idea to get some sandpaper and sand the cooler down before you start. Your design, whatever you choose, will be easier to create on a smooth surface. Also, take into consideration handles, wheels, etc. Things like that can also make the cooler more difficult to paint.

Prime Before You Paint…

After you’ve smoothed out your cooler, you’ll need to prime it. Don’t skip this step! You don’t want your cooler peeling after only a few uses. You can use regular primer or use the spray paint kind. Do several coats to make sure your cooler is ready.

Picking A Design…

Coolers are not only for fraternity formals and sorority beach getaways. Yes, when you think of decorating coolers you may think of a bunch of Greeks at a day party somewhere. But what about birthday parties? Tailgate fever? Bachelorette parties? See below for a couple of fun sayings that may work perfectly for you and your cooler.


“Last Fling Before the Ring”

Popular song lyrics

Location and date of event

“Keep Calm and …”


“Last Sail Before the Veil”

College colors and/or mascot

“The Boys Are Back in Town”

“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”

“Life is good”

Wedding date (for a bachelor/bachelorette party)


Now that you’ve got your design, it’s time to paint! You need to choose ARYLIC paints – as these are the best for the surface of your cooler. They will last longer and the colors will remain vibrant. Of course, you’ll need brushes, but you might also want to purchase some paint pens for smaller details. Once you’re done, you’ll need to wait to let your cooler dry for about 24 hours.

Last but not least…seal it! Apply a coat of polyurethane sealer evenly all over the cooler. It needs to dry completely before you apply a second and third coat. Now, you’re ready for the beach, pool, football game, whatever! These are great gifts, too. Consider tying a big bow around it (and, of course, filling it up with whatever tickles your fancy) for a gift that is sure to impress.


About :

Hi, all! I'm Maggie, the Assistant Manager of Public Relations and Events here at For Rent. I'm part of an awesome team of fun, creative people that love to get together and think up new ideas and solutions for the multifamily industry. Here at ForRent.com, I write and edit A LOT! Other things I love: reading, Netflix, rain storms, Thai food, beach days with friends and the Georgia Bulldogs.

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