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Painting an Old Cooler Like an American Flag

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I love rust, but this old cooler was a bit too rusty for my taste. I decided to give it a fun makeover and stencil it like an American flag.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

A fun and functional Americana cooler.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

I picked up this old cooler at a yard sale a couple years ago. It was pretty rustic then, but after being outside it was in dire need of a makeover!
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

I love rust, but this was just a bit more than I like.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

I painted the entire top white with some leftover latex paint. Then I taped it off with some 1 1/2 " wide painters tape.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

I chose to stencil it because I knew it would be faster. I did go over it twice. Remove the tape as soon as you are done stenciling. That way, if any paint leaked underneath it can be removed before it dries.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

I cut two stars out of a recipe card. They make great stencils.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

When stenciling I always blot my brush onto paper towels. That keeps it drier and eliminates leakage.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

I just stenciled them randomly for a primitive look.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

Last of all I sanded it lightly so that it looked time worn. I started to brush it with a water base varnish for protection, but the red paint began to smear. I decided that I needed to let it dry better.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

But it didn't stop us from taking it to the park for a 4th of July picnic.
  • painting an old cooler like an american flag, crafts, painting, patriotic decor ideas, seasonal holiday decor

My daughter made a yummy fruit pizza for dessert.

Material I used for this project:

  • Old cooler, paint, stencil brush, painters tape, star punch   (Yard Sale)
  • Rose Marie Wilson
    Rose Marie Wilson Wantagh, NY

    Very nice! I like the quilt and the old fashioned picnic basket too!

  • Martha
    Martha Grants Pass, OR

    I love it! Now you should make your picnic basket match!

    • Jann Olson
      Jann Olson Alpine, UT

      I actually did paint a picnic basket like a flag years ago, but it finally wore out.

  • Valerie
    Valerie Standish, MI

    That is a job well done. I have an exact looking cooler since 1969. I hope to do what you did to your cooler.

    • Jann Olson
      Jann Olson Alpine, UT

      Thanks Valerie! It was a fun project.

  • Barbara Perry

    What a wonderful job you did. Love the idea.

  • Jann Olson
    Jann Olson Alpine, UT

    Thank you, it was fun!!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!