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Painting an Old Cooler Like an American Flag

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.

A fun and functional Americana cooler.

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!

I love rust, but this was just a bit more than I like.

I painted the entire top white with some leftover latex paint. Then I taped it off with some 1 1/2 " wide painters tape.

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.

I cut two stars out of a recipe card. They make great stencils.

When stenciling I always blot my brush onto paper towels. That keeps it drier and eliminates leakage.

I just stenciled them randomly for a primitive look.

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.

But it didn't stop us from taking it to the park for a 4th of July picnic.

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)
  • Lucy Stone
    Lucy Stone
    on Jul 5, 2016

    Use green Frog tape. It never bleeds under.

    • Jann Olson
      Jann Olson Alpine, UT
      on Jul 6, 2016

      The green is definitely the best! I always use it when painting my home. I had some, but wanted to save it and I knew the blue would be okay for this project. :)

  • Margaret
    Margaret Collingswood, NJ
    on Jul 5, 2016

    Love it. Anything patriotic is great!

    • Jann Olson
      Jann Olson Alpine, UT
      on Jul 6, 2016

      I love anything patriotic! I even have a guest room with an Americana theme. :)

  • Debs
    Debs Magnolia, KY
    on Jul 5, 2016

    What a great idea, I gave away an old cooler like this last year, ugh, wish I had your vision and kept it..It looks great!

    • Jann Olson
      Jann Olson Alpine, UT
      on Jul 6, 2016

      Debs, I've certainly done that a time or two! :) Thanks for your sweetness!

  • Katherine
    Katherine Charlotte, NC
    on Jul 5, 2016

    That turned out great! Love it!

  • Elaine
    Elaine Canada
    on Jul 5, 2016

    It's amazing what a bit of paint can do!

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