Painting an Old Cooler Like an American Flag

Jann Olson
by Jann Olson
1 Material
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.
Suggested materials:
  • Old cooler, paint, stencil brush, painters tape, star punch   (Yard Sale)
Jann Olson
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 5 questions
  • Terry G Terry G on Jul 05, 2016
    Did you paint the bottom part red or did you leave it as it was?

  • Jackie Mitchell Jackie Mitchell on Jul 06, 2016
    Thanks, I just love it! I'll start looking. Do you remember the name of it by any chance?

  • Lisa Fortner Lisa Fortner on May 19, 2020

    Can you paint this on a plastic cooler?

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4 of 48 comments
  • Joanie Joanie on Oct 12, 2017
    If I comment on any DIY's today, I HAVE to comment on yours...........this is beautiful.......Not only did you do a great lookin' job....it symbolizes' our great country. Patriotic is a great theme.....and you did it!!!

    • Jann Olson Jann Olson on Oct 12, 2017
      Thanks so very much!! Your sweet comment made my day. Love our country too!!

  • Joan Joan on Apr 08, 2019

    OMG I have this exact cooler and it's just as rusty! What a difference you've made!

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