Dale Earnhardt Painted Cooler

You may remember the pink polka dotted cooler that started my cooler painting mania. If not you can read about it here. Greg requested a Dale Earnhardt painted cooler. I had a vision in my head of how I wanted it to look. I had a few bumps along the way, but I was determined that it was going to look a certain way. This is how I began.


Sander  (small hand held)
plastic primer
3 cans of black paint Krylon
White spray paint Krylon
White acrylic paint (craft paint)
Plastic clear coat Krylon
White Paint pen
Red Paint Pen
Xacto knife
number 3 printed using google image search
checked flag duct tape (found at Hobby Lobby)
paint brush
painters tape


This is what I did differently from the pink painted cooler. I hardly sanded this cooler. I just gave it enough to scuff it a little. Then I gave it 2 coats of plastic primer, let it dry about 3 hours. Next I taped off the top and painted the bottom black. You may remember from the polka dotted cooler that I only used about a half a can of pink paint. For some reason the black took 3 cans. After waiting a couple of days for all the black to dry I moved on to the number.

I printed "the 3" using a google image search. I used an xacto  knife to make it a stencil. I traced it with some white acrylic paint and a paint brush. After several coats I moved on to using a paint pen. Once the 3 was completely white, I let it dry and then traced it with the red paint pen.

I made a line along the bottom using painters tape to help me get a crisp clean line and then colored it in with a red paint pen.

Next comes the tricky part. I knew I wanted a checked flag lid. I looked for a contact paper with this print, but couldn't find any. I found a stencil and tried that. I used black paint first, it was a runny nightmare. Then I tried using a black sharpie marker but that didn't look crisp either. That's when I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and found the checked duct tape. I carefully covered the top and then gave the bottom a coat of clear protective spray and let it dry.

I really love doing these coolers. I'm currently working on one for Greg's brother. Abbey and my sister have asked for some too. So hopefully you'll be seeing more of these.

How to Paint a Cooler

I bought a cooler to take to Bristol in August. I saw a cute zebra print cooler while shopping a few weeks ago, but the cooler was too tall to be allowed in at the race. When I found this plain blue cooler I was happy that it had wheels so I don't have to carry my drinks. But sad that it wasn't as cool as the zebra one. I had the bright idea to paint it. I love spray paint. I have no fear when it comes to giving something/anything a coat of paint. Once I decided to paint the cooler I was super excited to get started transforming it from plain to fabulous. This is a several day process so make sure you have a week of nice weather otherwise your cooler will be sitting on your washing machine while it dries. Not that happened to me all three nights.

Materials: Rust-olem plastic primer
Krylon (my spray paint brand of choice) Top is Grape bottom is Watermelon
scotch blue painters tape
black n decker palm sander
Spackle (not really needed)
xacto knife
Various colors paint pens
Krylon  fusion for plastics clear uv protection

Step 1: I covered the Coleman with Spackle and let it dry over night.

Step 2: Give it a roughing up with the sander wiped it off with a damp cloth and then lightly covered it with Plastic primer. Don't you just love all the paint it left on my fingers. Let dry for about an hour.

Step 3: I sprayed the top with Krylon Grape. Painted the bottom with Krylon Watermelon. I taped the back where the handle goes. That remained black but the handle itself I painted grape. I let this sit overnight to dry.

Step 4: Taped the stripes off and gave the top a coat of watermelon. Let it dry about 2 hours.

Step 5: I printed the H off from my computer. You can do this anyway you want but I looked for a monogram H in a google image search. Then cut using a xacto knife it out to make a stencil I traced the H with a paint pen and then filled it in. As it was drying I used a circle stencil on the base using lavender, lime, tangerine, and blue. I bought a variety pack of paint pens.

I still need to cover it with the Krylon Fushion UV protection. I want to let it sit overnight to dry once again.

I'm working on Greg a Dale Earnhardt cooler I'm hoping to have it done soon.
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