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.


  1. Wow! Once again amazing work! I can't wait to see the others :)

    1. Thanks. This one was harder to do. With mine I could just do whatever, but with this one the colors had to be right and the font on the number had to be right. It was tricky.

  2. I love it! It should be Kasey Kahne instead, but still, I'm a Dale fan too, so I accept this ;)

    1. I'm working on a Jr cooler right now. I should make you a Kasey Kahne. Delivering it would give me an excuse to come to Chicago.

  3. That is very, very cool! I need one of those for the cooler part of my home air conditioner contraption.


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