Fraternity Formal Cooler

So a fraternity gentleman asked you to his formal and your Big just informed you that the tradition is to paint him a cooler? Don’t panic! Check out my general Cooler Painting Tutorial and continue reading below to see how I made my first fraternity formal cooler!

After deciding what I wanted to paint on each side and corner of the cooler, I started out by painting each part a base color. Once that was all dry I was able to draw out the images and paint in more details.



To replicate a Fireball Whisky logo on the top of the cooler I first painted the entire area black. I printed out the Fireball dragon at Target Copy, sprayed it with hairspray to keep the colors from running and then used mod podge to attach it to the cooler. I painted over the dragon with red and black paint pens and then added another layer of black paint to the entire top. Once that was dry, I sealed the top with a layer of mod podge and then left it for several hours to completely dry.

After some research I found the closest match to the Fireball logo font on called SF Big Whiskey and typed up my boyfriend’s name in Word with it. After printing out all of the letters I arranged them in an arc and traced them onto tissue paper. Then I placed the tissue paper where I wanted the his name to go on the cooler and used a white paint pen to transfer the letters on. I did the same thing to write Cinnamon Whisky underneath his name. After the letters were all solid white, I went over them with a red paint pen.

I blew up a picture of the logo and went through all of the steps I used above to paint “Tastes Like Heaven, Burns Like Hell” on the bottom of the cooler. Once everything was dry I painted on three more layers of liquid mod podge to seal the top.



The base color that I painted the front of the cooler is called Ocean Breeze. I found lighthouse clipart on the internet and printed out my favorite one. Then I traced it onto tissue paper and transferred it onto the cooler with a black paint pen. After that I filled in the whole image with the same black paint pen and allowed it to dry before continuing. I traced the anchor-frame image and “Sigma Nu Formal” from the back proof of the event t-shirt and then transferred it all on with a white paint pen. Then I used a blue paint pen over the letters and black over the anchors. I found a similar font on Word to paint the formal location in the middle with a white paint pen. Once all of the paint was dry I sealed it with a layer of liquid mod podge.



I started out by painting the back side of the cooler in an acrylic paint color named King’s Gold. I used tissue paper and a black paint pen to paint on the Greek letters sigma and nu and the horizontal line below it along with the phrase “Join or Die.” I also used tissue paper to draw the Join or Die snake onto the cooler and used a red paint pen to fill in the eye of the snake. Then I outlined the Greek letters with a gold paint pen and used the black paint pen to fill in the Greek letters and to add more detail to the pieces of the famous snake cartoon. I finished off the side with a layer of liquid mod podge to protect it.


IMG_0920aLeft Side

For the left side of the cooler I found a drawing of the beach on the internet that I wanted to replicate and used tissue paper to transfer it onto the cooler.

To give the water texture and a more realistic coloring I started out by painted it the same blue as the sky and then added white to the mixture, painted more in a swirling motion and repeated this second step, adding more white each time. Then I carefully outlined the edges of the water with white.

For the sand, I alternated between painting it with a Khaki color and a brownish gold tone paint. I used cotton balls to apply paint in the bigger areas and Q-tips in the small areas to give the sand texture.

I also used cotton balls and a couple different shades of gray to give the rock in the lefthand corner a more realistic look, as well. I finished it off with a layer of liquid mod podge to protect my work.


IMG_0909aRight Side

For the right side of the cooler I started out by painting it a dark orange color. Then I drew the Florida Gators logo on with tissue paper.

To fill in the different colors I used blue, orange and green paint pens.

For the under section of the gator I used a light green acrylic paint and I used white acrylic paint and a thin-tipped paint brush for the eye, teeth and outline of the head.

I finished this side off like the others, with a layer of liquid mod podge to seal it.



I decided to paint different colored bow ties on the corners of the cooler to go in between each side’s images.

After tracing four bow ties onto tissue paper and painting the corners whatever main color the bow tie would be, I took those tissue paper bow ties and traced them on near the bottom of the cooler with a black paint pen. I used a plain sheet of printer paper to make straight lines to create the ribbon fabric that would go around the collar of a shirt if they were real.

Then I touched up the main color if it needed it and then added in the details to the bow ties. Finally, I went over the edges of the bow ties with a black paint pen.

IMG_0926Lid Sides

For the sides of the lid I took lines from the creed of my boyfriend’s fraternity that represent their three ideals and typed them up in Word in the font and size I wanted. Then I transferred them on with tissue paper and a white paint pen. Once that was dry I traced over them with a gold paint pen.






I sealed the cooler with three layers of spray on mod podge and another three layers of Minwax Helmsman Clear Outdoor Urethane Sealer, allowing it to dry for several hours between each layer and 24 hours after the last coat of Minwax. Then I filled it up with beach essentials such as sunscreen, water and towels and surprised my boyfriend with it!


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