Painting a cooler can be a confusing process, so we pulled together a list of frequently asked questions to get you started on your cooler painting Journey! Do you have questions that aren't listed? Drop them in the comments!
What type of cooler is easiest to paint?
When selecting a cooler to paint, try to choose a cooler with the least amount of indentations and textures. The flatter the cooler the better! Try to avoid coolers with ridges and large logos. When we decided to open SratStar, we designed our coolers to have flat sides, no indentations, smooth textures, and no logos. We wanted our coolers to be as close to a canvas as possible!
My Cooler has a Massive Logo, what do I do?
Unfortunately, lots of store bought coolers have massive logos right in the middle of the cooler. These large logos are often difficult to paint and will ruin your painted cooler design. This is why we designed SratStar coolers to have no logos! If however, your cooler does have a logo there are a few ways to combat it. 1. Choose a design that doesn't have a lot of detail around that area to make painting easier. 2. Fill in your logo with bondo. In order to do this correctly you need to sand down the logo and get into all the logo crevices so that every surface is sanded. You can then apply the bondo into the area making the logo flush with surface. After the bondo dies, sand it down to make it as close to one solid surface as possible. While this technique works pretty well, it is possible that the bondo won't stick to the cooler and you will end up with the situation below.
Is sanding by hand or with a power sander better?
Sanding with a power sander is much better than sanding by hand. With a power sander, you are able to get a many more micro-texture scratches into your plastic cooler. You will also be able to get a much more consistent texture than if you sand by hand. If you want your painted cooler to last, you should use a power sander to prep your cooler. At StarStar, we use top quality power sanders to make sure our coolers are prepped to last for years to come.
That being said, power sanders are much more powerful, so be careful not to over sand your cooler and put holes in your plastic.
What Sand paper grit should I use?
We recommend using a fine grit sand paper (between 100-150 grit) to prep your plastic cooler. Remember the goal is to introduce micro textures into the plastic. If you are using a course sand paper, you will be introducing large scratches into the plastic which will actually make it more difficult to paint and will not provide a good surface for the paintbrush to glide on.
Why do I have to sand and prime my cooler
Sanding your cooler, while the most annoying step, is also extremely important! There are a number of reasons why this step is essential but in summary you need to remove the mold agent (oil) from the plastic cooler and you need to create a micro texture in the plastic for the primer to grab onto. Check out the full article for "Why do I have to sand my Cooler?"
What happens if I don't sand my cooler?
We know that sanding is an extremely laborious, boring, messy, and time consuming process, so many people want to skip it because let's be honest...IT SUCKS. But sanding is an absolute must in the cooler painting process. If you do not sand your cooler will chip very easy or the paint will peel off entirely. You will waste all the time you spent painting and your cooler won't last.
Is it possible to over-sand my cooler?
Yes, it is very possible to over-sand your cooler! If you happen to buy a cooler that has a very aggressive texture and you are sanding to try to remove that texture, be careful not to sand entirely through the cooler. Also as you are sanding, make sure to keep the sander moving at all times. Keeping the sander in the same place could sand a hole into your cooler!
Why do I need to prime my cooler?
Priming you cooler is a very important step in the cooler painting process. Primer at a basic level is the glue between the plastic cooler and your paint. You want your primer to have the best adhesion possible. The primer will also give you a nice white canvas to paint on if you purchased a brightly colored cooler.
What kind of primer should I use?
Primer acts as a glue between your paint and your cooler. It is important to use a primer that is compatible with both the paint and the plastic. For instance, a primer specifically formulated for metal likely will not adhere to plastic very well. We recommend choosing a primer that is specifically formulated for plastic. There are a lot of different kinds of plastics though so choosing a primer specifically for the type of plastic your cooler is made from is the best solution. At SratStar we choose primers specifically formulated for the material of our cooler so we have the best adhesion possible for your painted cooler.
What paint should I use to paint my cooler
We recommend using acrylic craft paint to paint your frat cooler. You can find this paint in any craft store or walmart/target! You can get great performance out of many different brands. We use craft smart, folkart, and apple barrel mostly. You can find pretty much any color imaginable. We recommend buying an extra white and black because these colors are great for mixing and tend to be used a lot throughout the cooler painting process.
What brushes should I use to paint my cooler?
We recommend using acrylic paint brushes! We suggest getting a variety of different sizes and brush shapes. Our SratStar cooler painting kits include a 10 piece paint brush set that is perfect for cooler painting! Also any craft store or target/walmart will also have similar assorted acrylic paint brush sets!
How do I get perfect Images onto my cooler?
Have you ever seen a perfect cooler and wondered how they got their images, lines, and fonts so perfect?! We will show you how to achieve this with our SratStar transfer paper! Follow along with this blog post to learn more, "How to Get Perfect Images on my Painted Cooler".
What Sealant should I use to seal my cooler
There are a number of sealants on the market, but we recommend our SratStar Non yellowing cooler sealant! Some sealants require mixing and measuring and can turn into a big mess when they don't cure correctly. Our sealant is as simple as open, seal, and wait. In general, you want a sealant that won't yellow when exposed to UV and is water resistant. So if you are looking at other sealants, look for these two specifications!
How long does it take for my Sealant to dry?
Depending on what sealant you use, the time to dry can be very different. We typically recommend 24 hours for our Non Yellowing Cooler Sealant. If you are using a Famowood or Envirotec Sealant, we recommend 48 hours. Plan ahead and give your cooler time to fully cure before your event!