How to Make the Perfect Formal Cooler

Formal season is approaching fast! To most sorority women, formal season is the most exciting time of the year. Within many Greek communities, if you are invited to a fraternity formal, there is a tradition for women to paint their formal dates a cooler. While your date pays for the hotel, food, and mostly everything else that weekend, we sorority girls can show them our appreciation with a nicely decorated cooler. These coolers can be reused and will always hold the memories of a great weekend up in the mountains or down by the beach. To ensure that your cooler turns out looking awesome, just follow these three steps!

Step 1: Get to know your date and choose a design

Boys love receiving coolers that are personalized for them! Make sure to include things that he likes as this is your gift to them for taking you on such an amazing weekend. What is their favorite sports team? Where are they from? What’s their favorite type of beer? What is their favorite clothing brand? What type of music do they listen to? All of these questions can help you come up with a great design for your cooler.  Also, make sure to reserve space for your date’s name, fraternity name, and the location of their formal. You can never go wrong with adding these basic aspects to your design. Need some inspiration? Check out our Pinterest board for some cool ideas!

Step 2: Buying and preparing your cooler

Buying a cooler isn’t as simple as it sounds. The best coolers to buy are ones that have a lot of flat surfaces. Flat surfaces make it much easier to paint on and will make your design look more clean and precise then a cooler with rough sides. These coolers can be found at Wal-Mart or Target. Any color cooler is fine to buy since you will be painting over it anyways. Before beginning to paint, make sure that you ether use sand paper or an electric sander to sand down the surfaces of the cooler. This will help with the durability of your cooler and will help to ensure that the paint adheres to the surfaces. If you don’t wish to sand your cooler, you may opt for spackling paste to smooth out the surface of your cooler. Both options work well. Lastly, paint every side with a coat of Mod Podge. This helps seal your design.

Step 3: Paint your design!

Depending on the size of the cooler, it could take hours to finish painting the entire thing. I recommend getting together with some friends and having a crafting party. This will help pass the time and it’s always nice to have extra helping hands! I would work your way around the cooler, specifically painting each side. This will allow time for the paint to dry and for you to then go back and put on a second coat. It you aren’t comfortable free-handing your design, print out the design from your computer and trace over it with tissue paper and a pencil. You can then use the tissue paper and retrace it onto the cooler. I also suggest using paint pens. They are easier to use if you do not have a steady hand. Once your finished decorating your cooler, coat the entire thing in Mod Podge to seal in your design.

Painting coolers can be so much fun. Make sure you check out our website, which has lots of Spring Formal T-shirt designs! Below are a few of my favorite designs:


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