Picnic Prep: How to Dress Up Your Cooler

Make your next picnic pop with this colorful and customized cooler.

DIY Cooler Upgrade

DIY Cooler Upgrade

Make your next picnic pop with this super stylish, customized cooler.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Materials Needed

  • 9 qt. personal cooler (made of PE and PP)
  • origami paper in desired colors
  • scissors
  • decoupage glue
  • water-based polyurethane
  • foam paintbrush
  • 1" chip paintbrush

Choose Your Cooler

Big or small, just make sure the cooler is clean and dry before you start. We chose a nine-quart personal cooler with a flat top and swing-up handle made of high-density polyethylene and polypropylene for durability.

Cut Paper

Using scissors, cut out bits of colored paper. Word to the wise, straight edges makes for easier application later.

DIY Cooler Upgrade

DIY Cooler Upgrade

Step 2- Cut Paper Using scissors, cut out bits of colored paper and stay with straight edges for easier application later.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Paint on Glue

Using a foam paintbrush, apply a layer of decoupage glue.

DIY Cooler Upgrade

DIY Cooler Upgrade

Step 3- Paint on Glue Using a foam brush, paint on a layer of decoupage glue.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Add Paper

Quickly place papers onto the surface of the cooler, starting at the corners. Brush each piece to smooth out any bumps.

DIY Cooler Upgrade

DIY Cooler Upgrade

Step 4- Add Paper Quickly place papers onto the surface, starting at the corners. Brush each piece to smooth out any bumps.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Layer It Up 

Add more shapes into the mix, using the same technique. Continue adding layers of paper until the top of the cooler is covered.

DIY Cooler Upgrade

DIY Cooler Upgrade

Step 5- Layer It Up Add more shapes into the mix, using the same technique. Layer it up until the top is covered in tissue or origami papers.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Coat With Sealer

Allow the papers and decoupage glue to dry a few hours, then add a clear coat of polyurethane to protect your work. Allow this to dry for a couple of days before you put your trendy-topped cooler to use.

DIY Cooler Upgrade

DIY Cooler Upgrade

Step 6- Coat with Polyurethane Allow the papers and decoupage glue to dry a few hours, then add a clear coat of polyurethane to protect your work! Allow this to dry for a couple of days before you put it into use!

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

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