Tips and Tricks to Painting Coolers

Tips and Tricks to Painting Coolers

My fool-proof way to create awesome coolers for formal season.
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Although I have never actually been to a fraternity formal myself, I have painted a few coolers for friends who have. Cooler painting is an extremely labor intensive art that you should not go into blindly. Here are my tips and tricks to successfully painting an awesome cooler that will last years! If you read all the tips and still feel like it is too daunting of a task, maybe you should just pay someone.

1. Sand it 'till you can't sand it anymore

Grab your laptop and turn on Netflix because sanding the cooler is definitely the longest and most boring part of cooler painting -- but sanding is the most important step to creating a cooler that will last longer than a week. I suggest using two, or better yet, three types of sand paper: course grit, medium grit, and fine grit. Start with course grit and, with a lot of pressure, sand each side of the cooler until you cannot see the original texture of it. With the medium grit and a slightly lighter touch, sand the whole cooler again. Lastly, with the fine grit sandpaper, lightly sand the cooler until the surface is very smooth with no bumps.

2. Wash all the powder off from sanding the cooler

Easily the most forgotten step to cooler painting, it is super necessary that you wash off the gritty powder from the cooler. Wash it with just water and some type of brush and make sure to let it dry before you prime it. If you prime it with all the powder still on it, the cooler is a lot more likely to chip. It only takes a second, so just do it!

3. Fill in the indented logo

If you feel like going the extra mile, fill in the trademark indented "igloo" or "coleman" logo with Spackle or Modge Podge. Beware: while Spackle does create the best looking cover up, it smells HORRIBLE, so if you are going to do it, make sure to do it outside. An easier, but less professional approach is to fill it in with Modge Podge. Turn the cooler on the side so that the logo it on the top and poor Modge Podge into it until its full. Let it dry overnight, then repeat. You might have to repeat this a few times as the Modge Podge tends to shrink when it dries.

4. Prime it...good

Priming the cooler is a step that cannot be overlooked because acrylic paint will not stick to the bare surface of the cooler. With painters tape, tape off any parts you do not plan on painting (e.g. the handles and wheels). Use a plastic spray primer like Krylon Fusion or Valspar Plastic Primer and apply two to three coats to each side. Wait at least 15 minutes between each coat. Make sure to do this step outside and on a surface you are okay with ruining. Wait a day before painting on the cooler.



5. Decide what to paint and on what side to paint it

There are SO MANY things you can paint on a cooler, the ideas are truly limitless. Try to find out what your date's favorite brand names are or sports teams. He will appreciate it much more if it is personalized. I would suggest having the top incorporate his name some way (e.g. southern tide logo, but instead of "Southern Tide" write his name in the same font style). On one of the larger sides, make it themed the place the formal will be held (e.g. NOLA). On the other sides, be creative and maybe plug your srat in there somewhere in the style of "DG loves KA"; they will never notice.

6. Paint the background colors first

Get excited, this part's hard to mess up. Whether you have decided to paint the traditional Patagonia logo or the fraternity's crest, figure out what the background colors of each side will be. Tape a strip of tape down each side and around each edge to ensure sharp lines. With acrylic paint of your choice, paint the background colors of each side. Tip: It doesn't have to be one solid color; it can be ombre from red to yellow for a beach scene (get creative). Use a larger brush for this part. Two coats is ideal.

7. Transfer the designs onto the cooler

This part is easier than you think. For inexperienced painters, I would suggest printing the design out, then tracing it onto tissue paper. Take the tissue paper and tape it onto the cooler and with a Sharpie, draw over the tissue design to transfer it to the cooler. It might take a while, but it is totally worth it for an awesome looking cooler. If you are a good freehand artist, then just go for it and draw it on the cooler with a pencil. Or if you have an artist friend, bake them cookies and I promise they will draw the designs on your cooler for you (trust me).

8. Paint!

This part should be fun, relaxing, and easy because your design is already on there. Remember your 1st grade coloring lessons and "Stay in the lines!". If your hand is just not steady enough for the small detailed lines with a paintbrush, try using paint pens-- they are a lifesaver for straight lines. But be careful not to use a paint pen to paint a large area of the cooler because it is noticeable and can make it look tacky. Have fun with this part!

9. Last but not least, Modge Podge that bad boy

After all your hard work, it is only necessary to prevent your cooler from scratching by sealing it. After you are done painting your cooler and it is COMPLETELY dry, grab a large, CLEAN paintbrush and a tub of Modge Podge. Shake the Modge Podge to mix it then softly hit it on the ground several times to get the bubbles out. With nice, even strokes in one direction, coat all parts of the cooler you painted. TIP: Modge Podge goes on white but dries clear, so do not worry. Wait until the first coat dries then paint a second coat. If you have the time and some Modge Podge left, paint a third to really ensure no chipping.

Voila! You now have a spring break-worthy and frat party proof cooler that any guy should feel happy to own. Although it seems like a lot of work, it is very rewarding knowing your date has the best cooler there. If it just seems like too much for you, there are so many crafty girls who would love to paint a cooler for you (it might not be cheap though), but you can save yourself a lot of money if you do all the prep work (e.g. sanding and priming) first. Either way, I hope these tips and tricks help you to create your one of a kind cooler.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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8 Reasons I'll Take In-Store Shopping Over Online Shopping Any Day

In-store shopping shouldn't be disregarded.

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Lately, there have been many department stores closing due to the rise of online shopping as opposed to in-store shopping. According to Fox Business, this includes department stores such as Payless, Gymboree, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Dress Barn. The close of so many retail stores has led to more questions as to whether online shopping will become the only method of shopping.

However, just like with reading on a Kindle versus reading an actual book, not everyone prefers shopping online. At least, I don't prefer online shopping, and yes, I have tried shopping online for almost everything.

Here are eight reasons why shopping in the store will always be better than online shopping, no matter what other people have stated.

1. You can try on clothes

Clothes

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This is one of the biggest problems I have with online shopping! You can't try on the clothes before buying them online. Sure, you can try on the clothes you get once they've been shipped. But if you have trouble finding the right size, especially since for women every size in almost any store varies, then it becomes more of a hassle.

Yes, a lot of online shopping sites have a "find the right size" menu where it gives you multiple measurements that match certain sizes. But most of those measurements include waist, hip, stomach sizes, and who has time to measure all of that?

2. You can expect what you're going to get

Shopping

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With in-store shopping, you usually know what you get with buying an item. You know what the item looks like from seeing it in person, or with clothes you've felt the fabric and seen what it looks like in person. With online shopping, you basically don't know for sure what to expect until you receive the item in the mail. There are a lot of sites that may try to scam you where they'll present you with a clothing item that looks nice on the model until you receive it and it looks nothing like what you saw online. At least with in-store shopping, this doesn't happen as often.

3. No shipping expenses

Cost

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The nice part with in-store shopping is you don't have to spend extra expenses on shipping. Although there are times when online shopping sites offer free shipping, on some sites, it's hard to find free shipping. And on a lot of sites, they will try to offer free shipping only if you buy items that are $50 or more, which means you have to pay for more to receive free shipping.

4. No wait to receive what you buy

Shipped Box

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The great part about in-store shopping is you get the item right away, unless you ask for the item to be ordered in the store. With online shopping, you have to wait for the item to be sent. And although there are some shipping options that allow one-day shipping, you'll sometimes be charged more to receive the item early. With in-store shopping, at least you get the outfit you want or item you need as soon as you pay for it.

5. You can avoid additional shipping hazards

Shipping

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There are a lot of other shipping hassles that you have to go through besides waiting for the item to be shipped and the cost of shipping. You also have to worry about the item getting lost in the mail or if you'll receive it at the right address. And sometimes the item can get damaged during transit, which makes you feel like you wasted all of your money on buying the it.

6. You can speak to a sales representative in person

Sales Representative

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This is especially helpful for buying bras or a dress. With in-store shopping, you can talk to a sales representative and get their opinion before buying the item. Sure, online shopping has someone you can talk to online, but it's not the same since you aren't talking to them in person or trying on the clothes in front of them. With in-store shopping, they can give you advice when you try on the item and offer you alternatives if it doesn't fit, whereas with online shopping, they can only offer you general advice without seeing you try on the item.

7. The option to pay with cash

Cash

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If you hate paying with a debit card, then you probably would prefer in-store shopping. The problem with online shopping is that you can't pay with cash since you can't exactly transfer real money online except through a debit card. With in-store shopping, you at least always have the option of paying with cash.

8. You miss the experience of shopping in person

Shopping

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Lastly, what most people don't seem to understand is that with online shopping, you don't get the whole experience with in-store shopping. You don't get to walk through a mall, try on clothes, finger through the fabric, or see clothes or items in person. Instead, you have to sit behind a computer and shop. Though many people may like online shopping because you don't have to go through the hassle of dealing with people or lines in a store, you still miss out on real experiences with shopping.

So many people are already found in their houses behind a computer screen or buried in their phones. We already miss out on real experiences because we're too caught up in the digital world. So why should we do the same with shopping?

As you can see, shopping in person can have its own benefits to it. I'm not saying that online shopping is completely bad where you may not be able to purchase the item in the store. However, I also don't think that in-store shopping should be disregarded for online shopping. Not everyone enjoys shopping online completely, and by getting rid of in-store shopping, we miss out on the many different experiences that come with it.

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