Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Labor of Love: Painted Cooler Wedding Gift

Have you ever heard of cooler painting?  I hadn't until a year or two ago, when Kendall painted a cooler for a dear friend for her birthday. It's apparently been all the rage on college campuses, especially within sororities, more so in the south. There are Facebook groups filled with girls sharing their ideas and how-tos. You can spend hours checking out painted coolers on Pinterest here, too. 

This is the cooler Kendall painted for her friend.

The last scene was inspired by a photo of Kendall and her friend in Hawaii.

As you can imagine, she spent many, many hours on that cooler, 
and it was very much appreciated by her friend.

She also painted a small "bubba keg" for another dear friend...

Clearly, if Kendall really loves you, she's willing to go all out, which is why it didn't surprise me when she told me last spring that she wanted to paint a cooler for Kyle's and Alayna's wedding gift. She didn't even entertain the idea of buying them something; she wanted to do something from her heart. 

When you paint a cooler, you buy the cooler, remove the hardware, and sand the surface of the entire cooler, including signs of the brand markings. Any parts that aren't being painted need to be taped over. The prepping alone takes a number of hours (not to mention tools, lol).  She started the project in May and spent every spare minute on it in the months before the wedding. Had she had consistent time off (without commitments), she estimates that it would have taken "a couple of weeks."

The cooler that Kendall bought is medium sized, the type on wheels, like luggage almost. It's perfect for a trip to the beach. (Since Kyle and Alayna now live in San Diego, it made sense!)

Before she could begin painting, Kendall had to come up with the images and words she planned to paint. She conducted a lot of research on line after reflecting on the interests Kyle and Alayna share. Here's the finished product. Because the cooler was sealed with epoxy resin (the same coating that goes on bar tops (to make them durable), the photos show a glare at times. I took a number of snaps with my camera, but that SD card disappeared, so I'm sharing iPhone photos:

(the maps are of places Kyle and Alayna have visited together)

Binge-watching Netflix is another mutual interest of Kyle and Alayna.
(with a twist on the login screen--It is a beer cooler, after all.)

The next photo doesn't do the top justice, 
but it has a woodgrain-looking appearance that looks amazing.
What you don't see is a bottle opener attached inside the lid, too.

Just for fun, soda caps were glued into the bottom.

I conservatively estimate that Kendall spent forty hours creating this one-of-a-kind gift.

 Kyle and Alayna love it.

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