Whether you are in the Greek system or not, you will most likely attend a formal at some point this year. Regardless if you are hosting the formal or invited to attend one, you are almost always expected to provide your date with a cooler. The coolers are a southern tradition, which women here at SMU have chosen to keep alive. They are time consuming, usually expensive, and require many of us to find our creative sides we may not be familiar with. So what exactly goes in the cooler and how do we make one?
First understand a cooler must be individual for your date. Before buying the cooler, get to know your date. Find out what he likes to do or eat, if he is in a fraternity, and where he is from, etc.
If he is in a fraternity, you may want to use their colors or paint their crest on the front. If your date is an athlete, you may want to paint their jersey or an SMU Mustang for school spirit. Either way, first find out what you want to paint on the cooler before buying your materials.
The materials list is simple, if you want it to be. You will need: a cooler, paint primer, acrylic paint, paintbrushes, and finishing spray or Modge Podge. The coolers range in texture and size. Get one that is smooth, it’s easier to paint. All of these can be found at Michaels or any craft store. Coolers can be found at target, Wal-Mart, or even CVS.
Making the cooler will take time; so don’t wait until the night before to do it. First thing you need to do is spray it with paint primer. The primer is white; so don’t use primer if you want to keep the color of your cooler. Let the primer dry overnight.
Before you paint your cooler draw out your designs in pencil on the primer. What happens if you can’t draw? Stencils! Or find a friend who can trace it out before you paint it. You may want to paint the whole cooler one color...spray paint can be easier for that! Use Montana Gold or any acrylic spray paint. When you paint your cooler, use water, paintbrushes, and paper towels to keep your paint nice and thick. Acrylic paint dries in a matter of minutes, and multiple layers may be required.
Once the paint is dry let it sit for at least a couple hours and spray it with acrylic finishing spray. You may use Modge Podge instead which is a gel gloss used to keep the paint from chipping. Once the cooler is done you may choose to fill it with some gifts or snacks. They will love that!
The cooler is a southern tradition, and girls make them to be thankful for the invite. You may choose to take lots of time or very little on it. Either way, make sure you follow these tips to make a cooler, which you and your date will be proud of. Happy fall formals and good luck.