A Formal Guide to Fraternity Coolers

Valentine’s Day, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and Spring Break spent in South Padre are some of the things we typically look forward to as second semester rolls around, but one thing we do not always think about is the joy of a fraternity formal.

Last summer my boyfriend and I started dating, and if someone would have told me we would still be dating for Spring Formal of this year, I probably would have laughed at them, mainly because I do not usually have boy skills. But alas, it’s formal season which means I had to get cracking on his cooler, and I figured the tips and tricks I learned would be beneficial for any other ladies that were lucky enough to get tapped on the shoulder and asked to formal too.


Supplies you’ll need:


·      A cooler (the less indents and wheels it has, the better)

·      Primer

·      Sandpaper (medium and ultra fine) or an electric sander

·      Painter’s tape

·      Paint

·      Paint brushes

·      Paint markers

·      Modge Podge

·      Sealant



Step One: Sand that Sucker


I know you are probably thinking to yourself you can get away without actually doing this, but I promise this is the most important step! It’s less about making sure that the surface is smooth, and more about getting the glossy part of the cooler off. I used normal sandpaper and it took me an outrageous amount of time (three hours).

I would suggest if a lot of your friends are going to the same or another formal, you should all invest in an electric sander for around $30 at Home Depot. Chances are, this will not be the only formal you ever go to and it is always a good thing to have around.



Step Two: Priming


For my primer, I went to Walmart and paid $4 for Krylon MAXX primer for Plastic. It’s important to prime your cooler because you want the paint to adhere to the plastic and make sure that it stays long lasting. After all, you will have spent so much time and effort on the cooler, you’ll want it to stay for a long time! Before you spray or paint any primer, make sure you tape the inside of your cooler so that it doesn't stick together.

Spray your first coat of primer, wait 30 minutes, spray another coat. I waited a full 24 hours and then painted a coat of white paint so that mine was completely white underneath all my base colors.

Step Three: Paint, Detail, more Paint


Now it’s time for the fun part. I haven’t completed all the detail work of my cooler, only on one side because it is tedious work, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete your cooler. Paint your base coats first and then put a layer of modge podge, then add your details. If you are good at art (props to you) go at it. If you are like me, I used paint pens, transfer paper, and modge podge to make everything look as professional as possible.


Step Four: Sealing it Up


Once you are completely finished, you want to make sure that you use a sealant so that your paint does not peal.



Extra tips:

·      Incorporate the event into your cooler design

·      Think about the brands your date likes and his hobbies

·      Use his fraternity letters (and your sorority letters too!)



Finding a date to Formal is easy, but making a cooler can be difficult so make sure you give yourself plenty of time and creative space.