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Create Chalkboard Drink Coolers

06/10/14, by Megan Steenson

Galvanized steel tubs might seem old-fashioned, but you’ll be happy to know that these versatile vessels can have fun uses, too. They work great for keeping drinks on ice at outdoor get-togethers or become unique side tables when flipped over. For an added touch of whimsy, we painted our tubs with Rust-Oleum Chalk Board paint, so they could display messages to fit any occasion.

Start by selecting a heavy-gauge galvanized steel tub that has a corrugated bottom, so it’s sturdy enough to handle a full load of ice and drinks. Red Hill General Store has hefty tubs in round, square, and oval shapes in a variety of sizes. Retail stores suck as Tractor Supply Company, are also good sources for heavy-duty tubs.

Paint won’t stick to the zinc coating on galvanized steel unless you take some special steps. Start by roughening the areas that you want to paint with 240-grit sandpaper. Then thoroughly wash the entire tub with an ammonia-based cleaner.

Next, use tape to mask off where you want bare steel to show. Brush an exterior latex primer on all the areas that will be painted. When it’s dry, apply masking tape over the tub’s natural ridges where stripes will be. Then brush on two coats of chalkboard paint.

Paint Colorful Accents

Painted Chalkboard Cooler

When your chalkboard paint is completely dry, remove the masking tape from the tub’s ridges to reveal the primer coat (photo 1). Next, brush on paint colors that suit your space. Just tape off the chalkboard areas before adding the colors (photo 2). Finish your chalkboard cooler by peeling off the tape as soon as the paint has set up (photo 3). The edges will be cleaner than if the paint has completely dried!


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