I picked up this old cooler at a garage sale for $3, which was a pretty good deal even though it was in pretty rough shape. Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work!
What you'll need:
-Rust Remover (If your cooler is rusty)
-Sandpaper (Various grits: 80, 150, 400, 1000, 2000, etc.)
-Screwdriver (To remove any hardware from your cooler)
-Bodywork Hammer and Dolly (If your cooler is dented)
-Sanding Block (A small piece of 2x4 will work fine.)
Step 1: Remove Hardware, Plastic Inserts and Insulation
Grab your screwdriver and just take everything off of your cooler (Hinges, latch, handles, etc.). Then, remove the plastic inserts by just pulling them out and also take any insulation (styrofoam) out at the same time. Also, if your cooler has a drain somewhere, remove that as well. It's a good idea to put all of the hardware in ziploc bags or containers and set them aside somewhere so you don't lose them.
Step 2: Strip All Of The Paint Off
This step is the messiest and most time consuming. Get out your gloves, paint stripper and a paint brush. Put on your rubber gloves and liberally brush on the paint stripper to any areas with paint on them and wait until all of the paint starts to bubble. Then get your scraper and start scraping all of the paint off. Most of it should come off pretty easily, but you may have to use some steel wool to get any stubborn areas clean. After all of your paint is off, rinse the cooler off with water and dry it with an old towel or t-shirt.