Stenciled Drink Tub With LED Lights

Introduction: Stenciled Drink Tub With LED Lights

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

The basic steel tub is a classic container. It's super handy at parties for holding lots of ice and drinks. But instead of just leaving it bare it's a lot more fun to stencil on a bit of text and, why not, toss in some RGB LEDs for good measure.

Step 1: Supplies

 - Blue and black Rust Protector Krylon spray paint
 - spray adhesive
- painter's tape
- x-acto blade
 - cutting mat or cardboard
 - scraps of paper
 - respirator (recommended)

Step 2: All About the Stencil

The painting here is all done with one PDF that contains three different stencils. You work from the outside in so the first cut covers the entire word. The second stencil covers the letters and not the shadows. The third stencil is just for the small bits of shadow inside two of the letters.

Each stencil also has two triangles at the bottom. These are for registration. In other words, they help you line up all the stencils so that the result looks right.

To cut the stencils, I'd recommend using an X-acto blade along with a cutting mat. If not, a razor and a piece of cardboard to cut on will work as well.

NOTE: This stencil has been slightly warped upwards to fit the slight cone shape of the metal tub.

Step 3: Applying the First Layer

Line up the first stencil on the metal tub to see where you want it to go. With that figured out, put down some painter's tape behind where the registration triangles will go.

Now, spray a light coat of spray adhesive onto the back of the first stencil and wait at least 5 minutes for it to dry a little bit.

With the spray adhesive more tacky than wet, press it onto the tub, making sure that it's level.

Attach a few more pieces of paper to prevent overspray and then apply 3 light coats of black spray paint. Let the paint dry at least 5 minutes between each coat.

For best results, let black paint dry overnight before the next step.

Step 4: Stencil 2

Apply spray adhesive onto the back of the second stencil like the first one. A light coat and wait 5 minutes at least. When applying this stencil, use the two triangles to help line it up.

With that in place, lightly press flat, and then apply 3 light coats of blue spray paint. Wait at least 5 minutes between coats.

Again, wait a full day for it to dry for best results.

Step 5: Stencil 3

You know the drill by now.
  1. Spray adhesive
  2. Let dry
  3. Line up with triangles
  4. Lightly press flat
  5. Apply 3 light coats of black spray paint.
With that done, pull the stencil off and you're good to go!

Step 6: Drop in the Lights

These lights are a 5' waterproof strip of RGB LEDs from Elemental LED. They can change color with a few different patterns and can be controlled with a remote. The best for long term use for me is the slowest color-fade setting. It shows off what the lights can do and draws the least attention to itself for extended viewing.

I just dropped these lights into the tub and the effect works great. If you want a cleaner look, you can drill a hole in the side along the bottom and attach the lights that way. Use a hot glue gun to seal up the hole.

That's it, fill it up with ice and drinks and you're good to go!

Step 7: Enjoy!

Let the lights change color and grab a drink when you need one.

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