Plaid Christmas Decor with a Faux Skotch Kooler

Plaid Christmas Decor with a Faux Skotch Kooler

For many years now, I’ve admired the look of a vintage Skotch Kooler. It works so wonderfully as plaid Christmas decor, but I rarely find them at local antiques shops. I did, however, find a red Thermos cooler while thrifting earlier this year, and an idea began to form.

Thermos cooler at the thrift store for upcycling into plaid Christmas decor or Christmas plaid decor

What if I created my own version of a Skotch Kooler on this beverage cooler? What if I stenciled a similar pattern with the buffalo plaid and plaid shirt stencils by Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils?

But I had one hang up – stenciling on the smooth plastic of the Thermos cooler. I had stenciled on a cooler once before and the stenciling turned out a bit fuzzier than I would have liked.

So, I decided to experiment with some clear primer on the smooth plastic surface. Would it help my stencil lines to be crisp and clear? There was only one way to find out!

Clear primer to use on a plastic jug or thermos cooler to make stenciling look sharp

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

All stencils used in this tutorial have been provided to me free of charge by Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils; however, all opinions are my own.

Faking a Skotch Kooler for Plaid Christmas Decor

As I mentioned before, I started by giving the Thermos cooler a healthy coverage with clear primer. It didn’t change the appearance of my cooler as it was perfectly clear, but it was definitely a matte finish.

Next, I gathered up my stenciling supplies, including the Buffalo plaid stencil from Old Sign Stencils (affiliate link). As you can see, I’ve used it before on a couple of projects.

Using a vinyl stencil in Buffalo plaid on a thermos cooler to make plaid Christmas decor

I taped the stencil to the cooler and stippled on some black latex paint.

Stenciling the Buffalo plaid on a thermos cooler to create plaid Christmas decor or Buffalo check decor

When all was said and done, I removed the stencil and was amazed – the clear primer had done EXACTLY what I had wanted. My stenciling was crisp and clear, even on a smooth plastic surface!

My experiment was a rousing success!

But that was only one half of my experiment – I still needed to add the yellow lines of a classic Skotch Kooler to complete my plaid Christmas decor.

And to do that, I used the Plaid Shirt Stencil from Old Sign Stencils (affiliate link; which I had never used before). I also grabbed some yellow craft paint and a smaller stencil brush, too.

Old Sign Stencils in Buffalo check and plaid shirt on a thermos cooler for Plaid Christmas decor

Just as before, I carefully taped the stencil to the cooler with painter’s tape and began to add the yellow plaid. But, then…

The doorbell rang.

Which startled me.

My hand moved.

And one of my plaid lines ended up thicker as a result.

Clearly I need a “Careful Crafting Inside; Do Not Ring Bell” sign on my door. But I was committed to moving forward – goof or no goof.

Christmas Plaid Decor with a Thermos Cooler and Old Sign Stencils

Anyway…in the end, my goof up didn’t really matter. My Christmas plaid decor idea was ultimately a success. Both stencils worked brilliantly to give me that Skotch Kooler look that I love!

Getting the look of a Skotch Cooler or Plaid Christmas decor with vinyl stencils in Buffalo plaid

After I finished stenciling all the way around (avoiding the handle), I sprayed the whole thing down with a matte top coat.

I added a little water inside the cooler and filled it with evergreen branches from my yard. Which counts as yard work in my book!

Buffalo check decor with a thermos cooler and Old Sign Stencils in Buffalo plaid and plaid shirt

And just like that, I had a nice large piece of plaid Christmas decor to add to my collection. It may not be a true Skotch Kooler, but it definitely scratches that itch!

Even with my doorbell-goof, I just love it! It coordinates swimmingly with my small Thermos collection. I just love creating Buffalo check decor or plaid decor with those Old Sign Stencils (affiliate link)!

And if you enjoy vintage Christmas decorations as much as I do, then you’ll also love my Christmas snow globes made with old jars and retro Christmas decor!

Snowglobes or snow globes and vintage Christmas decorations in antique mason jars

Craft on!


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Using the vinyl stencils in Buffalo plaid to create a Skotch Kooler as vintage Christmas Decorations

Rustic Decor or Plaid Decor with Buffalo Check and Plaid Shirt designs from Old Sign Stencils by Funky Junk Interiors


  1. Barbara Booth says

    Looks like the real thing. Great Job 🙂

  2. Sarah, you never cease to amaze! I love this!

  3. Carmen Montmarquet says

    You did a fabulous job! I love that plaid too!

  4. I never saw a Skotch Kooler but I have now. Your collection is so Kool.

  5. It looks amazing!!! You have great ideas.

  6. Wendy Oyler says

    It looks terrific! So cute! I didn’t know there was a clear primer, that is great information!! Love the snow globes too. ❤️

  7. Tammy Harris says

    Oh Sadie…this is fabulous! I just love it!!

  8. vickie l obrien says

    Sadie, I am always impressed by your re-purpose and upcylce projects — you are an inspiriation!!

  9. So beautiful! Great job!

  10. Wooooaaaa,,,,,,,,, girl, what a brilliant vision and execution on this plaid cooler! I just love it and it looks perfect in your vignette.

  11. Stephanie Mendel says

    Wow! Great job! Wish my “doorbell interruption” crafts turned out so cute!😁

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      No matter how many times I do it, stenciling makes me nervous/anxious! Especially on this project when the black buffalo check had worked like a charm and the yellow plaid was the last step.

  12. Mary Loveland says

    Really cute Sadie! Glad there are folks like you to save those cool patterns and also to show us how to duplicate! Thank you

  13. Oh my gosh… what a cool project! And I’m going to be looking into that primer because your results are outstanding! So cool and original!!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you!! It made such a huge difference – in fact, I had a “project fail” on plastic last year, but I kept the things I was stenciling. Will try the primer on them this year now! (and when I was searching for it, it looked like some auto parts shops sold it, too…in case Canadian Amazon comes up short).

  14. Love it! Would never have known it was an upcycle! Plaid is such a great design for Christmas! Nice job!

  15. Great job, Sarah! I pinned this. I just sold a vintage Skotch cooler to purge storage, but still love the look.

  16. Donna Gonzalez says

    What a great DIY project. I share your love of Skotch plaid thermoses, lunch boxes, picnic sets, etc.

  17. Amazing! You are sooooo talented!

  18. Amazed as always. You certainly have a knack for creating. Good job!

  19. So clever !!

  20. Oh my goodness – it’s perfect!! I just love it. Well done you!!! (By the way, LOVE the new photo of you on the site – gorgeous!)

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you so very much – on both counts! I had a photo shoot recently because I needed an author photo for the back of my book. 🙂

  21. Amazing makeover I thought it was the real deal! Love the green bottle too where did you find that?
    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Ps. Please share this on my site at the You’re The Star blog hop

  22. This is SO creative!! Turned out amazing and I learned about clear primer so thank you!!

  23. Oh how CUTE!!! You did a great job!

  24. Karolyn Love says

    Sadie, I truthfully thought you had found a Skotch Cooler before I read your post!!! It looks perfect…you did an amazing job!! Love your collection and the snow globes, too! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  25. First off, you qualify for an award for even attempting to stencil a non-flat surface! I bow down to you! You really rocked this project Sarah, and showed the masses how amazing a stencil really can turn out. Fabulous!

    I’ve featured this project in this weekend’s DIY Salvaged Junk Projects 503… thanks for bringing it over! 🙂

  26. LMAO about the potential sign – the struggle is real! Your thrift store cooler looks like the real thing and when I saw your vignette photos on social media, I assumed that it was. Stored the clear primer tip in the ole noggin, thanks 🙂

  27. Knocked it out of the park with this one, Sarah! Adorable:)


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