Mailbag: How To DIY Customize Your Gear Cheap

TCU Beverage Cooler Were you with us on Monday when we told you about the email we got from Neil the avid TCU fan and tailgater? We asked him to share the details of how he customizes his tailgating gear even though his school is not well represented in the collegiate licence arena. Here are his hints and tips on how to customize just about anything with a little creativity and not a lot of money.

One thing Horned Frogs fans don’t lack is passion for their team. One thing we do lack is stuff to buy with our school logo on it! Sometimes School Spirit has to meet DIY.

Inspired by the great custom tailgating grills I have seen on this site, I decided to take it a step further. There are a couple of ways to get the job done. One way is to get creative with what is already out there like flags, stickers and pennants. These items make raw materials with logos already on them. I can’t tell you how many bumper stickers I’ve cut up to make custom logo stickers.

Another great source of custom graphics is the Tailgate packs. For really custom sizes and custom graphics in exactly the sizes and shapes you want you can have vinyl cut at a sign shop. I happen to have a vinyl plotter. I am not a sign maker though. I just happened to run across one on craigslist for really cheap and grabbed it. Don’t think you need a vinyl plotter to do this. You can cut the shapes freehand, it is really tedious to get right and limits you to how much detail you can put into your design, but it’s definitely possible.

Sources of graphics can come from the internet, but if you are going to have them cut at a sign shop, most likely you will want to get vector graphics as these can be cut by the sign software. is a great website for graphics. A good deal of schools are in there as well as all kinds of other logos.

Once you choose your graphics, it’s just matter of choosing the right sizes and placement. My rule is as long as it looks good to you, that’s all that matters.

In my photos you can see how some stickers in different sizes and shapes can be added to off-the-shelf things to really make them show your school spirit. I’ve had an old stainless steel beverage cooler for a while. I decided to bring it to the next tailgate but it needed to get into the school spirit. Taking measurements, I cut the logos and graphics so they would be in good proportions where I wanted them. What was once an old cooler has got some new life now. I’ve taken the idea to all kinds of stuff, cheap folding chairs from IKEA for tailgate seating and even a BBQ tool set.

All in all, it’s only a few more bucks but really adds something to the whole tailgating experience.

Hope that’s at least a little insight into customizing on the cheap. Thanks again to Dave and the crew for keeping those great ideas coming


Actually Neil, we are the ones saying “thanks” to you. Great insight on how to DIY customize just about anything in your tailgating kit.

If you have some great tailgating ideas that you think tailgating nation would appreciate and want to know, feel free to contact us and fill us in on how you don’t just tailgate, but tailgate better.