Things You'll Need
5-gallon water cooler
Sewing tape measure
A cover for a 5-gallon water cooler provides both a decorative exterior and an insulation for the cooler contents. A quilted fabric provides the best insulating properties. Select a material that will hold up well, such as a denim or twill. Use cotton or cotton/polyester fabrics for decorative purposes only. Allow yourself about 2 hours to complete the cover, including measuring, sewing and pressing. Adding decorations such as lace, ribbon or applique will take additional time.
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Measure the height of the water cooler and the circumference of the largest area. Add 2 inches to each dimension. Cut a rectangular piece of quilted fabric to the dimensions and set aside. For example, if the cooler is 18 inches high with a circumference of 36 inches, cut a piece of rectangular fabric 20 by 38 inches.
Place the bottom of the water cooler on a piece of newspaper. Trace around the bottom circle. Draw another circle around this circle, 1 inch larger all the way around. Cut out the paper pattern.
Place the paper pattern on the quilted fabric and pin into place. Cut out the circle. Set it aside.
Fold the rectangular piece of quilted fabric together so the front side of the fabric is inside the fold. Match the raw edges of the fabric together, and sew a half-inch seam along the length. The sewn edge will be the height of the cover. Press the seam open with the iron. The 20 by 38-inch piece of fabric will now be folded to form a 20 by 19-inch cylinder.
Pin the circle of fabric into one end of the cylinder. Make sure the front side of the fabric is facing the inside of the cylinder.
Sew a half-inch seam around the pinned edge. Clip the seam every half inch. Clipping the seam means to make a straight cut from the raw edge of the seam to 1/16 inch away from the sewing. This allows the seam to spread around the circle shape and prevents puckering. Press the seam towards the cylinder.
Turn the raw edge up 1/2-inch to begin the hem. Pin the fabric into place. Press the fold. Remove the pins.
Turn the 1/2-inch pressed hem up 1 inch. Pin the fabric into place. Sew the hem into place. Remove the pins, and press the bottom edge.
Revers the water cooler cover so the seams are on the inside of the cover. Place the cover on the cooler.