Bar Cart Makeover #OperationDIY

2:34 PM

If you have Pinterest, then you might have stumbled across photos of a bar cart. These generally have various liquors, glasses, and fancy straws. I absolutely fell in love with the idea!

I was helping me Aunt go through her storage shed when what did I spy with my little eye over in the corner? This awesome cart! Sure it's totally rusty, but I saw potential. She kindly gave it to me and I lugged that thing back to my place. After consulting with one of my friends (who is an expert on things like this) he decided to give me some guidance on how to get this baby back to looking awesome!

So him and I went to Lowe's to grab all the supplies I would need. I already had the spray paint, so I picked up some sealant, steel wool, sand paper, plastic, and painter's tape. I kept going back and forth on how I wanted to paint it. I decided on these 2 colors - white and an almost aqua soft blue shade. Then I decided I wanted to put some stripes on it to really snazz it up. So I finally decided on a color scheme and started working.

So we first started off by using the steel wool all over every surface (I took a break to snap a pic). This step didn't take very long. Between my friend and I it took us maybe 15 minutes. The purpose of this step is to make sure there aren't any previous paint flakes anywhere and of course to remove as much rust as possible. Once we finished that step we used a damp cloth to wipe it all down.

Next step was to use sandpaper. I ended up getting a few kinds - coarse, medium, and fine. I started off with the coarse and like the previous step, I just sanded every inch of it. This took about another 15-20 minutes. I then took a damp cloth and wiped it down to remove all the flecks and dirt and stuff. Onto the final prep step. I used the medium grade sandpaper and you guessed it - I went over the entire thing once again. The rust keeps getting removed, but it also provides a smooth surface so you won't see any bumps or ridges or anything. Also the paint can adhere better. Afterwards I took a damp cloth yet again to remove everything.

Here comes the fun part, using the spray paint. Well, we went back and forth on what would be the best way to do this. He decided to first paint the trays the blue color. Now, this would have been so much easier if I could take this cart apart. Originally I thought all I needed was a flat head screwdriver. Well on the backs there are bolts with clasps which of course are also totally rusted over. I did not have the tools to remove them. So this was a bit harder than it had to be. However, we went over the 3 trays with the first coat.

This stuff dries pretty quickly so we went over it again with another coat to make sure everything was even. So far so good, although we started losing the day light. So it was left outside over night to dry and await the sunshine again.

Today I went outside to start taping off my stripes. I know I should have measured, but since there are going to be things set on it (and also there was a bee that would not buzz off) I just eyeballed it. I ended up with 3 stripes on the top tray and 2 on the bottom. These stripes will be white along with the railings of the cart.

I did notice, however, that as I was adjusting the painter's tape it was ripping some of the paint off. Really annoyed me, but I brushed that off and thought I could do some touch ups if needed. What I thought would be my final step, I started to paint the white sections.

And this is where my project currently ends - until I buy more supplies.

Like a goober, I ran out of paint! I wasn't able to completely cover everything that needed white. So this project is on pause until I get myself some more. However, I noticed that the finished look wasn't exactly what I wanted. Even though I got all the surfaces really smooth and even, the rust is still dark and is thicker in some places. So I'm not super pleased with how it was looking.

I decided it wouldn't hurt to just try to paint by hand with a brush some white (which I have tons of acrylic paint lying around). I'm not sure how acrylic will do on a metal cart, but I'm hoping since it's more for decoration and that I have sealant spray to cover it with that it'll be okay. I just wanted to see how it would look. Well, it looked so much better! It covered the rust better and I was impressed. So I decided to continue. It's too dark now to continue working, but tomorrow I'm going to see how it looks. Now, I'm not a fan of being able to see brush strokes on something. So I think I will go back over it with spray paint to give it an even finish.

I'm not 100% sure, but I'm thinking that if I had brushed on paint first then the spray paint on top, it would have looked so much better. Oh well, I had an extra step. So everything is going to be painted with a layer of acrylic paint. I'll let that dry. Then I'll spray paint over it again to remove the brush strokes. Final step will be spraying it all down with a glossy sealant. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll turn out how I want. This is my first time ever doing anything like this, especially involving rust and metal - I'm a wood kind of gal. Be on the lookout for an updated post with the final product! I'll have my final verdict on the order of steps involving the paint in case you'd like to try it as well.

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  1. This turned out great!! I tried to freshen up some of my metal furniture in my classroom by using this spray paint over the summer. It did not turn out very well.


All opinions are 100% my own. I am not paid nor given free products for review unless specifically stated in the post.