Home ProjectsInterior Trash to Treasure: Bar Cart Refinish

Trash to Treasure: Bar Cart Refinish

by Haylie

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I am quite the frugal gal. Nothing gets me excited like finding a deal or making something out of nothing. This project was the perfect example. I had been looking for a bar cart for our kitchen for some time but I really was not interested in pouring a lot of money into it. I searched and searched until as fate would have it, I drove by a poor, battered little bar cart that had been abandoned by the side of the road…. IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! Score!!! It was an excellent happy accident.

I’m not sure how long this piece had been sitting out by the road but it was mostly solid wood and had it’s fair share of mold on it.  So upon getting it back to the house, the very first thing that I did was to sand it down and get all the dirt and grime off.  I used 80 grit sand paper, to get the bulk of the mold off, then used 150 to smooth out the surface, and 220 to finish it off. Stair stepping the sand paper like this will give you are really great, smooth and even canvas to work with. I removed the existing casters (because they just looked gross) with the intention of finding “really cool industrial” ones. Next, I noticed that the wire basket and wine holder had some rust spots on it so I took a wire brush to it and tried to smooth it out as much as possible. Here’s what it looked like after I was done sanding.

Once I had my blank slate I was ready to get started with my primer. I used Rustoleum spray primer. The dry time for this primmer is not very long, typically 10 mins until dry to touch but 30 mins between coats. Once everything was dry I brought the main piece inside and started painting in the middle of my kitchen, where all my furniture and cabinet painting happens. This is what happens when you are in love with long cure furniture paint but don’t have a garage… You sacrifice your home to your project of the day. 😉

I had a bunch of success with Benjamin Moore’s Enamel furniture paint when I refinished my master bathroom vanity, so I went back and got my paint colors. The space in my kitchen is rather limited so I decided that I should make the piece match or resemble my cabinets in an effort to get this piece to blend into its atmosphere.  I was going to paint the base white to match my white cabinets, and the top black to match my black granite counter tops.  I also planned to distress the black top so that the warm wood would show through and tie into the warm wood on our island that we got from IKEA. Check our my House Tour for current photos of my kitchen.

I used a foam roller and a paint brush and started painting the base. Benjamin Moore’s furniture paint has a long cure time of 24 hours. I like to think that’s when the magic happens… You know, little furniture paint elves come and smooth out brush strokes and blemishes while you’re sleeping. It’s a pain in the butt when you have a short timeline but it is so worth it. The enamel in the paint continues to harden over time so the longer it sits the harder it gets! This just blows me away… I am totally nerding out right now… but can you blame me? It’s just so freaking cool! #DIYnerd.

I put two coats of paint on the base and wood shelves. For the top I only applied one coat of the black paint. While the base, drawers and shelves dried I took the wire basket and wine rack outside and spray painted them black.

The one coat of paint that I put on the top, I still let it dry the full 24 hours. Afterwards, I used 0000 steel wool to buff out any blemishes (going with the grain) and removed some of the paint to pull some of the wood back through. I was actually very happy with the paint and it’s ability to withstand this kind of distressing. It was also really nice that even when distressed the paint still hardens and has acted like a tough protecting barrier to this piece. I put the whole piece back together. With the exception of drawer pulls, casters and a towel rack, my bar cart was basically done.

I found some distressed pulls at ace hardware and created a towel rack out of 1/2″ thick galvanized pipe. I used two flanges, two 90 degrees angles each with a male and female end, and one 8″ pipe. I assembled the handle and spray painted it black to match the hardware and the wire baskets.

This whole time I had been working on this project I had been searching for those “really cool industrial” casters in my down time… turns out there are about a million different sizes, mounts, shapes, and kinds of casters. I found ones I liked, but they didn’t fit on the legs. I found ones that fit on the legs but I hated how they looked. Our 90% completed bar cart sat in our kitchen, 4″ shorter than it was supposed to be, without wheels while I was in the search.  This went on for weeks… finally, with nothing left to loose, I took the old casters outside gave them a good scrubbing with that wire brush, taped off the rubber wheels and spray painted the metal black. They were perfect! I still wanted steel industrial casters but since I couldn’t find any to fit this very specific sized cart, the newly refinished wheels would be juuuuuust fine.

It is one of the first things I see when I walk in our house and I love how it all turned out. I am also thrilled with how much additional storage it provides us. I’d love to know what you think about this transformation by leaving a comment in the section below.

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