before and after bar cart

When my cousin, Tom, moved to Minnesota, he left behind his beloved BBQ and a somewhat wobbly bar cart. Time, weather, and a little bit of neglect (sorry, T-Cat!) left this sweet little piece of functional furniture a bit sad and almost unusable: the doors had fallen off, the pull-out cutting board had warped so much it no longer slid out, and the plastic wheels no longer rolled. My husband begged me to throw it out.

Enter DIY stick-to-itiveness!

I knew its potential, so, knowing my upcycled curbside chairs bench would welcome a friend, I applied the same design to our cart. I think it worked out splendidly and now we not only use it every chance we get, we’re proud and punch to show it off! Now, let’s party!

From curb to refurb - upcycled deck chairs bench

From the curb to refurb – these once separate deck chairs were transformed into a fully-functional and fun bench. It even reclines!

See Also: Bar Carts Get a Second Shot Makeover


• ruler

• level

• sand paper (fine – P120 and coarse – P60)

• hand sander and sanding block

• painters tape

• paint brushes

• outdoor paint (I used Glidden’s “Red Delicious”)

• indoor/outdoor poly/stain (I used Varathane’s “American Walnut”)

• outdoor polyurethane

Optional Accessories:

• (1) 12 in. x 1 in. steel cut pipe

• (1) 2 in. x 1 in. steel nipple

• (1) 1 in. x 1 in. iron elbow

• (1) 1 in. iron cap

• (1) 1 in. floor flange

• mountable bottle opener

• hooks

• (4) 3 – 4 in. casters

• wood screws

Bar Cart Refurbishing How-To:

1. Wipe and clean the cart, then remove all the hardware – this seems like a no-brainer step, but, it really makes an overall difference in the process of sanding, staining and painting your piece.

Bar cart needing a cleaning

Bar cart needing a cleaning.

2. Sand all surfaces. For the inside, simply hand sand to roughen.

 3. Measure, then tape off your lines. You can use any design or pattern you wish…go nuts!

Measure your lines

Measure your lines, mark and tape.

4. Apply your paint.

Apply the paint

Apply the paint.

5. Apply your stain. Allow all treated surfaces to cure for at least 12 hours.

Apply your stain

Apply your stain.

6. Apply your polyurethane. I applied three coats every two hours.

Note: there are many schools of thought regarding the cure time and if, in fact, one should sand between coats. The general rule is this: if you wait two hours, you don’t need to sand (there is a chemical bond w/in this timeframe). If you wait 24 hours, you should use a fine grain sand paper (220 or finer) and gently sand between coats.

Apply your polyurethane

Apply your polyurethane.

7. Attach your wheels and accessories. Again, what you add is all up to you! Think about what you might need and make it happen!

Attach the new casters

Attach the new casters.

Attach your plumber's pipe paper towel holder

Attach your plumber’s pipe paper towel holder.

Vintage Coca Cola bottle opener

Vintage Coca Cola bottle opener.

Screw in your hooks

Screw in your hooks.

The Refurbished Bar Cart Results!

Even the back looks great

Your barbecuing tools are now within easy reach. Even the back looks great!

Don’t forget e-ver-y surface of your refurbished piece. You’ll have impressive results if you do!

Added serving and prepping surface

Added serving and prepping surface.

By sanding the back of the cutting board, as well as the slot, I was able to add valuable serving and prepping real estate!

The shelves are handy for keeping dinnerware, food supplies and other items organized

The shelves are handy for keeping dinnerware, food supplies and other items organized.

A slight pop of color makes this bar cart fiesta-ready!

Stylish bar car complete

Stylish bar car complete.

We’re now ready to par-tay!

Brugal Extra Dry Rum

Brugal Extra Dry Rum – uh, yum!

My cousin, Heide created a fabulous summer cocktail for our “It’s Been a Peachy Summer” party. She, of course, had to use peaches and Brugal Extra Dry rum! Here is the recipe:

  • 1/2 lime (large, – cut in 1/4” pieces)
  • 1/8 fresh ginger (” x 1” slice, – cut in 1/8” pieces)
  • 8 mint leaves (large)
  • 21/2 tsps organic sugar
  • 1 peaches (medium ripe, – pit removed and cut in 1” pieces)
  • 3 ozs Brugal Extra Dry Rum
  • 3/4 oz Peach Liqueur 
  • 1/2 tsp bitters (peach)
  • carbonated water (or club soda)
  • 2 peach slices (as garnish)

It was SO refreshing and flavorful! Ya-mahn!

The bar cart adds function and style to your party

The bar cart adds function and style to your party.

I even made a couple cart towels that coordinated with my upcycled beach towel patio pillows!


Now it’s Your Turn!

Tell us what you think about this cart and how you might have improved it yourself!

All photography by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly

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