Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Vintage Cocktail Cart Upcycle

I've been wanting a cute little bar/cocktail station, but there was never any room in our previous places, so we just kept our alcohol in a kitchen island in the corner of our dining room. When I was thrifting a few weeks ago, I found an amazing/perfect condition vintage bar cart but it was a hideous green color. It was only $15 and I knew with a solid Knox naptime and a can of spray paint, I could make it look fabulous....without spending hundreds (or thousands?!) dollars on these pretties. 

one | two | three | four

For the record, that was the best thrifting/antiquing day to date. Sigh. So much good stuff! You can tell by the goofy, giddy dumb look on my face. 

In a few easy steps and hopefully only a few bucks, depending on how much you score your thrifted bar cart for, you can have your own eye-catching bar cart.

Step 1: I took it all apart, by unscrewing the nut & bolt on each corner of the trays. 
Step 2: I got my all purpose cleaner, rounded up some elbow grease went to work cleaning the tops and bottoms of the trays, as well as the metal base of the cart. 
Step 3: I used a spray paint that was primer+paint, so I didn't have to prime it. I intended on doing a light seafoam/mint color, but Chase said he liked the deeper turquoise better so I went with it. I could have lightly sanded it, but when you're dealing with something that old, I'm not sure the risk of releasing lead is a good idea. So, spray paint with nice and slow, even coats. Repeat if necessary. ((you can also spray paint the frame. I thought it would look rad a metallic gold. Chase did not, ha!))
Step 4:Take an ice cream sammy break. I mean...make sure to let the trays dry sufficiently. I got a few thumbprints on mine because we had somewhere to be and I wanted to put it together before we left ((and before Knox woke up.))
Step 5((optional)): Use a clear sealer coat.  I wanted this to be really sturdy and not scratch when a glass was dragged across it or a bottle stuck to it. However, I must have done something wrong, because it immediately started cracking. So, use at your own risk. I only did the bottom tray all the way and then decided I'd just be careful with the rest and leave it as-is. 
Step 6: Style away and fill with your favorite alcohol, simple syrups, straws etc. 

Tada!!! Here is the finished product.

Styling Tips:
1. I used a felt-bottom tray for the bottles of booze so it didn't scratch the paint. 
2. On the top, let there be plenty of open space to create your beverages. I kept it simple with a few syrups, club soda, sparkling water and finished it off with some cocktail books + flowers. 
3. I put miscellaneous glassware ((and copper mugs!)) on the middle row, but you could keep those put up safe in cabinets and put bitters, simple syrups, club sodas and such there. Up to you! It also depends on how many shelves/trays your cart has.
4. A fun addition would be an ice bucket or decanter. We're just not that fancy ;)
Elsie has a ton of great tips here for how to stock your bar cart. 

You know you've been watching too much HGTV when leaving a blog post without a before & after just seems impossible. 

And I know what you're could you keep something like this out with a one year old? Well, we don't. We have a space in a hall closet cleared out for it and we just pull it out when hosting get-togethers and what-not. Easy peasy. 



  1. Looks brilliant! I've been searching all of the local thrifting places for one of these for awhile but alas no such luck yet but you've inspired me to up the hunt! :)

  2. Ooo. I love that color! I found one with the original yellow paint on it and at the time couldn't bear to paint over it. Now I may need to.

  3. SO cute! I love the shade of blue! Nice pop.
    Allison over at Allison's Eye

  4. It looks amazing, I love the color!!! I'm still on the look out for a proper bar cart!!

  5. I love it! I've seen lots of bar cart makeovers these days and am always on the lookout for one at thrift stores. The blue turned out great on this one!


  6. Oh wow!! I really really love it! And I really love finding something that only needs a few layers of spray paint to be good as new. Spray paint I can handle....and that's about it ;)

  7. What an awesome thrift haul! Those globes...I die. Love how the cart turned out!

  8. You did great!! Mine would never turn out that well! lol!

  9. What a fabulous rehab–the cart looks fantastic!

  10. This is too cute. I absolutely love that color. I have a small, brown table in our dining room that is not practical at all. I need something with more storage. Might browse some flea market/thrift stores with spray paint in mind. :)

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