GOAL: Makeover a rusty mid-century modern three-tiered shelving unit on two wheels into an elegant outdoor bar cart for my stone patio.
On our last moving run from our South Orange house house to our Maplewood house, we thought we finally got everything. We were wrong – my husband forgot my grandmother’s mid-century modern metal bar cart. And it’s not like you can go back after closing and say, “Excuse me, may I come over and get my stuff?”
This summer I found its replacement – for 10 dollars at an estate sale. A mid-century modern shelving unit originally used as a flower pot stand, so it was covered in a thin coat of rust and a thick coat of dirt.
This piece is one of a kind, but the methods and ideas used to morph it into an outdoor cart can be used on your piece or any piece of metal furniture you want to transform!
Required Safety Gear & Advice
- A mask designed specifically for sanding fine particulates.
Anytime you do a project like this, make sure the area is well ventilated and that the ground and surrounding areas are well covered or the at least far away from anything you down want covered in dirt and rust or accidently painted.
- 1 under-the-cabinet wine bottle holder
- 1 under-the-cabinet stem holder
- 2 spray cans of desired color (I used an enamel bonze by Rust Oleum)
- Power drill
- 60–grit course sand paper
- Painter’s tape
- Power washer (optional). If you don’t have this, use your garden hose’s nozzle set to the strongest setting.
- Metal “Bar” sign (optional)
- Screws, washers, and nuts (optional)
- Beverage tub (optional)
- STOP! Put on your goggles and face mask.
- Using 60-grit course sand paper, remove the rust and old paint to smooth finish. This may take some time if the rust is thick and dense. Don’t get overwhelmed – simply do one section at a time.
- Using a power washer or your hose’s spray nozzle on it’s most powerful setting, wash the rust and dirt off.
- Check for smoothness. You are looking for a consistent smooth feel on all parts. Sand areas as needed. Rinse. Repeat.
- Attach the bottle and stemware holders. This particular structure has mesh-styled shelves. This makes attachment easy because drilling not required.
- Apply painters tape to those areas you don’t want to paint, if any. This piece has two wheels and so I covered them.
- Make sure the piece is completely clean and dry.
- Spray paint the first coat.
- Spray paint shouldn’t need to dry longer than an hour before reapplying a second coat.
- After another 24 hours, remove the painters tape and insert the beverage tub.
Move it to its location and throw a party! I love ours so much, I want to move it inside!