There are some days when the project pieces I purchase leave others scratching their head. Enter Cosco bar cart from Salvation Army purchased for $3.99.
I knew with a thorough scrubdown and a new paint job this little guy would look amazing. The black detail on the handles was what drew me in and I could immediately see it with a fresh color combination instead of faux wood grain. And even though the main tool was elbow grease, this is an extremely easy piece anyone can do.
Steel wool, grade 1 for sanding rust, grade 00 for light sanding
3 cans of spray paint in coordinating colors
1. I started off aggressively sanding with grade 1 wherever there was rust, then sanding with steel wool grade 00 over all the shelves. Make sure to remove ALL the rust, because even if you buy primer to cover rust, there’s still a chance the rust will continue to eat away at the metal and you will be back to step one in a few years. I don’t care if the spray paint says it will suffocate the rust until 500 years after the apocalypse.
2. Wash the entire cart with a rag and water with a few drops of dish soap. Then let it sit out in the sun and completely dry.
3. Mask off all of the handles with newspaper. Unless you want to paint them. Mine were in pretty great condition and I wanted to leave them as-is. If you can get your bar cart to come apart, by all means do so. My bolts were incredibly difficult to losen and masking it off was easier.
4. Paint all of the shelves with primer. I used Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Primer Spray.
5. Mask off two shelves, and paint the remaining exposed shelf in light, even coats. Follow the directions on the can for recoating and drying times. I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch. It gave me really even coats, better than when I have used Krylon spray paints. Don’t get me started.
6. Wait for the painted shelf to dry, then cover with newspaper. Remove the newspaper from your next shelf, paint, and so on.
The key here is to paint with light, even coats and allow plenty of drying time. Once everything has dried and you remove the newspaper, do a happy dance while drinking a Zima. It will be so rewarding after your two hours of hard work. That’s how I celebrated.
It’s great for storing barware and serving platters, and handy because if there’s a large dining party it can be rolled to another room. I just love the contrasting colors with a vintage feel. So much better than rusty woodgrain. Be on the lookout for Cosco bar carts at thrift stores and don’t be intimidated by their ugliness.