Bar Cart DIY

The bar cart above may be one of my best finds at the Burlington Flea. Last year, on one of the many trips that Carly and I made to the Burlington Flea, bar carts were all over the place! Fortunately, I was on the hunt for one, but considering there were so many options I was being pretty picky. There were quite a few in a similar style to the one I found above, but not in near as good a shape, no gold legs and honestly a bit overpriced. We stumbled upon this little cart half way through and I fell in love with the gold legs, shape & the price! Only $10 for that beauty! A few weeks ago, I posted about using it for a floral bar cart for my back porch, but I skipped the step on how to transform an "ucky" 1950's brown shelving into something a bit more polished & beautiful! 

I am a BIG fan of spray paint! I love how you can use a matte or polished finish and you can't see your paint brush strokes, and the paint is pretty cheap so its not a huge investment. Tyler swears that I just buy things so I can spray them... I can't say that I don't do this! But with all my spraying experience, I thought I would walk you through a few important steps.

1. Set-up your station. This is pretty crucial for getting a nice undisturbed finish. If you lay it out in the grass you are bound to have a bits of grass, dirt and any other natural particles that might blow your way. Ideally I would spray in the basement, but we have NO ventilation down there so that isn't really an option, but if you can go for it! I do however, often clean out a space inside our garage and spray inside. Keep in mind that you want to make sure you have some sort of surface that you can set your pieces on. I like to use cardboard, medical sheets or newspaper. Once you find your thing, keep it tucked away for your future projects!

2. Gather your spray paint! I have used about every brand of spray paint you can imagine. Once you get your favorite colors keep a record somewhere. I have even done a few studies in my favorite golds that you can check out here!

  • I am a pretty big fan of Lowe's Valspar white primer/paint. It has a great nozzle that is easy to spray and usually is pretty smooth. I do like to use the
  • Rust-Oleam protective enamel for outdoor metal items. So far I haven't had any trouble with chipping or rusting thanks to this spray paint!
  • Find your color! This I think is the trickiest part of using spray paint. I don't know how many times I buy a spray paint and I'm not happy with the actual color. In fact, that happened with this particular piece. The Ace spray paint above was what I thought I wanted - a deep, rich navy. That's what the lid looked like anyways. However, when I sprayed the shelves it was more a cobalt blue. Not that it wasn't pretty, but NOT what I was going for. So I went back to the store and bought a more expensive brand - Liquitex in Prussian Blue. A bit pricier spray paint, but totally worth it for the beautiful color that I got!

3. Prep your pieces. These particular shelves really didn't have any chipping and I liked the high gloss smooth finish, so I didn't sand before priming. Depending on the condition you may need to sand. In this case, I just went straight to priming. Don't over do the primer. You don't need to have it completely covered in white. In the image above, there are quite a few splotches. That is  perfectly okay, just make sure you get that first coat on.

4. Once you have primed, start spraying your color. There is no doubt that you will have to do at least 2 coats, so don't try to cover every inch in the first coat. Take your time and try and get as even of a coat as possible. Remember to keep the spray can about 6"-8" from the piece and don't spray constantly in one spot or it will get globby & drip! If you are in a space where there is wind, try to work with the wind. Unlike house paint, you don't have to wait too long to spray your second coat. I usually give it an hour or so if I'm not in a rush so that the piece doesn't get tacky.

5. For this particular piece, I actually added a Rust-Oleam enamel to protect the metal from the natural elements. I used a matte finish for the shelves and a gloss finish for the gold legs. In the pictures, you can tell that the legs have a few scratches here and there, but the enamel stops all erosion and protects what you have. I highly recommend this for any outdoor use!

6. Now just to be patient! Once you have done all your spraying, give your piece time to dry. Ideally, I like to give mine about a day before I start moving it and using it. Of course, depending on your spray station you may have to move it sooner, but try to leave it as long as possible in one spot.

7. Just enjoy your piece!

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I think that about covers it on the spray paint! The finished bar cart is above, and it has been about a year and I personally think that the cart still looks brand new and does well with water & wipe downs! ! I have quite a few more pieces that I want to spray this summer, including 6 metal chairs for our back porch. I need to do some serious sanding to them as well as recovering the chair cushions, but I am hoping to get those finished up soon and on the blog as well! Hope you have as much luck spray painting as I have had, and that you enjoy the easy transformation! Don't you love summer projects?

Happy Spraying!

-a.