So I was antiquing with my mom in Stillwater earlier this summer and an old AV cart with clear acrylic wheels caught my eye. My mom said, “I have one like that in my basement.” She must have seen my eyes widen and my ears perk up, because then she said, “do you want it?” Um… yeah I do! I told her I was searching for one to use as a snack cart in the basement.

DIY Bar Cart

The cart my mom had needed a little work. The trays were loose and it was listing noticeably to the side. The olive drab color left something to be desired. It had an old extension cord screwed into one leg. But, it has clear acrylic wheels and bucket loads of potential. I knew it would make the perfect bar cart or snack for the basement.

DIY Bar Cart

The first step was to fix ‘er up. I removed the old extension cord by undoing the two small screws holding it on. Then, it was time for a little straightening. The middle and bottom shelf are attached to the legs with a screw and nut. A little tightening and she was standing straight in no time.

Now, to do something about that drab color and the not so pretty looking chrome. I wrapped the wheels in tinfoil and taped them off at the top. The rest of the curtain was destined for a new color. I gave the cart two coats of spray primer.

For the new color, I chose navy. I have been crushing on navy lately. It and charcoal gray are the perfect dark neutrals. I just don’t like black. It is too harsh. Navy and charcoal are good alternatives. With the rest of the plans I had for the cart, I knew navy was the way to go.

I used Rustoleum’s Protective Gloss Enamel spray paint in Navy. This is a little different than your regular spray paint. Since it is a gloss enamel, it takes longer in between coats and longer to cure. But, I think it was well worth the extra time for the high-gloss finish. The glossy goodness shows up best on the tray edges and legs. On the large flat surfaces on top of the trays, it doesn’t appear to be as glossy. But, the tops of the trays get covered up with goodies anyway.

DIY Bar Cart

She was looking pretty good in navy, but there was still something missing. I mean, she still looked like an AV cart. The big difference between her and a swanky bar cart was rails and handles. My solution was a bunch of long cabinet handles from Ikea.

For just under $40, I bought six short 9″ handles and four long 17″ handles. To create a railing around the top shelf, I used two short and two long handles. Not wanting to drill a bunch of holes through metal, I used E6000 glue to attach the handles. I think the glue will hold up just fine, since the rails are purely decorative.

DIY Bar Cart

I also added a rail on the bottom shelf. This time I used two short and one long handle, leaving the front edge of the shelf open.

DIY Bar Cart

DIY Bar Cart

Lastly, I added a single handle to one side of the cart. I tried to glue this one on, but gravity got the best of me before the glue fully cured. Instead, I drilled holes in the cart and used screws to secure the handle. The handle is the perfect size for a tea towel.

DIY Bar Cart

Once she was all prettied up, I had a blast styling her. Oh, and I made a complete mess of my basement. But, she turned into one super cute snack cart for the space under our photo message boards.

DIY Magnetic Photo Message Board

On the top of our new bar cart, I made a healthy drink station.  Healthy = water :)  Since my studio is in the basement and we don’t have a working kitchenette or bathroom yet, I have to go upstairs to get water.  The bar cart gave me the opportunity to change that.  The drink dispenser from my party supply cabinet is perfect for serving water in the basement.

DIY Bar Cart

DIY Bar Cart top shelf

For extra flavor and cuteness, I put out my favorite Anthropologie bowl filled with lemons.  The colors on the bowl are perfect.  The bamboo striped cutting board was a $4 steal from HomeGoods.  And, I could not resist putting out the corked glass jar full of pretty birch paper straws.


The middle shelf is snack central.  We aren’t big snackers, mostly fruits and nuts, so one shelf is enough for us.  The turquoise drawer is one of these I found at a garage sale.  It is the perfect width for popcorn packets.  The gold-dipped bowl is filled with snack packages of nuts.  And, the cookie jar is all cuteness.  It doesn’t even have cookies in it.  I might change it up and fill it with organic lollipops for the boys.

DIY Bar Cart

The bottom shelf is all for looks, well mostly.  My cute yellow lantern, another HomeGoods find, ties in really well with the photo message boards.  To make it functional, I turned it into a napkin holder.  It is stocked with cute navy dot napkins from the Mara*Mi collection at Target.  The turquoise anchor tray is from World Market.  It is just the right size to hold three big bottles of San Pellegrino…which looks pretty and tastes yummy.

DIY Bar Cart


The snack cart is just around the corner from the basement family room.  I think even once we get the nearby kitchenette finished, the snack cart will remain.  I don’t think we will ever want to give up cute and easy access to water and snacks.  And, we owe it all to mom.  Thanks for the cart!


Sharing this project here:
House of Hepworths
Living Well Spending Less
Design, Dining, and Diapers
Liz Marie Blog
Tatertots and Jello



In just 15 minutes a day for 5 days, you can refresh one room. Without spending a dime.

Start your free 5-day Decorating Do Over Challenge and get exclusive sneak peeks of my book Free Decorating.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

26 Responses to DIY Bar Cart

  1. CohoesMom5 says:

    I love the look of the cart. I think my mom has an old white one in her basement. I think I’ll ask her for it.

    Your photo trays inspired me when you posted about them and I finally did something about it. Last night, I was cleaning off my back porch in preparation for a picnic this Sunday and found an old, rusted, round pizza tray. I had been using it under a plant that was now dead. Instead of putting it into the garage with my other plant trays, I cleaned it off and started spraypainting the back edges a fun teal color. I still need to paint the front edges but I needed to let the back dry. I plan to glue a collage of pictures on the front and use it as a magnet tray in my craft area or in my daughter’s room.

    Thanks for the great ideas. Seeing your trays with pictures in the center really helped me visualize what to do with these old trays.

  2. Gloria says:

    I’m loving this! The navy was a great color choice. I see those carts from time to time and think they would make cute nightstands too, but I don’t have any room for one.
    Don’t you just love moms? Mine does that too, “oh, I have this back at the house if you want?” OF COURSE I WANT! Why would you hold back on me like that!

  3. Jamie Koenig says:

    Your cart came out very cute. I like the color you chose and throwing in hints of yellow.

  4. katrina says:

    I love the cart! I think the addition of the railing really made it! I didn’t even realize at first you attached those, they look made for each other.

  5. Welp, next time I see a cart like this that I just have to have – but don’t buy because I have no use. I can! Because now I do!

  6. Rosa Vila says:

    This bar cart is so cute and how lucky are you that your mom had one! I’m on the hunt for one at my local flea markets and vintage shops but still no luck. Love what you did and how you turned it into a snack cart!

  7. Lisa says:

    What a great idea to put handles on the cart. I love how it looks. You need to get into that basement and see what other goodies are lurking in there!

  8. Jesse says:

    That’s one of my favorite spray paints recently! I’m starting to get into the navy gold thing..

    Adding those handles makes such a difference!

    • Jackie says:

      Jesse, I almost sprayed the handles gold. I am loving navy and gold right now too. Instead, I added the gold dipped bowl on the middle shelf.

  9. Great transformation!! Love the blue color! I would LOVE to have you share this at my link party going on! New facebook follower!

  10. Oh, this is so perfect!! Not only do I love the color you chose but, the way you decorated it! SWOON! Thanks for linking up to Thrifty Thursday!

  11. Misty says:

    Nice! AND you found a great use for the vintage drawers you found at the Lions Club garage sales!

  12. What an amazing cart! You really scored and scored even bigger when you made it into this AMAZING blue snack cart. I really love it!

    I am hoping I get lucky and get my hands on one here soon or I’ll start thinking it’s personal. haha.

    hugs & kisses!

  13. The bar cart is adorable! Love the color you picked! (I’m crushing on navy as well!) I have a bar cart that is waiting for some love and I can’t wait to get started. Thanks for providing the motivation.

  14. looks great! I have a similar cart I plan on painting to put in my craft room in the next few weeks! love how you added the handles!

  15. WOW, super cute!! I love projects that go above and beyond and add a little something unexpected, like those handles. It looks very retro. You did a great job! :)

    Thrift Diving

  16. I love it! Navy is one of my favorite colors – and I’ve used Rustoleum’s Navy quite a few times and it remains my go to color when I am stumped. I love that you used cabinet handles – genius!!

  17. Denise says:

    Great idea. Love the retro look to it as well. Found you on the haven link up. Liking your FB page and following on pinterest. If you could do the same…I would appreciate. Thank you!

  18. Michelle says:

    Adorable! I love how you added the handles as rails. Brilliant idea.

  19. DesignedByBH says:

    I LOVE IT! And I really like the way you turned the lantern into a napkin holder. Great idea! Now I want a cart… :)

  20. I love the color you used and how you jazzed the cart up with Ikea handles. This is a great makeover!

  21. My mom had one in her garage, too! Here’s what my daughter and I did with it, last year:

    There’s a link in the post that shows how it looks in her room. I’m on the lookout for another old AV cart–I love them!

  22. Such a lovely DIY project! The cart looks great; love the color.
    I would add some mosaic pieces of tile for a vintage look. I recently tiled an old coffee table with Moroccan tiles and it turned out amazing.

  23. Jessica Moroney says:

    Please tell me, where is that beautiful drinks dispenser from?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *