Retro Cart Re-Do Before and After Retro Cart Re-DoThis retro cart re-do was a fun easy project, and I’m super happy with the results. I do have a couple little tricks to show you that help make this project a success. Wait til you see how different the ‘after’ looks… it really is a fun retro new life… and the perfect thing for our attic family room space loaded with interesting character and new, retro and vintage model cars.

I found this vintage metal cart on an online local garage sale site. It was $15, and the paint cost about that much too, so all in, I have around $30 for this project.

The metal woodgrain trays were in pretty rough shape… and even the chrome handles/legs were getting rusty tarnish spots on them, so I needed to prime and paint everything. tarnished chrome

First, I grabbed a piece of steel wool, steel wool sanding

and rubbed away the rough spots where the old paint was flaking, then lightly sanded the whole piece.

Next, I spray primed the whole piece…

Once the primer was dry, which was super quick, I unscrewed the whole cart, which was simple. It just took a pliers inside the shelf holding the little nut with one hand, and unscrewing the bolt on the outside with the other hand. legs primed with screws in them

I then screwed all the bolts and nuts loosely back onto the frame. That way I would paint them to match the same as the legs. primer with spray tool

Here’s the primer I used… It was a little more expensive than some choices, but since there was currently rust on the piece, I figured it’d be worth the extra couple bucks to seal that up really well.

Oh and see that dandy black handle attached to the spray can? spray nozzle tool

That’s my #1 tip for spray painting! If you’re using a standard style spray can, (you’ll see later in this post one that isn’t standard) this little spray nozzle tool is wonderful! It works great and saves sore fingertips from holding down the spray nozzle on the spray can. I highly recommend investing in one… not much of an investment, I think they are less then $5.

Oh, and before I started spraying I first removed the caster wheels off the bottom of the cart. They just pulled out of the hollow chrome legs. casters popped out

I set those aside for a little different painting later…

Now back to the chrome legs…

They do have shiny chrome spray paint in the store. I wasn’t sure how that would actually turn out, would it look like a cheap spray-painted chrome finish? So, instead, I opted for this hammered silver finish for the chrome legs of the retro cart re-do. hammered silver paint

I’ve used this style of hammered paint on a couple of different projects, either this silver color or a dark bronze color. It comes out of the can in an almost spitting action and does plug up really easy. My experience is to spray everything right away, wipe the nozzle and hope that if you have to do a 2nd coat it didn’t plug up… I’ve even had it plug up as soon as I started spraying it. But, if it works right, it really does do a cool hammered paint treatment, so I guess it’s worth the risk.

Oh and as you can see, it’s not a standard spray can, so the spray paint nozzle tool wouldn’t work on this type of can.

After the legs were painted, I painted the trays for the retro cart re-do… cart drying lawn art

bright red!

My plan for this cart was to use it in the attic for the microwave and popcorn bowls etc. to sit on. I had momentarily thought about doing a striped popcorn bag style design on the trays, but decided against that.

While the legs and trays were drying out in the grass, (I wonder what the neighbors think about me always splaying my work out in the lawn?!)

I took the caster wheels inside to do a little hand painting… painting the wheels

(after I scrubbed and dried them thoroughly of course)

The plastic wheels on the casters are riveted together, so there was no removing them. Instead, I just carefully painted the outside of the tarnished metal parts.

After all the parts were dry, (drying took a full day) it was time to reassemble the cart. reassemblying the cart

Here’s tip #2… When reassembling, do not tighten the bolts and nuts all the way until the very end of the assembling process. You can see in this picture how much movement is necessary to line up the holes… if the trays were super tight on the other side, it would make the lining up process very difficult. So just do a couple turns with the nuts inside with each bolt as you go, and then once all the bolts are in place, go back around and tighten up all the nuts. retro cart and wheel after 1

In this close up, you can really see the hammered finish on the chrome legs and the flat black finish on the metal outsides of the wheels. retro cart re-do after

The microwave fits perfectly on the top tray. Now I just need to do some fun containers for the popcorn and bowls on the other two trays.

(that is the same microwave we had in our former house in the lower level… if you missed that, or would like to revisit that renovation, click here to see former house the family room wet bar project in our former house) retro cart re-do in attic

But in our house now, the family room is in the attic and this retro cart re-do really worked out great to be a very simple area to make popcorn for a quick snack while playing games or watching a movie. (but really, wouldn’t just about anything look kinda cute up against that old brick chimney?!)

I’ll share more of this fun attic space with you in future posts coming up, so stay tuned! In the mean time, if you’d like to see an amazing renovation of my son’s attic space, check this out!


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