How to Turn a Utility Cart Into a Patio Grill Station

Learn how to trick out a metal cart with a wood top, magnetic hooks and baskets so it can be used as a portable outdoor kitchen island or bar.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
June 01, 2018

DIY Portable Grill Station 00:54

Skill Level
Estimated Cost $200
Time
Download PDF

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Tools and Materials

  • metal utility cart
  • (2) 1x6 x 8' redwood or cedar for the tabletop
  • (1) 1x2 x 8' redwood or cedar for underside of the tabletop lip
  • magnetic hooks
  • magnetic towel bar
  • metal hanging basket
  • polyurethane
  • paintbrush
  • (2) 2" gate hinges
  • drill
  • nail gun
  • 1" finish nails
  • circular saw
  • measuring tape
  • speed square
  • sanding block
  • optional: shelf liner
Find all the tools and materials for this project at Lowes.com.

Step 1: Measure for Tabletop

Determine the size of the cart’s wood top. For our tabletop, we cut 1x6s into four 32-1/4” pieces. This length will overlap the top of the cart on three sides; we don’t want an overhang on the side of the cart with the handle.

Step 2: Lay Out Lip Pieces

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Add a lip made of 1x2s to the underside of the 1x6s to secure them together, and to hold the tabletop in place when it sits on the cart. To ensure the lip boards are in the right place, use a speed square to line up the 1x6s and make a mark on the underside 1-1/4” from the edge on three sides. (The handle side will be addressed later in this step.) This lip will sit on the outside edge of the cart wall. The two 1x2 pieces for the longer sides will measure 31”. The two end pieces will measure 16-1/8” and 12-3/8”. The shorter board is the handle side of the cart and will fit inside the edge of the cart wall. This board will be inset from the edge 1/2”. In the center of the top, add a 1x6 across the boards leaving a small gap for the cart edge to clear.

Step 3: Fasten Lip Pieces to Tabletop

Secure the 1x2s to the 1x6s using 1” finish nails. Make sure not to put nails in the center because you will be cutting the tabletop in half. Mark the center point of the short side of the tabletop on the lip pieces. Set up the tabletop so it is raised and then use a circular saw to cut the top in half.

Step 4: Sand and Apply a Sealer

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Use a sanding block to smooth any rough edges. Apply exterior-grade urethane to seal the tabletop. Be sure to seal all sides of the wood to help prevent the wood from warping. Let dry.

Step 5: Attach Hinges

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Add two hinges to the outside top edges. The hinges will allow access for additional storage underneath the work surface.

Step 6: Place Tabletop

After hinges are in place, set the top onto the cart.

Step 7: Accessorize

Photo by: Gary Payne

Gary Payne

Attach magnetic hooks, magnetic towel bar(s) and baskets for additional storage of grill tools, towels and condiments. Optionally, you can lay a liner on the shelves of the cart.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Charcoal vs. Gas: Outdoor Grills

It's the most important feature in an outdoor kitchen, but before you go shopping for a grill make sure you've done your research.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

Create the ultimate outdoor cooking environment.

Outdoor Kitchen Island Grills

Bring your kitchen outside with outdoor island options that are equally as efficient and functional.

Modular Outdoor Kitchen Kits and Accessories

Turning your backyard or patio into a chef's paradise is easier than ever thanks to prefab modular kitchen kits and accessories.
More from:

Start Here

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Tiny Luxury

6:30am | 5:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Flea Market Flip

10:30am | 9:30c
11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

Fixer Upper

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

12am | 11c

House Hunters

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

2am | 1c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.