How to Refinish a Midcentury Modern Metal Bar Cart

Hanging on to a piece of rusty or chipped metal furniture? Give it a fresh, colorful update with these simple steps.

Wheel Cart Repurposed Into Bright, Accessible Mini Bar Set Up

Wheel Cart Repurposed Into Bright, Accessible Mini Bar Set Up

This simple cart frame is easily accessible, space conscious and can be easily maneuvered for indoor or outdoor use. A coat of bright blue paint brings it to life and creates a fun and contemporary bar cart. A potted plant and decorative pitcher add the perfect finishing touches.

By: Samantha Pattillo

Materials Needed

You can use these tools to makeover any outdoor item made of wrought iron. The steps are simple, and all the materials are the same no matter the item.

  • 80- and 120-grit sandpaper or sanding pad
  • painter’s tape
  • outdoor spray paint
  • trisodium phosphate aka TSP (only if your item has significant rust)
  • wire brush (only if your item has significant rust)

Before

Vintage and antique items can be great alternatives to buying new. They are usually more affordable and definitely give a more unique look to your home. This little midcentury modern bar cart had seen better days when we found her, but with a little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint, she looks brand new!

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Before

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Before

Vintage and antique items can be great alternatives to buying new. They are usually more affordable and definitely give a more unique look to your home. This little midcentury modern bar cart had seen better days when we found her, but with a little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint, she looks brand new!

Remove Rust

If the item you have is covered in rust, you’ll need to wipe it with TSP and a wire brush to remove any dirt buildup or grease from the metal. When it’s dry, remove as much rust as you can by briskly running the wire brush across any rusty areas on the metal. 

Sand the Cart

Luckily, this bar cart didn’t have any rust spots on it, so we skipped straight to sanding. Take your time sanding down all of the surfaces you are going to paint; this will help the paint adhere to the surface, and a nice smooth finish will look and feel best in the end. If you have some really rough spots, start with 80-grit sandpaper, then work your way to 120. 

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Sand the Cart

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Sand the Cart

Take your time sanding down all of the surfaces you are going to paint; this will help the paint adhere to the surface, and a nice smooth finish will look and feel best in the end. If you have some really rough spots, start with 80-grit sandpaper, then work your way to 120.

Prep for Painting

Tape off any areas you don’t want painted. In this case, we didn’t want to paint the wheels on the bar cart.

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Prep for Painting

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Prep for Painting

Tape off any areas you don’t want painted. In this case, we didn’t want to paint the wheels on the bar cart.

Paint the Cart

Judging how many cans to buy can be a challenge. For your reference, we used almost two whole cans for this project.

Always apply multiple light coats of spray paint, rather one or two heavy coats. If you do heavy coats and don’t wait long enough in between coats, you run the risk of having that permanently “sticky” feeling on the piece. Hold the can about 8″ away and just spray a light coat, overlapping each pass and releasing at the end of each.

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Paint the Cart

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Paint the Cart

Always apply multiple light coats of spray paint, rather one or two heavy coats. If you do heavy coats and don’t wait long enough in between coats, you run the risk of having that permanently “sticky” feeling on the piece. Hold the can about 8″ away and just spray a light coat, overlapping each pass and releasing at the end of each.

Spray paint can be messy. The over-spray goes everywhere, so make sure you pick a place that doesn’t have anything around that you mind getting a dusting of paint on (including yourself).

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Paint the Cart

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Paint the Cart

Spray paint can be messy. The over-spray goes everywhere, so make sure you pick a place that doesn’t have anything around that you mind getting a dusting of paint on (including yourself).

Remove Tape

Make sure you wait plenty of time for the piece to fully dry, then remove the painter’s tape. Since we used an outdoor spray paint, no clear sealant is needed.

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Remove Tape

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Remove Tape

Make sure you wait plenty of time for the piece to fully dry, then remove the painter’s tape. Since we used an outdoor spray paint, no clear sealant is needed.

Style and Use

A bar cart always looks best with some yummy beverages on it! Using both shelves of the cart is great for parties; you can store extra glasses and mixers on the bottom shelf and leave the top for drink prep and little snacks. Now let’s party!

Before

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Before

After

Bright Blue Bar Cart With Cocktail Supplies

Metal Bar Cart Makeover: Before

Vintage and antique items can be great alternatives to buying new. They are usually more affordable and definitely give a more unique look to your home. This little midcentury modern bar cart had seen better days when we found her, but with a little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint, she looks brand new!

Tags: 
  1. bar cart

Bright Blue Bar Cart With Cocktail Supplies

A bar cart always looks best with some yummy beverages on it! Using both shelves of the cart is great for parties; you can store extra glasses and mixers on the bottom shelf and leave the top for drink prep and little snacks. Now let’s party!

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