Restoring Grandma's Cart

2 Materials
1 Week

This cart belonged to my grandma. It's been inside, outside, rained on, snowed on, and thanks to the dogs, has been pottied on. I've been hauling it around for fifteen years with the goal of restoring it. I ignored (several times) being told to trash it. Here goes.
Looks pretty rough here. I sprayed it generously with industrial cleaner and let it sit a spell.
The 70+ years of use was no match for the cleaner. The underside was pretty rusty too.
I didn't have anything to soak these in, so I used the bathtub. In went the pieces with six gallons of vinegar, topped of with very hot water to cover. After sitting three hours I took my roll of aluminum foil to the tub, wadded up a piece and wiped. (Wiped, not scrubbed). It cleaned it down to bare metal! Some spots needed a bit of a scrub, but 97% of this wiped right off. Now this DID stain my tub. I cleaned it up with a magic eraser and a bit of Dawn.
I used mini bungee cords to hang the pieces to paint. This is the primer.
Then four coats of paint and three coats of sealant. I use dish gloves when I spray paint. Keeps the mess off me! I thought of doing a different color, but no. This pays homage to grandma, so I used original colors.
The finished product! I believe grandma would be pleased. I took my time with this, making sure each coat was dry before proceeding. It took a week, between work and home. I think it was time well spent.

Suggested materials:

  • 4 cans of red spray paint, 1 can of white, 1 can of primer and two cans of sealer.  (Home Depot.)
  • 6 gallons of vinegar.  (Grocery store.)

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 15 questions
  • Kathryn Botard
    on Oct 18, 2019

    I'm having a doozy of a time trying to find replacement wheels. The ones on mine are plastic and pretty chipped up.

  • Marian Branch Hodnett
    on Feb 2, 2020

    How did you get your legs off? At the top of the legs there is not a screw, there is only something going through the bottom side. Please tell me how you got yours off.

    • Celia Collier
      on Feb 4, 2020

      I removed the screws and there’s a slot the top of the leg fits into. It came right off.

  • Sharon Kirby
    on Apr 5, 2020

    I have a cart with the electric outlet, but it is wobbly. How do I fix that?

Join the conversation

2 of 74 comments
  • Dolores Silorey
    on Sep 2, 2019

    My friend gave me a cart like this. She had it in her kitchen to store small appliances on and it even has an electrical outlet. My vision was to paint it red for my craft/sewing room. Now I know I picked the right color. Great 👍 job!

  • Krissy Soles Skruck
    on Dec 13, 2019

    I just purchased an old cart similar to this. I pick it up tomorrow and I cannot wait to paint it. Yours looks amazing! I love unique pieces like this. I'm pretty sure I am going to use mine in my kitchen for my espresso machine and mugs, etc. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Great job!

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