How to Turn an Old Dresser Drawer Into a DIY Bar Cart

by Spruced.Sticks
12 Materials

Recently, I carried out a DIY task where I upcycled an old dresser in my bedroom. But, to make the storage more appropriate for me and how I use the dresser, I removed one of the drawers and added some bins.

This left me with a big, empty drawer. Now, I hate to waste a perfectly good piece of furniture, so I couldn’t bring myself to throw the drawer away, and I instead wanted to use it for another fun project. So, I brought my two favorite things together: DIY and booze!

With this in mind, I knew that I could make a bar cart that would be perfect when I was entertaining. So, here’s how I turned an old drawer from a dresser into a bar cart that looks brilliant in my kitchen and is the talk of the town when I have friends over. ​​​

Tools and Materials

Luckily, this is a cheap and easy project for you to complete, so you won’t need to spend much money on materials and you don’t need too many things. For my DIY bar cart, I used:

  • A drawer
  • Paint stripper
  • A sander (if you don’t have an electric hand sander, you can use some sanding sheets and do it by hand)
  • A small tin of paint in your color of choice
  • Paint rollers and brushes
  • Sheets of aluminum
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • A wine glass rack and some glasses
  • Screws and a screwdriver
  • A tray (I used an old cake pan)
  • Aluminum spray paint
  • A drill
  • Ribbon for handles
  • Decorations

DIY Bar Cart

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Before you start, you need to gather all of your materials. This is a really important step because, when you’re doing DIY projects like this one, it’s awkward to leave it halfway through to find little bits and pieces that you’ve forgotten.

If you gather everything you need beforehand, you’ll be able to complete the project in an afternoon, even allowing time for the paint to dry.

Gather Your Materials

Step 2: Strip and Sand

Firstly, I stripped all the old paint from the drawer so I could reapply some fresh paint that fitted in with my kitchen. Then, once I’d removed all the previous color, I sanded the drawer down. This is a really important step if you want a smooth, sleek finish when you reapply your own paint.

For this step, I used a hand sander because it was quickest but, if your drawer is fairly smooth anyway, or if you don’t own a sander, then you can also use sanding sheets and complete the job by hand. It’s only one drawer, so it still shouldn’t take you too long. 

After you’ve finished sanding, you should also wipe the surfaces with a slightly damp cloth. This will make the surface easier to paint and will lead to a quality finish.

Strip and Sand

Step 3: Paint

Once the wood had dried, I painted my drawer. I wanted something light, bright, and airy, so I opted for white paint. But, if you’re trying to make your DIY bar cart fit in with your current décor, then you can choose any color paint you want. I applied most of my paint with a small roller to get an even finish, but I needed a brush to get right into the corners.

For the painting process, I’d suggest using one-coat paint. But, if you have the time, you can buy traditional emulsion and apply two coats. Just make sure that you give the paint enough time to dry between coats as, otherwise, you may end up smudging the paint or getting an uneven finish.


Step 4: Insert Aluminum Sheet

Because I chose white paint for my DIY bar, I felt like it looked a little bit plain once I’d finished painting it. So, I decided that I wanted to spice it up a bit.

To do this, I went out and found some sheets of patterned aluminum that I then added to the base and the back of the unit.

To make the sheets fit, I carefully measured the base and the back of the unit, before I then measured the aluminum sheet. Once I was happy that I had the sizes correct, I then cut the aluminum using some scissors before carefully inserting the sheet into the gaps.

Due to the strength of the aluminum on the corners, the sheets should hold in place naturally. But, if you haven’t quite got the measurements correct or you want to make the hold slightly stronger, then you can either glue the sheets in place or use a nail gun.

Insert Aluminum Sheet

Step 5: Attach Wine Glass Rack

I always knew that I wanted to hang some wine glasses from my DIY bar cart. So, I went down to Bed, Bath & Beyond, and I picked up a wine glass rack.

The rack only cost me a few dollars and it was really simple to install. To install it, all I did was grab a couple of screws and a screwdriver, and fixed the rack straight into the drawer itself. 

You don’t have to include this step when you carry out your project, but it’s a great way of using the space, and it also means that you always have glasses handy when you need them, too.

Attach Wine Glass Rack

Step 6: Paint the Cake Pan

I also knew that I wanted a tray on the top of my DIY bar cart so that I had extra storage.

For my tray, I simply used an old cake tin with sides. But, to give the cake pan a little more texture and sparkle, I first painted it with some aluminum spray paint.

Once the paint on the cake pan had dried, I then took my cordless drill and I drilled small holes in the side of the tray. This way, I could quickly and easily attach some handles.

Paint the Cake Pan

Step 7: Attach Ribbon to the Cake Pan

For my handles, I chose some pieces of ribbon. All I did was pass the ribbon through the holes on each side and then tied the pieces on the inside to keep the handles firm and secure.

For my handles, I used cream ribbon as this nicely matched the white paint I used earlier. But, for your project, you can use any color you like - a bold color will even help the unit pop as a statement piece of furniture.

If you don’t want to use ribbon, then you can also use traditional cupboard handles if you prefer. I just think the ribbons add a little more texture and fun. But, that’s one of the best things about this project: it’s easy to make yours unique to your tastes.

Attach Ribbon to the Cake Pan

Step 8: Fill Your Bar Cart

The final step in the process is also the most fun: it’s time to fill your bar cart!

For my cart, I added all my favorite wines and spirits to the bottom and then added my glasses to the wine rack. I used one rack for wine glasses, one for beer glasses and one for cocktail glasses.

Then, I used the tray on the top of the DIY bar cart for all my accessories, like beer mats, straws, and garnishes. I even left space on the top so I could place my drink on there while entertaining and mixing things for other people to enjoy.

Fill Your Bar Cart

Admire your handiwork!

DIY Homemade Bar Cart

If you follow these steps carefully, you’ll have no problem making a cool and great-looking DIY bar cart in next to no time. Remember, you can personalize your cart however you like, so you’ll have no problem serving your favorite drinks and making a statement piece of furniture that will look great in your home. If you’re planning to carry out this project, let me know in the comments below. I can’t wait to see your finished versions!

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