DIY Bar Cart: An Old Bookcase Transformed

The Sweetest Digs
by The Sweetest Digs
2 Materials
1 Day
Have you spotted the chic bar carts all over the DIY blogosphere? From IKEA hacks to industrial looking carts made from plumbing parts, there are a huge variety of them out there that have all had me inspired. I recently said yes to being a part of the challenge. The scoop? 8 DIY bloggers across Canada were asked to re-furbish or build something out of wood, using two Varathane products and 3 (of 5) "mystery products" that would be sent to them in a challenge box. I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to tackle this project that had been on my wish list for a while, turning an old bookcase into a DIY bar cart.
Here is how things started out. I already owned this bookcase, which had seen better days. It was made beautifully by my Daddio for my University dorm room, when I needed a space to store textbooks, but sadly it had been pretty neglected the past few years and it was showing. The wood had really yellowed and there was nowhere in the house where it made sense to use it as it was. Even painted, we just didn't need a bookcase that sort of size anywhere. And so, it made the perfect jumping off point for my new bar cart.
I started out by sanding down the bookcase to remove some of the old finish that had been on there. Once I had roughed up the wood and removed the old top layer of polyeurothane, I was able to apply the stain I had received in my "challenge box". Lucky for me, the colour was AMAZING and something I totally would have chosen myself at the hardware store. It's the Varathane Ultimate Stain in Sun Bleached and it is a milky gray colour that gives the wood a beautiful white-washed, beachy kind of aesthetic. Even this super yellowed wood was muted down to a cooler tone. I love it. My stain process? Applying with a paintbrush, letting soak in for 2-3 minutes, then wiping off with a rag. Let it dry for at least 6 hours and then do another coat.
Once those two coats of stain had fully dried, I then applied a Varathane Poly Effects as a top coat. For the inside of the bar cart, I grabbed some high gloss white paint I already owned and gave it a few coats. I really like that two-tone look and suddenly, the whole bookcase was feeling so refreshed. To turn this bad boy into a legit bar cart, we added some casters to the bottom. You can buy these at any hardware store (usually in a pack of two) and then just drill onto the bottom of your piece. You want to put them in the far corners of the bookcase to ensure it's stable.
To see the final steps, my mystery items and how I styled my new bar cart, head over to the full post here!
Suggested materials:
  • Bookcase   (thrifted)
  • Paint   (hardware store)
The Sweetest Digs
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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