This past summer I spied a metal cart in a dumpster. To be frank, I have never truly actually participated in dumpster diving. The thought of actually climbing inside a dumpster has never been on my acceptable things to do list. But, this metal bar cart was floating on top of the trash pile. It was (to quote a Seinfeld episode) above the rim! And it was begging to be upcycled into a beautiful plant cart.
So, I convinced myself it was okay and wasn’t officially dumpster diving. Feel free to debate this fact in the comment section.
I brought it home and knew I could do a quick makeover with some spray paint. But, first it needed a good cleaning and some prep work. The tops of the shelves were very rusty:
And the undersides were filthy. But, the end product was worth it! Here is how to upcycle your own little metal rusty bar cart into a beautiful plant stand!
- 1 Discarded rusty bar cart (rescued from above the rim)
- Socket set
- Hammer for coaxing rusty bolts loose
- Can of Rustoleum Heirloom White spray paint
- Can of Krylon Copper Spray paint
- Sander/sanding block
- Fine grit sand paper
- Wire brush
- Rag and/or damp wipes
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloth
- Scraps of wood to elevate while painting
- Optional: Drill
Loosen corner bolts with a socket wrench or drill and socket bit. Hammer out any that are too rusty to budge.
Once the legs are free, use a wire brush to loosen any flaking metal bits and then sand the legs.
Use a power sander to sand the shelf tops. You want to get rid of as much rust as possible.
Use fine grit sandpaper to finish sanding the shelves, especially on the sides or grooves that couldn’t be reached with the power sander.
Wipe everything off with a damp rag and cleanser if necessary. Before painting the legs, tape off the wheels with painter’s tape.
Prop legs off the drop cloth with scraps of wood (so the legs won’t stick to the drop cloth after you paint them.) Spray one light coat of copper spray paint on legs. Allow the coat to dry and repeat. Flip the legs over and paint the other side with two coats.
Spray one light coat of Heirloom White onto the cart shelves. After the first coat dries, repeat with a second and third coat.
Once everything is completely dry, remove the painter’s tape from the wheels. Re-assemble the cart.
Fill the shelves with your plants and wheel it into a sunny spot ;-).
Remember where we started?
Was it worth my first “dumpster rescue?” Can I still claim to have never been dumpster diving? Or am I no longer a dumpster virgin?
Have you ever been dumpster diving? How was it? Did you get caught?