Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

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:

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Upcycled Plant Cart Saved from “Above the Rim”

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!

Materials:

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

  • 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

Upcycled Plant Cart Instructions:

Loosen corner bolts with a socket wrench or drill and socket bit. Hammer out any that are too rusty to budge.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Once the legs are free, use a wire brush to loosen any flaking metal bits and then sand the legs.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a power sander to sand the shelf tops. You want to get rid of as much rust as possible.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Use fine grit sandpaper to finish sanding the shelves, especially on the sides or grooves that couldn’t be reached with the power sander.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Wipe everything off with a damp rag and cleanser if necessary. Before painting the legs, tape off the wheels with painter’s tape.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Spray one light coat of Heirloom White onto the cart shelves. After the first coat dries, repeat with a second and third coat.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Once everything is completely dry, remove the painter’s tape from the wheels. Reassemble the cart.

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Fill the shelves with your plants and wheel it into a sunny spot ;-).

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember where we started?

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

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?

PHGFancySign

 

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Upcycled Plant Cart Saved from "Above the Rim" | Pretty Handy Girl

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  1. Marti Bowland
    Marti Bowland says:

    I also have one of these 40’s era carts that was in the barn when we bought our place. It was originally a deep green, then someone painted it powder blue, over-which someone painted a tired orange. I have taken it apart, cleaned it thoroughly, and today I am beginning the sanding portion. You didn’t mention using primer, but I intend to start with an automotive flat grey primer since I’m painting metal. I’ll paint the three trays a linen white and the support bars oil rubbed bronze. I just finished ordering a stencil for the top tray that I’ll stencil black, then coat it all with spar varnish so it can be used inside or out. I’ll add a picture of before vs after. It’s fun to bring vintage items forward, isn’t it?!

    Reply
  2. Patricia Brannock
    Patricia Brannock says:

    Well I found one of these carts before you posted this and didn’t quite now how I was going to restore this and then low and behold you posted this blog! After saving it for a couple yrs (pls don’t laugh sometimes it takes me yrs to get to something) I am finally ready to restore! I will post photos as I go and post them when I am done. Thank you for the tutorial on this I am so excited I love this cart!
    Patricia

    Reply

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