How to Refurbish a Vintage Metal Bar Cart

How to refurbish a vintage metal bar cart: the after pic.

After searching high and low for vintage metal outdoor furniture (that we could afford), we brought home a whole (mismatched set) from the antique show in Round Top. Including a vintage metal bar cart!

I was stoked, not only that I finally found one, but that I only paid $15 for it!

How to refurbish a vintage metal bar cart.
(The before pic….in all of it’s rusty glory!)

Of course, true to Mandee fashion, it was covered in rust and missing some hardware, but that couldn’t dim my excitement. I couldn’t wait to get it home and refurbish it!

Here’s how we turned this rusty trash into treasure:

Gather Your Supplies

  • WD-40 (lubricant)
  • screw driver
  • wire brush
  • angle grinder
  • flap discs
  • spray paint
  • miscellaneous missing screws
  • rubber protectors for metal legs
Spray paint we used for this project.
(This was the paint we used for this project. The light blue paint on the right was for the vintage motel chairs.)

Take It Apart

Our first step to refurbishing this vintage metal bar cart was to take it all apart.

It was a pretty simple process and only required a screwdriver and a little bit of WD-40 for the stubborn ones were really rusted in there.

Grind Away the Rust

The next step was the most tedious. It was time to grind away the rust.

Initially, I started out using an orbital sander, but that just wasn’t getting the job done. So, just like we did on the vintage metal chairs that we brought home, we used an angle grinder and flap discs to really clean up the metal.

The bar cart was almost completely rust free by the time we were done grinding. We used a wire brush to remove any remaining rust that was hiding under the lip of the trays.

This method is SO MUCH FASTER than just using a sander. I highly recommend using an angle grinder if you’re refurbishing metal furniture.

Paint It!

Finally, it’s time for the most rewarding step….painting!

For this project we used Rust-oleum Metallic spray paint in ‘dark bronze’ for the legs. And for the trays, we used Rust-oleum’s spray paint in ‘Macaw Blue’.

We did 2 coats on everything to make sure that we covered any rust that might try to creep through.

Put it Back Together

After letting the paint dry overnight, we put the vintage bar cart back together again.

We had to use some screws my husband had laying around to replace the missing ones, but other than hunting down screws in the bottom of the tool box, the bar cart was pretty easy to put back together.

We also added some rubber protectors for the bottoms of the legs. Eventually, I would love to find some casters for it, so I can roll it around. But I couldn’t find any to fit these skinny legs at the hardware store and I was too impatient to wait for some to ship.

And it’s DONE!

How to refurbish a vintage metal bar cart: the after pic.
(And finally the ‘after’ pic!)

I love how vibrant this blue is! It goes perfect with our outdoor rug.

This was one of our quicker and easier projects and I LOVE how it turned out!

Together with the metal chairs, this vintage bar cart is the perfect addition to our back porch. It gives a place to sit and watch these beautiful Texas sunsets.

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