Thursday, September 22, 2016

These Ugly Carts Won My Heart: DIY transformation

There are people who remember events (say, a wedding reception or a picnic they attended) by what they wore.  Others may remember the event based on what they ate.  I, however, have a different memory trigger: I remember what things cost.  I aim for balance: looking for deals, while also looking for quality.  I love when I find both.

Recently I saw an outdoor cart advertised on clearance: Was $78.99. Now $39.99!  While this cart is attractive and functional, I already had found something better.  Or, more precisely, I had found two better things.


Earlier in the summer I discovered this sorry-looking cart at a garage sale, so forlorn and forgotten that it hadn't even been priced.  When I asked about it, the owner shrugged and said, "A dollar?"  I immediately indicated that I'd take it.


With some simple touch-ups, I knew the cart could be transformed.  First, I took it home, wiped it off, and disassembled the pieces.


Careful to keep all hardware together, I taped off portions that didn't need to be painted, and then spray painted or hand painted the parts that did.


I also used a stencil to decorate the formerly dull and stained top.  The cart now sits in my youngest daughter's bedrooms as a place for her toys and stuffed animals.  It was entirely worth a dollar.


Later in the summer, I found a second cart for $5 at a separate garage sale.  The frame was solid, yet blandly industrial looking, and the wooden top had multiple scratches, which I repaired with white wood filler, as you'll see in the picture below.


Then, I reinvigorated the look by painting the top a classic navy blue (inexpensive paint sample purchased from Lowes),


and I brightened the dull frame with several coats of aluminum spray paint.


I've tucked the cart in the corner of my dining room, next to a window and our dining room table.  It's the perfect location for a magazine rack, the go-to pencil sharpener, and (not pictured) my laptop when it's charging.  The greenery from the plants adds a softening touch to the piece's rectangular shape.


The bottom line is this: if browsing at a garage sale, don't just regard the objects for what they are; look at them for what they could become.  You might stumble upon not just one, but two carts for a mere $6, and all you need to add is a few supplies, a little time, and a little effort. 

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