I have always loved the idea of a bar cart – they’re gorgeous, functional, and who wouldn’t feel fancy making themselves a drink from a piece of furniture made specifically for holding all your alcohol?
They’re such a fun concept – totally unnecessary, yet somehow I feel like I must have one.
I can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a piece of furniture that’s meant to do nothing but display my liquor…but I can justify spending a few bucks to make my own!
Can you even believe that this bar cart was created from this
beauty awful old 80’s style television stand we found at Goodwill for $30?
Not gonna lie, my grandmother used to have the exact same television stand in her house.
As soon as I saw this beauty, I knew I wanted it to be a bar, so I sat down with my husband, formulated a quick plan of attack, and got to work.
First up, we had to get painting. I gave the whole thing a quick coat of primer – I didn’t worry too much about making it a perfect coat, because I was going to be using oil-based paint, which is much thicker and covers better than latex.
I mean, let’s be honest – it was looking much better already!
Because the function of the piece was originally for televisions and all their components, the backer board had a big hole in it – it was also pretty flimsy. So, I grabbed a new board for the backing.
Once I had a good coat of primer on everything, we had to figure out a way to make it a bit taller and more substantial. The whole thing was a bit too small to make a good bar, and it needed a little something to make it look less like the 80’s style television stand that it
Luckily, my husband is pretty handy, and he whipped up this quick box and attached some legs so we could give the whole thing some height. Although you can’t see it in this photo, he cut the boards for the front at a 45 degree angle so that you can’t see the end of the board (you can see what I’m talking about a little better if you look at the finished photos).
Obviously I wasn’t going to be able to live with that giant seam down the front of the bar, so I picked up a trip piece from the hardware store to spruce it up a little bit – it adds a fun detail and hides the fact that this wasn’t always just one solid piece of furniture.
Before we attached everything, I went ahead and painted all of the pieces individually. You could do it either way, but I figured it would be easier to get at those curvy little legs when I wasn’t contending with the rest of the bar.
We decided to go with an oil-based paint for this project. I can’t say I recommend it, but it was a fun experiment in trying a new medium. It’s much harder to work with (and to clean up!), so I definitely won’t be pulling out oil-based paint again for my next furniture project, but I do love the way the finished product looks!
It was finally starting to actually look less like a $30 piece of Goodwill furniture and more like a bar! At this point, all that was left to do was do some paint touch-ups, stencil the inside, and then take care of those old VHS drawers on the sides.
Let’s start with the stencil.
I knew I wanted to do a stencil on the sides and back of the bar, but I had a hard time figuring out exactly how I wanted to tackle it – I knew using paint would probably be pretty awkward on the sides, so I grabbed a gold metallic Sharpie to try instead. Sharpies can have pretty terrible bleed-through and I wasn’t about to start over with painting everything, so I decided to stencil it all in pencil first, then go back over it with the Sharpie.
To make sure that the pattern on the back and sides lined up at least somewhat, I had Corey hold the back board up and taped where each of the edges were…
And then I laid the stencil on top of it, lined everything up, and taped on top of the stencil so I could see where the corner of the stencil should be. Then, I just taped the stencil onto the side of the bar, being sure to line the tape up with the corner, and got to tracing! It didn’t work out perfectly (I think that’s almost impossible) but it got close enough that it looks good, and that’s all I care about!
And, finally, now that the legs were added, the bar was painted, and the stencil was completed, it was time to turn our attention to the VHS drawers. As soon as we saw them in the store we knew they would be perfect for holding bottles, but we didn’t want them clanking around too much.
So, we bought a few glass bottles from Hobby Lobby to hold mixers and alcohol (so that they’re all a standard size) and we removed the top shelf on the drawers and added a board to the bottom shelf that had holes cut in it that fit the bottles.
Once that was all completed, it was time to put the whole thing back together and start adding our stuff! We decided to etch the bottles that we bought with the names of the alcohol, so we don’t have to try to remember which is which, and we got a custom-cut piece of glass from Lowe’s for the top so we don’t have to stress about spills.
For a final little touch, we grabbed some gold craft paint and dipped the bottom of our stemmed glasses – they play off the stenciled sides nicely and add a bit of fun to the whole thing.
I love how it turned out and I have to admit I have a hard time believing that it used to look like this.
And that’s how we turned a $30 thrift store television stand into a custom bar! This whole project was a ton of fun and a great reminder to Corey and I to think outside the box when it comes to pieces we find at the thrift shop! We almost passed this guy up because it looked so awful, but then the idea for a bar clicked and from there it turned into a piece that we absolutely adore and think we will get a whole lot of use out of!