Not too long ago, my boyfriend started a new job and moved into a new apartment. I knew I needed to get something pretty special that would make his new place feel like home. It can be hard to find a gift so perfect, so I started looking for something I could fix up! I found the frame of an old bar cart. If I fixed it up, it could be a great gift for his apartment!
Finding the Gift
I started looking through a couple of sell and trade Facebook groups. If you are a fixer-upper, DIY-er, or just love a good deal, I definitely recommend finding some of these groups to join. Warning they can be highly addictive. I check them pretty much daily most of the time with no
intention of buying. You can also look for unique and cheap gifts at estate and garage sales, antique stores. Even Craigslist, eBay or other websites can have some interesting pieces. I found this chrome base for the bar cart in a local resale Facebook group from a sweet lady for just $20. I went with my mom to pick up the base. (Never ever go alone to pick up something from a stranger.) I had only seen a few pictures, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. As you can see, it was pretty rusted but other than that it was in good condition.
Fixing and Personalizing the Gift
So, of course, I’m not about to just wrap this up and give it! It definitely needs some work. I was concerned about how to get all of this rust off. I thought that maybe I was just going to have to paint the whole thing, but I really loved the chrome look. My mom actually had learned about a tip that she thought might work. Diet Coke would eat away at the rust, and aluminum foil would be strong enough to break down the rust, but soft enough not to scratch the chrome. Coke works as well, but because of the sugar, it is much stickier and harder to clean up.
Use Aluminum Foil and Diet Coke to break down and clean off the rust from anything chrome!
Next, I had my grandfather cut two pieces of plywood to fit into the slots. It’s always nice to have someone with a wood shop to do your work for you, but this was a simple cut I could have done myself. Lowe’s or some other hardware stores will cut your wood to match! Just be sure to measure several times before you actually cut. Most likely, it’s going to be an odd measurement. You want to measure down
to the 8th of an inch to ensure that it will have a snug fit.
I painted them with some leftover black paint that I already had. To match his style, I wanted it to be simple and clean cut. Black was a really nice compliment to the sleek chrome. I used a rag and painted lightly to show off some of the wood grain texture. It took about three light coats. We also added a new set of wheels to complete the look and make it easier to move around the apartment.
Then I styled it and surprised him in his apartment with all of his bar tools and drinks ready to go! Check out the final look.