You’ve read the title, so you know this post is all about getting your DIY on for a dessert bar cart! Heck yes, have there ever been sweeter words uttered than DESSERT. BAR. CART.
Being the up-cycler and re-user that I am (I hate wastage), I’m forever searching for discarded or unloved items + materials which I can turn into something useful. Without it turning out like a grade 3 art project. Not that there’s anything wrong with items that look like rubbish has literally been hot-glued together to make something. It’s just not my style.
So when the Bosch DIY team recently approached me to create a summer project using their mitre saw, I freaked out a little (those mitre saws look big and mean), took a moment, dusted myself off and worked out what I was going to create.
Summer to me means outdoors, sitting by the pool, chilled drinks and icy sweet treats, right? So I decided to create a sweet little kids-sized dessert bar cart. The perfect outdoor accessory for wheeling out the snacks and letting the kids help themselves while you’re splashing about and relaxing.
This project actually didn’t cost me much in supplies because I’m a forager and I used free pallet wood + timber off-cuts from my local Bunnings store for the majority of the bar cart.
Now an important note on the pallet wood – because it is free, it is mostly imperfect. Some pieces were warped and bent. I used as many of the straightest pieces as I could find, but there are some imperfections to the finished cart, which I actually don’t mind at all. As it has been created using 85% recycled materials, it does have a rustic look to it. Which I think works well with the concept of a sweets cart.
I’ve included the original sketch which I used for my design, however I decided to ditch the canopy with the view of potentially making a removable canopy at some point down the track. I still need to wrap my head around the design of it and it’s really not crucial to the functionality of the cart.
If you would prefer a cleaner look to your finished bar cart, I would suggest using new timber which you can get at your local hardware store. I’ve included rough measurements, but you can adjust these accordingly depending on the supplies you’re using. The finished bar car dimensions are 910mm wide x 760mm high.
Measure your pallet wood panels and draw a line where you need to cut. The Bosch mitre saw has a laser light + guides so that you can line up your pencil marking with the saw line making for precise cuts each and every time.
Once you’ve cut all your pieces, make sure they are sanded so there are no splinters or jagged edges. Start off by using a coarse sanding pad first, then switch to a finer grade to get rid of any obvious scratches which the first sanding pad may have left behind.
Pop down a drop sheet (either outdoors on a calm day or in your garage, providing there’s plenty of ventilation) and spray your panels in your chosen colours.
For the front panel of the cart, I used 9 panels of pallet wood and for the sides I used 3 panels on each side. I alternated with three different colours so all up I needed to spray 5 panels the same colour x 3 different colours for a total of 15 panels. Leave the painted panels to dry and re-spray once completely dry to ensure even coverage.
When completely dry (this step is important as you’ll be working with the painted side down), lay out your pieces for the front of the cart face-down, ensuring that you’ve got the right order of colours. Measure the total height and length of the outside permitter and cut four pieces of the 50mm wide timber lengths to size, mitring the corners at a 45 degree angle so that once joined, they create a rectangle “frame” on the inside edge of the front panel of the cart.
Use wood glue and screws to attach the “frame” pieces of timber to the back side of the painted panels. Once you complete this step, you should be able to pick up the entire front panel in once piece (as opposed to separate panel pieces).
For the sides, lay down three (or however many pieces your using) of the panels as you did for the front. Cut 50mm wide timber lengths to size factoring in the internal depth of the front panel. You will need a 50mm timber length only across the top and bottom of the pallet panels. Use wood glue and screws or nails to attach the “frame” timber to the top and bottom of the panels, making sure to leave an allowance for where the internals of the front panel will meet on the inside.
Cut your sheet of MDF down to size using a jigsaw. I cut two pieces for the top and base of the cart from my 1200 x 600 piece. The final dimensions for the top and base of my cart were: 925mm x 300mm. Sand and spray paint the two separate pieces, remembering to apply a second coat once dry.
Attach one side to the front panel, making sure your repeat colours are running the correct way. I used wood glue and nails hammered from the outside (near the top and bottom of the cart) and a small triangle “brace” on the inside corner at the top to reinforce it’s structure. Repeat on the other side.
Stand up the outer body of the cart and place your top on, securing in place with nails around the outside border of the bench top, hammering down into the tops of the pallet panels.
Flip it over in preparation for attaching the base.
I should have made this next part differently, so I’m going to provide you with the instructions of how I *should* have done this bit.
Spray paint the following pieces of timber in your chosen colour:
Once completely dry, you need to screw the wheels into the bottom of the wheel blocks using a drill. Then screw the wheel blocks in the two corners on one side of the cart base, from the top down (through the top of the base, down into the wheel blocks). The best way to do this is the prop the base panel on some pieces of timber on a table top, around the same height as the wheel block and wheel.
Repeat this step but with the peg legs in the corners at the other end. Then flip the base with wheels and legs attached to it, and screw or nail the base to the rest of the body of the cart.
Making + attaching the handle
Create a handle to attach to the cart by cutting two pieces of timber (mind had rounded edges, but you can also round off square edges with a sander) to length. I worked out how deep I wanted my handle, then marked a line, cut it with the mitre saw and then held it up against the cart to double-check it looked ok. Then cut a second one the same length.
Measure your piece of dowel to fit between the two pieces. I cut a recessed hole in both of the handle arms, the same diameter as the dowel – I just used a drill and a cutting attachment. Just don’t go all the way through. Fill the hole in one handle arm with wood glue then screw in from the outside (down through the arm and into the dowel). Repeat with the other arm.
Then cut another piece of timber the length of the side. Screw the handle arms onto this piece of timber from the back. Spray paint and leave to dry, giving a second coat when thoroughly dry. Then attach the entire handle by screwing it to the cart via the backing timber which you attached to the handle last.
I finished the edges with some pompom trim to give it an even more fun look.
And there you have it… one sweet looking dessert bar cart which can be stowed near the pool (under covers) or in the kids play room when it’s too cold to play outside. The wheels make it easy to move around and the legs make sure it’s not going to accidentally take off.
I didn’t add a shelf inside because I forgot, but I am going to add one later for extra storage space.
Now all that’s needed is to fill it with treats and invite some friends over. Or not. Who wants to share anyway.
Head to the Bosch DIY homepage for more inspiration.
This post is proudly sponsored by Bosch DIY who supplied the mitre saw and asked to come up with a creative way to use it. Please note that I only ever choose to work with products and brands which I personally feel are relevant or interesting to the Unleash Creative community.