By Fred Heim and Laura Whitaker

Bar carts are expensive. Make your own unique industrial bar cart for less than $50!

Bar Cart Supplies:

  • $38 on sale (reg $45) 16×30″ two shelf steel service cart from Harbor Freight Tools

  • $8 felt-backed leather-look vinyl from any fabric store.

  • Optional: wood dowel substitution for cart handle (see step 3)

Bar Cart Assembly

Step 1: Unbox and assemble the cart. It ships flat packed so just like your Ikea furniture, you’ll need to turn a wrench. These carts are super sturdy and have a 200lb+ capacity with 4″ diameter rubber caster wheels. This means no worries about marring the floor and it rolls smooth over carpet too. The red enamel finish gives off a “little red wagon” retro vibe including the two 3-1/2″ deep shelves. Two socket or adjustable wrenches and you are ready to assemble. Assembly time: <30min

Bar Cart - Cut the VinylStep 2: Cut the vinyl. You could choose and textile but the felt backing gave our choice a nice thickness to cushion bar items. We wouldn’t recommend gluing it down since accidents happen and you might want to change it in the future. Tip: Make a paper pattern first, then cut the vinyl accordingly. Depending on your material and skill you could roll the edges and sew or glue them for a nice finished edge.

Bar Cart - Wrap the HandleStep 3: Wrap the handle. There are LOTS of options here. Cut a strip of material about 36″x 1.5″ and wrap it in a spiral like a tennis racket grip. Tape the first edge to hold while you wrap. Trim to length and super glue the end where it is less noticeable. Tip: Trim the last 3-4″ at an angle to make the spiral end seamlessly without bunching up. Option: Just cut the material to the length of the handle and the diameter of the handle is the width. Tape to start and glue to finish where it is less noticeable.

Wood Handle Option: Before you put the handle brackets on the cart, grab the handle (pipe) and take it to your local lumber store. Get an equal diameter wood dowel and maybe even some stain. Cut it to the same length as the stock handle, stain/paint, and you are ready to install (after it dries).

Step 4: Load up your booze. This cart’s dimensions support 45 750ml bottles … on ONE shelf.

Step 5: Have a drink and admire your work.

Other Fun Options:

• Paint/sand/distress the cart to make it look like you salvaged it from a vintage machine shop.

• Bolt a wine rack or wine glass rack to the bottom of the top shelf. This will require some additional drilling and hardware. (Don’t even think about glueing it!)

• Use wood planks instead of leather/vinyl for the shelf surfaces. Got some plywood laying around? Cut stain and assemble.

Hope you have fun with making this your own!



Fred is a 40-something marketing professional, father and active guy who is always looking for creative solutions. From building furniture to hacking Ikea items, he loves to keep his expenses low while creating a big impact. Some of his other projects include building room dividers from Ikea closet doors, creating a bathroom fan for ventilating old apartment bathrooms and spicing his own rum.
Laura is a research nurse and mother who loves non-traditional projects, no matter the scope. She loves painting and shopping for art and weekends at the beach.