Friday, July 20, 2012

DIY Pipe Bar Cart

Look what I made! My first piece of furniture that I designed and built all by my lonesome!
Life Designed
When my friend said she needed a bar cart for her new home, it didn't surprise me one bit!
I had meant to talk to her about it a while ago, but with everything else we had to focus on, the bar cart got sent to the back burner. 

I thought about converting an old change table into a cart but hadn't found anything that would be suitable for her style.

She had mentioned before that she loves shelving made from pipes which I love. Like really really love.  
The Brick House
I would love to do something like this for her living room shelving or kitchen pantry shelving but in the mean time, why not build a bar cart using this idea?

Here's my super rough sketch. Haha Don't judge! Drawing is not my forte.
Life Designed
With this in mind, I was off to Home Depot where I quickly found what I needed.
Life Designed
I got 1/2" galvanized steel pipes and connectors. The smaller pieces were just over a buck each! Sweet! However, my joy quickly dissipated because boy, those little buggers really add up! The longer pieces were about $5 each.

My first trip (there were 4) I spent $75!

Dang... it might be cheaper to just buy a cart! 

For shelving, I got a 1" x 12" x 72" pine board (to be stained) and got it cut in half- I actually had to go back and get 1" cut off each board because they were just a tad too long didn't sit nicely on the pipes. 

The steel strapping was used to secure the pipes to the underside of the shelves:
Life Designed
Life Designed
I really had no idea what I was doing to be honest. I had no blueprint, no real game plan...I kind of just jumped right into it. 

I started from the top shelf- which was a mistake. It was not coming together nicely (hard to tell from this picture but everything was wonky) so disassembled and decided to start from scratch- this time from the bottom. 

A few times I was ready to throw in the towel. It was just not happening.

But I realize us artsy folk are #1 stubborn and #2 a little bit crazy. We wouldn't get anywhere otherwise! 
Life Designed
It took me 6+ hours to get to this point. 

That includes 4 trips to Home Depot, sanding/staining the shelves and spray painting the pipes. Not to mention all the measuring/remeasuring, assembling/disassembling, sketching/thinking involved.

You also have to be mindful of the order in which you start assembling all the parts. It's like a puzzle. If you're an eager beaver like me, this means you have to assemble and disassemble a few times in order to get it right. 

I also measured and pre drilled holes for casters on the bottom shelf. I'll be adding them later- can't have the cart rolling away as I'm trying to build it!

At this point, I was pretty happy with it! How industrial and rustic!

But as you can see, I neglected to account for a rail of some sort for the bottom shelf...

So the next day, I made my 4th trip to Home Depot and added this rail! You can't tell, but I cheated and used wooden dowels and lighter weight copper connectors because the cart was getting really really heavy.

I also got some wood- which I measured, cut and stained to make a glass rack:
Life Designed
I waited a little while and when the wood glue seemed dry enough, I decided against my better judgement to give it a test run. And...that's when this:

Life Designed
Became this:
Life Designed
Oops.

Undried glue: 1
Eager beaver: 0

I reapplied the glue and walked away. The next day:
Life Designed
No broken glass here! There's enough room to fit 6 glasses- I just grabbed what I could find in my house- minus the ones I broke. =(
Life Designed
I still have to put the casters on- I was just too eager to post this! Thankfully I already pre-drilled the holes so they should be easy to install. 

I gotta say...I'm so so happy and really surprised I pulled it off!

Now it's time to gather all my receipts...

Total cost: $150.21

Perhaps a wee bit on the pricey end considering you can buy a bar cart for the same price, if not cheaper. But! I promise none will be as cool as this! At least that's what I keep telling myself. =)

This weekend I'm helping my sister and brother in law fix up their basement a little bit and maybe - maybe- attempting to make a little console table for my other sister.

What are your weekend plans? 

61 comments:

  1. Did you really make that? It looks AWESOME! Great work Nancy! :))

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    1. I did! I can't believe it myself! Haha Thanks Maria!!

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    2. Wow you go girl andthank you for shareing. I will now try although can a 65 year old even keep up. we shall see

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  2. I love it. It gives me ideas for a work counter space next to my grill that I have been searching for a piece for! Nice work! Your newest follower :)

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  3. This is awesome! Pinned for later, thanks so much for sharing!

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  4. that looks amazing!!! awesome job! love the rustic wood and industrial pipes!

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  5. Holy incredible! You did such a great job! I want one! Doubt I'd have the patience to build it though.

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  6. WOW I LOVE this! Totally looks like something you would buy from West Elm! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pipe shelving picture also. You did an amazing job on the cart!

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  7. I saw this on apartmenttherapy.com-- absolutely beautiful!!

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  8. Just wanted to mention that it's actually well-priced. Ωt's difficult to find a decent bar cart for that price. Almost everything I've seen that isn't something of cheap materials (ie ikea/target/whatever) is more like $250+ easily and that's low end. Even second hand is hard to find bargains because bar carts are always a good sell. I'm sure there are some decent options out there for under $150, but I think they are few and far between and this is WAY nicer looking than most things you'd find at that price point. Nice job!

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  9. This is sooo cool! Awesome job! Love that you made a glass shelf and everything :)

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  10. Hey Nancy! Just found your blog today and I adore this project!!! I'm another BC blogger - nice to meet ya!

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  11. Love it!

    Any plans on putting together a tutorial? I'd love to try it but I can't figure how the shelves are attached.

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    1. I used steel strapping to attach a pipe to the underside of the shelves. I ended up spray painting all the pipes and strapping black so you can't really see it in some of the photos. The 5th image down shows the strapping and the pipe! Hope that helps!

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    2. Actually, I'd love a tutotiral as well. (i.e. materials used, different sizes purchased, color and type of spray paint used, etc. I'd like to build something like this for my girlfriend but I'm no design student/professional. Just someone who lives by DIY!

      Please please please share!

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  12. I love the bar cart! Thanks for the instructions on how you made it. Pinned it! Saw you featured at Primitive & Proper.

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  13. This turned out amazing! I've been looking for a bar cart for awhile, now I think I might try to make one. I hope it turns out as good as yours. Thanks for sharing! Wonderful project.

    P.S. Thanks for also sharing the not so perfect things that happened when putting this together. Helps to know what to look out for. :)

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    1. Thanks Erica! I think you should and please let me know when you do. I'd love to see it!

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  14. This is so original! Love it! I'm featuring this tonight at the link party. Thanks for linking up!!

    Kathryn
    destinationcraft.blogspot.com

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  15. Lovely! You should sell that Bar cart here in France. It's great!

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  16. Great job! I think this could work in my kitchen... How did you cut the steel strapping?

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    1. Thanks Monica! Haha...I used a pair of gardening clippers that I found in the garage- probably not the best way to do it. As long as you can score it, all you need to do is bend it back and forth a few times and it snaps off. Or... just use steel cutters- much more efficient and you'll get a cleaner cut! Good luck!

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  17. Wow, I love the idea!!! So cool!

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  18. WOW! SO COOL! We need one for outside! Thanks for sharing ! Saw this in Centsational girl. :-)

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    1. Ahhhh.... I LOVE Centsational Girl! Thanks!

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  19. OMG I love it! I hope you post how you put the casters on! Your friend must love you for this lil gem. Awesome job!

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  20. This is very impressive! This is the best bar cart I have ever seen! Hopped over from BOTB! Glad to find you site!

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  21. This is soooooo cute! Thanks for sharing! The steel strapping is genius. Restoration Hardware has a plumbing pipe floating shelf that I was trying to figure out how to replicate. It appears to be floating on the pipe. This solves my problem beautifully. Lovely blog!

    - Julie

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    1. Thanks Julie! I just looked it up and yes you can totally replicate it! And for 1/16th of the price! =)

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  22. I also saw in Centsational girl and with a few modifications this idea is going to become my outside bar car next to my grill...thanks for the idea

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  23. Congratz on that! It looks great.

    Out of curiosity, which color did you use for the paint of the pipes, is that a regular black?

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    1. Hi Michel! Yes, it's just regular black spray paint in a matte finish!

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  24. Know what, the price tag isn't so bad considering it's a "one of a kind"!

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  25. Great work! I have been wondering something about threaded pipe. If you are connecting them into a continuous square, do you need to buy one pipe which has it's threads reversed on a single side? If not and all the threads are going the same way, when you go to screw in the last end wouldn't it unscrew from one side while you are screwing in the other end? I hope this question makes sense.

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    1. Great question! I wanted to reply to this publicly in case others have the same question. It does get tricky and you have to think about the sequence when you put these pipes together. There is an open end piece holding the shelf up so that part is easy because it's not a continuous square. But I had issues at the top! I was able to screw everything together but one piece is a little loose because of the threading issue. My cousin suggested using transparent glue to stick it in place. Mind you, it won't fall apart or anything but I just don't like how it's not tight like the other pieces. Hope that answers your question. Fire away if you have any others! Thanks!

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    2. Thanks Nancy. I am planning a project to construct a chair from the same pipes. This article was very helpful. I might look into reverse threaded rods, and will let you know it is helps things out.

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    3. I didn't even know reverse thread pipes existed! I highly recommend using them over super glue! Ha ha. Yes, please let me know how it turns out. I would love to see it!

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  26. Love it! You should add a 'pin it' button! I saw your cart on Pinterest but it took some hunting to find the original post and your blog!

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  27. How did you attach the decorative rail to the bottom shelf? I am making a similar shelf and am having problems attaching the rail and making it stable.

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    1. Hi Laura, I used the same method I used for the shelves- see the 5th picture in this post. I screwed down steel strapping to the wood shelves to keep the 90 degree copper elbow in place. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at alifedesigned@gmail.com. Good luck!

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  28. People may paint or spray pipe glue onto a pipe, depending on the product and their needs. It is important to apply an even layer and to avoid making it too thin or too thick. The product should come with clear directions providing information about how much glue to apply and how long the joint needs to cure before water can be run through the pipes.

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  29. Hi Nancy! This cart looks amazing! I'm planning to make it for my boyfriend's birthday, and was wondering if you would mind providing instructions on adding the casters. Thanks! Grace

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    1. Hi Grace! The casters are really easy to add! I used basic casters from Home Depot which I just screwed to the bottom shelf. If you can afford it, I recommend getting vintage casters or something more industrial looking. If you have any more questions, feel free to email me! alifedesigned@gmail.com. Good luck with your project. I'm sure your boyfriend will love it!

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  30. You’re a DIY angel, Nancy! I’ve been looking for cheap bar carts when I came across your blog, and this gave me a good idea on where to find them. It might be a bit pricey, but the final output looks like it costs more than $150. I’m looking forward to creating a project similar to this. It’s such a surprise to know what you can do with steel strapping and pipes!

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    1. Thanks so much Thelma! =)
      Good luck with your project!! I would love to see it when it's done!

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  31. I'm actually in the process of making this and desperately need to know: How in the world did you get the stickers off without taking off the black covering on the pipe? Everything I've spot-checked has resulted in the black coming off - half the reason I'm doing this is the black iron piping!

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    1. Hm...I didn't have that problem because I bought the galvanized steel pipes and spray painted them a matte black. Good luck!

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  32. I completed chairs which are quite similar to your technique - take a look:
    http://thismarksthespot.com/post/41947242416/steel-pipe-cowhide-lounge-chairs-i-had-been

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    1. Awesome, I love the cowhide! And yes, good point about the left/right coupling. =)

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  33. Love the cart! My fiance & I are going to make it for our living room; I can't wait! Quick color questions: 1) what stain did you use on the wood?
    2) did you spray paint the pipes before assembling them? Did that affect the threading?

    Thanks!
    :-)

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    1. Thanks Lesley! I used Minwax's wood finish stain in dark walnut. Yes, spray paint before assembling and no it didn't affect the threading. Good luck and have fun!

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  34. great design! You mentioned adding casters to the underside of the bottom shelf made the cart a little tipsy. What you could do is use 4 t-connectors on the bottom shelf the same way you did to hold up the top shelf. Then use 4 threaded stem casters and screw those into the t connectors. This would place the casters on the outside edges of the cart where most of the weight is. Problem solved!

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  35. Awesome job! Thanks for posting the instruction for making this cart! I appreciate sturdy furniture. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one that has to make multiple trips to Lowe's or Home Depot before the task is done!

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  36. This is so cool! Awesome job! Love that you made a glass shelf and everything.competitive prices of beds and mattresses

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  37. This is GORGEOUS! I love this style of furniture.

    I found this while looking for a way to build an office cart to roll under my desk. This is far too large, but great inspiration! Thanks!

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