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Aug 29, 2012

CREATE: Tea Cart Makeover

For my baby girl's nursery I had a strong desire to makeover an old tea cart. I thought it would have multiple functions throughout her childhood. While she is a baby it will be used as a changing table and baby storage in her nursery. Later when she gets older and her imagination expands into pretend play she could easily adapt it for a tea party, ice cream cart, lemonade stand, mobile book store, florist vendor, farmer's market or plush pet shop? To me the possibilities are endless and it can easily have many different functions for play time.

Above are BEFORE & AFTER photos. The project was more challenging than I thought. It took me a while to figure out a solution on how to make the top of the awning an arched or barrel shape. The tea cart was very time consuming due to the drying process. I struggled a bit with the humidity and proper ventilation. But thanks to our local Ice Cream Truck, my lil' handy man, Allen and I got to enjoy ice cream during our break time. Here are step by step instructions on how I made over my old tea cart found on craigslist. I am not an expert, so feel free to alter my steps for your own project.


Step 1: Quick maintenance was needed so I repaired cracked pieces with wood glue and tightened any loose screws
Step 2: Sand all surfaces to prep for painting or staining
Step 3: Thoroughly clean with a damp cloth to remove any debris and let dry
Step 4: Prime entire tea cart with a paint primer or begin staining, then let dry
Step 5: Paint over primer with desired paint color, multiple coats may be needed, then let dry
Step 6: Paint a clear coat glossy finish to protect surface, then let dry for a long period of time

(Optional) STEPS ONLY if adding a barrel shaped AWNING:

Step 7: Cut down ONE dowel rod into FOUR 2 inch long dowel rods to use as wood pegs
Step 8: Drill a hole into the center bottom of FOUR staircase spindels
Step 9: Using a hammer, gently tap in a 2 inch wood peg into EACH of the FOUR drilled holes
Step 10: Build a support frame around the top of the spindels in order to connect all FOUR together
(I used FOUR scrap pieces of lightweight wood but FOUR long dowels rods might also work)
Step 11: Using a hand saw, safely cut BOTH pieces of ONE circular wood embroidery hoop in symmetrically in half to make FOUR separate arches
Step 12: Carefully stretch the FOUR wood arches over the top of the support frame. Spread them out equally, which means that on the farthest left side there should be ONE arch, then a space, then ONE arch, then a space, then ONE arch, then on the farthest right side should be ONE last arch. (see example photos) 
Step 13: Using EIGHT short screws, drill EACH arch to the support frame
Step 14: Paint or stain AWNING frame, let dry completely
Step 15: Drill ONE short hole into all FOUR corners of the tea cart tabletop
Step 16: Place the NEW AWNING frame on the tea cart tabletop and insert the wood pegs into the drilled holes 

(I chose NOT to permanently affix the AWNING frame to the tabletop, but you could use wood glue as a permanent option)
Step 17: Drape desired AWNING fabric over arches. For a custom fit, use straight pins to form shape, then cut fabric, sew hems and sew any seams closed

Safety Warning: ADULTS - PLEASE be very CAREFUL when using power tools and 
follow all safety precautions described on your tool manuals. Not responsible for accidents.


  1. OMG Renee --- that is an amazing transformation and absolutely adorable! You gave that boring cart such life & personality! need another stool though 'cuz I'm coming for ice cream LOL

  2. Wow! What a magnificent makeover! Beautifully done in every detail!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  3. Oh umm...excuse me. I would like to order a triple decker strawberry ice cream cone with a gumball on top. Oh and one of those amazingly awesome carts. Do you take checks? hehe

  4. Lovely tea cart! You really love your kiddo huh.. Out of your love you've created a priceless tea cart. Thanks for sharing your detailed procedure on how to make it. I'll be working on it too. Hoping to hear more creative blogs from you.

  5. I have a cart JUST LIKE THIS in my garage, and now I am beyond excited about the possibilities! Thanks so much for the inspiration! Your cart is over-the-top adorable!

  6. Where did u find the cute little stool?


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