Often a great vintage find is hidden under layers of dirt and rust. It is amazing what a few cans of paint and a little elbow grease can do. Above is the second Cosco Cart I’ve redone and I’m honestly not the handiest person, so if I can do it, really anyone can.
What you will need:
Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Form & a stainless scrubbing tool
magic eraser and lots of paper towels
a drill or electric screwdriver
a cardboard box (smaller than the trays)
spray bottle filled with 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar
2 cans cans of spray paint
First off, it is best to paint on a sunny day with low humidity, I put my drop cloth over a garden table big enough to hold the cart so I can easily reach all parts of it. First I clean the cart with a magic eraser to get off the surface dirt. Then I use the Bar Keepers Friend on the tougher stains and rust, following the directions on the package. I find it easiest to do most of this while the cart is still together.
There was considerable rust on the underside of the trays which I did not attempt to clean, it really isn’t visible and in this case was just too tough to get off. I use the water and vinger solution and paper towels to clean gunk and residue left from the rust removal.
After you have cleaned it, then remove all the screws, if they are really stubborn, some WD-40 can help. Make sure to put all the screws into a baggie or other container so you can easily locate them again when you put it back together.
I place the trays on top of a cardboard box to paint them, so I can get to the sides and edges. I like glossy paint for metal projects to get that enamel look. For this cart I used Krylon in Watermelon and bought the Coral to freshen up a cute plant stand. Each tray takes about 2 coats sometimes a little more in spots. It will dry better than it looks, so don’t worry too much about little drips. I find it helpful to use rubber gloves when I paint, no matter how careful you are it gets messy.
I also go back over the stainless bars to get any areas I missed or couldn’t get to when they were attached. I let the trays dry for a few hours before putting it all back together and then overnight before moving or using it.
Above was my first cart do-over and you might noticed this cart is a different style. No handles and it also had a plug attached. These are later models and though the plug can be handy, I removed it which was easy to do. Old cords like that could present a bit of a hazard with modern appliances and I think it just looked better with out it. The handles do add value to these carts, but both types are highly desirable, I sold the blue one within 20 minutes of listing it on Facebook Marketplace.
I’ll be taking the pink one and a few other rehabbed pieces to sell at the Dodson Dig Parking Lot Dig this Sunday, April 28th. A fun one day event in Greenville that includes music and food trucks and lots of other vintage sellers. I will also being doing the Westy’s Spring Market on May 4th in Pelzer.
all photos & content © Lara Rossignol