Want to add a bit of mid-’60s sophistication to your next summer soiree? Create your very own bar cart — and related cocktail-time accessories — with repurposed materials. Read on for ideas we hope you’ll love.
DIY Galvanized Pipe Bar Cart
Made entirely from tool shed and hardware store materials, like galvanized pipe and plywood, this sleek modern bar cart is perfect for bringing a touch of Mad Men glam to your summer fiesta.
The best part of this upcycled idea? You create the entire thing yourself, meaning you can craft your cart in any size to fit small spaces or large.
Upcycled Dresser Bar Cart
This upcycled dresser bar cart from Bliss Ranch is seriously genius. It has everything you need, from an ice bin up top for bottled beverages to a counter station for cutting garnishes and storing all of your must-have tools.
Fitted inside a dresser drawer, the makeshift well even has a custom-made wood insert to keep all those bottles from sliding around. Those crafty folks at Bliss Ranch thought of everything!
The husband-and-wife design team behind Bliss Ranch scored a disheveled dresser for free at a yard sale to complete this project. But you can use any thrifted or unused piece that strikes your fancy, for example an old-school hutch or dusty entertainment center.
Head to Bliss Ranch for a run-down of the project to snag the look for yourself.
Tip: Create a shabby-chic look like this one, or use colored spray paint for a sleek and streamlined appeal. Get creative!
Upcycled Pushcart Bar Cart
Can you look at a dirty old metal cart and see its reuse potential? Blogger Wendy of My French Twist did when she decided to transform a rusty industrial pushcart into a cheerful bar cart for her deck. After washing and sanding the cart, she drilled drainage holes in the shelves so rainwater won’t collect and ruin all her hard work.
Next came priming and several coats of paint. She added a chrome wine glass holder for the finishing touch, and her refurbished cart was ready for her next outdoor gathering. Find her upcycled bar cart instructions on French Twist.
DIY Bar Tray
While Chan started her project by purchasing her tray, we think this would be a great upcycling project for an old serving tray you don’t use — or one you find at a garage sale or thrift shop. With just a bit of sprucing up, some hardware, and a repurposed tray stand, your bar tray is ready to go.
Tip: We’ve seen some similar projects that use other items instead of a tray, like this suitcase table project from Instructables. Just add shaker, bottles, and glasses!
Upcycled Record Coasters
You may not be crooning along to Nat King Cole on the turntable like Don and Joan. But thanks to this creative project from Ashlee Park of My So Called Crafty Life, you can put your cocktail on those old 45s instead.
Made from old vinyl records and their protective cardboard sleeves, these whimsical coasters are sure to start a conversation around your upcycled bar. Check out Park’s tutorial at My So Called Crafty Life to try it for yourself.
Mirror Serving Tray
Every throwback bar cart needs a classy tray for serving cocktails, but you don’t need to spend big bucks to impress your party guests.
Made from a refurbished mirror, this posh serving tray is sure to get the attention of the refined revelers at your next swanky soiree.
So, pull that old mirror out of your closet (or hit the thrift store to give a low-priced pick new life), and check out this step-by-step tutorial from DIY Inspired blogger Dinah Wulf. Trust us, the homely “before” and the elegant “after” will amaze you.
Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker
You’re already embracing a retro feel with your upcycled bar cart. So, why not add to the oh-so-mod vibe with your very own cocktail shaker made from a repurposed Mason jar?
Upcycled Denim Cocktail Napkins
Ditch the paper cocktail napkins in favor of a stylish and reusable alternative — like these fun printed pieces made from old jeans.
Adding prints and patterns to your trashed denim may look a bit tedious, but Brit + Co. production manager Misty Spinney makes it look surprisingly easy.
Check out her tutorial for step-by-step instructions with photos to help you do it right. And give your old jeans a new lease on life.
Tip: Need something to mix up at your brand new bar? Check out these refreshing warm-weather recipes that also help you cut back on food waste: Spring Cocktail Recipes Made with Leftover Produce
Feature image: Nancy Choi of Life: Designed. Originally published on June 6, 2013, this article was updated in June 2023.