Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to Make An Art Cart

I needed a movable work station in my studio and it needed to be higher than the desk surface I'd lean over to put together frames or making boxes to ship paintings. Hard on the back! I also wanted a flat surface on which I could experiment with new painting approaches. So, what to do! Wanted to keep expenses at a minimum. What could I salvage from things in the garage? Ah ha! A set of drawers saved from a kitchen remodel and kind of being used in the garage. A saved counter top from the remodeled laundry room! Leftover luan and plywood sheets from other projects! Salvaged wood braces from packaging around some new windows we had put in last year! A can full of numerous sized screws I was given from my grandpa's workshop years ago. Now I can show my husband all my saving of left over scraps has a purpose!

Next, tools! Circular hand saw - check, fine tooth hand saw - check, sander - check, drill - check, hammer - check, power screw driver - check, awl - check, tape measure - check, The makings of an art cart can happen!

I drew out my design based on features I wanted. Figured out the skeleton structure and obviously tweaked a few things - mainly support features as the project was in the making. Made several trips to Home Depot (love that store!) - 1x2s Premium grade (part of the skeleton), 3/8" tempered hardwood (for vertical dividers), door pulls (to match my 'store bought' painting cart), heavy duty casters, corner angles, corner molding for trim, paint pads, and a few certain size screws. Plus some special furniture paint from another store (see below).

Here's the cart as it came into being:
Talk about a mess in the studio - too cold to work in the garage!
Put some shelves on the backside!
Just about ready to prime. Notice the grooves in the bottom plywood and in 1x2's above - for tempered hardboard vertical dividers.
Note the support braces in the corners.

Salvaged wood from the new window packaging came in handy. Perfect for support of the casters! 

Used Glidden "Gripper" Grey to prime the unfinished wood. Used grey because my finish coat would be black. Great primer! Then lightly sanded to get a smooth surface for the two finish coats.
Used Plexiglass - this way I could see what was on the shelf!
Backside of cart with useful shelves!

Had to show my 'secret' shelf for flat work (just above the drawer) - small but useful.

Love these paint pads - no brush strokes, paint goes on smooth and quicker than with a brush. Olde Century Colors paint is specifically for furniture - wonderful creamy consistency and great coverage!

The finished cart! Boy is it every handy!

Part of the real me - give me a hammer and a saw and I'm a happy camper! Hammer and saw projects began as a young gal - little boats with old sheet sails to float down the gutter after a good rain, go-cart, gun rack for my 4-10 shotgun, miniature golf course in the back yard... Later years - play house for our two young sons, movable phone cart (for those 'old fashioned dial phones), master bedroom closet, closet for my studio... 
Hey, I'd better stop building and get to painting impacts of light!


Indigene said...

This is absolutely amazing! Beautiful craftsmanship!

Nancy Teague said...

Thanks Indigene! Hey, enjoyed looking at your work - love your unique compositions and colorful expressions. BTW - I can relate to staying up late and painting into the wee hours - only to mess up the next day and future sleep rhythms! But those late nights of creative flow are sweet.

cissy said...

Nancy, this is just what I want for the studio. I gave my big drawing board to my granddaughter........Now I need something. Would you mind telling me the sizes. I really enjoy following your blog. This whole blog world is such a wonderful adventure, so much talent, I love it.

Nancy Teague said...

Glad you enjoy my blog! Encouraging.
The formica top on the art cart is 4'W x 2'D x 3/4" thick. Had this top on hand so worked within that surface space to design the unit underneath. Let the counter top hang over an inch on all sides so I would have an edge to grab onto when I wanted to move the cart. I secured the top with small corner angles.
The bottom unit is 46"W x 22"D. Overall height is 37" (I am 5'8" so this is a great working height for me.) I used 2 1/2" heavy duty casters (with ball bearing support they measure 3")so keep that in consideration as you determine the working height you desire. Side note, the front two casters have the locking feature.
Since the used drawer unit is only 18" deep I was able to add 4" deep shelves on the back that are 16" W (inside measurement).
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.
Maybe I should scan the drawing I did when I first was figuring out my design and post it!?

cissy said...

Thanks Nancy! That helps, I can just find some boxes and try doing a mock up to see how it will work. I really appreciate your generosity.

Patty said...

I came across your blog after searching for how to make an art cart. Great idea. It turned out really nice.

Nancy Teague said...

Patty, thanks for your comment. Hope it was of some help in your art cart making project! Happy construction times to you. ;o)