This IKEA bar cart hack will have you saying “sip sip hooray!” OK sorry, I know that’s cheesy but I couldn’t help myself! I’m so pumped to show you how to transform an IKEA Rast dresser into a portable bar cart for the home.
Why turn the IKEA Rast into a bar cart?
When assembled, the IKEA Rast dresser is extraordinarily basic and very small in scale. Honestly, it’s more like a nightstand than a dresser.
Perhaps because of its small stature, it is priced at only $39.99! (That’s the current price at the time of updating this post in 2021.)
It’s SO plain that it’s the perfect piece to hack into a bar cart with ample storage for everything you need in a bar cart! The drawer is especially handy for storing things, too.
Because of that, I knew I wanted to transform the Rast dresser into a bar cart. Let me show you why and how!
Supplies Needed for This IKEA Bar Cart Hack
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With the basic shape of my bar cart in mind, I set aside some supplies I had on hand and also went shopping at my new Menards (which is amazing, by the way), to take my IKEA Rast from Plain Jane to amazing.
Here’s what I used to transform my Rast dresser into a fabulous bar cart:
- Wood filler (paintable and stainable)
- Putty knife
- Nails & screws
- Wood glue
- Miter box and saw
- Circular saw
- Paint brushes
- Three 1″ x 36″ square dowels
- Precut section of 1/2″ thick birch plywood
- Four casters
- Two Hickory Hardware Williamsburg 3″ Narrow Cup Pulls
- Two Hickory Hardware Williamsburg 3″ Drawer Pulls
How to Make This DIY IKEA Bar Cart Hack
Step One: Assemble the Majority of the Rast Dresser
So with the help of my three-year-old son and his plastic tools (yes, seriously), I assembled the majority of the dresser, but left off the back particle board, the bottom two drawers, and the bottom lip (that goes under the bottom drawer). I assembled everything else according to IKEA’s directions.
Step Two: Fill Holes
Next, I used wood filler to fill in the preexisting hardware holes in the drawer and along the inside of the dresser (where the bottom two drawers would have been).
Step Three: Create the Wine Bottle Holder
Next, using the jigsaw, my husband helped me cut semi-circles out of the bottom lip of the dresser to create the wine bottle holder! You can see in the photo below that I traced semi-circles where I wanted him to cut.
Once it was all cut, I then put that piece onto the bottom of the dresser, right in its designated spot.
Step Four: Cut the Bar Cart Backboard and Bottom
Next up, my husband cut the beadboard (for the back of the bar cart), and birch plywood (for the bottom of the bar cart), to size for me. (I wish I had the dimensions for you, but I’m sorry that I didn’t write that down!)
He was not thrilled about this and kept lecturing me about how I need to learn to use the power tools. I bought him some beer to calm him down. (UPDATE: Now (2021) I could totally do this myself.)
Step Five: Sand and Prime
Next, I primed everything with a coat of oil-based primer. (Remember, I was using the oil-based trim and door paint that is no longer available. Depending on the paint you choose, you may not need oil-based primer!)
Step Six: Attach the Backboard and the Bar Cart Bottom
Once the primer dried, I nailed the beadboard into place for the back of the bar cart, and screwed the bottom onto the cart.
Step Seven: Create the Bar Cart Top Tray
Then came the worst part. I had to do a lot of measuring (I really do not like math), in order to make a tray-type trim around the top of the bar cart. My husband was cracking up at me trying to “measure twice, cut once” and took this lovely photo of me. (OK, he actually took like 50 because it took a super long time. You don’t need to see all of those.) And even with all the time spent, I still messed up a couple of times. Good thing I had an extra dowel.
And then, I think simply for his own amusement, he had me hand saw the square dowels in the miter box so that I’d get a perfect fit for the tray trim on top. I seriously think I pulled a muscle from all that sawing. But I have to admit that he was right – using the miter box was the way to go. (Another 2021 update: now I would’ve used my Ryobi Miter Saw).
I glued the dowels to the top of the dresser/bar cart with a thin layer of wood glue and clamped (and weighted) them down to make sure they’d really stick. (Can you see the bribery beer in the top right of this picture?)
Step Eight: Drill Holes
After I was convinced my dowels were not going anywhere, I drilled holes for my new hardware in the drawer and on the left and right side of the dresser/bar cart, drilled holes for my casters on the bottom, and got ready to add some color!
Step Nine: Paint the Bar Cart
I gave the dresser/bar cart two coats of Pittsburgh Paint Trim Door and Furniture Paint in Charcoal, and that was it. Because it’s a gel-type consistency with a hard finish, no topcoat was needed! (Again, this paint is no longer available!)
Step Ten: Add the Hardware and Casters to the Bar Cart
After letting it thoroughly dry, I popped in my new hardware from Hickory Hardware and my casters, and rolled my bar cart inside! Isn’t she cute?!?
She’s so perfect for a small at-home bar, too! Wine rests in the bottom scalloped shelf, and glassware fits right in the little shelf above.
The drawer is the perfect spot for storing things like bottle openers, wine stoppers, martini shakers, coasters, etc. And I just LOVE how the gorgeous hardware pops against the charcoal finish of the piece!
The drawer pulls I added to each side are a great place to hang tea towels. They also serve as handles for moving the bar cart around. Double duty!
And the little tray-edging I added around the top is a great way to prevent things from falling off the cart when it’s moving.
I’m so happy with how my IKEA bar cart hack turned out! Can we raise a glass and cheers to that?
I really hope you enjoyed this IKEA Rast hack! Now go have a drink. Cheers!