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Refinish a wooden trolley

From Designer DIY and DIY hacks - ideas and inspiration

Take an old wooden trolley and give it a glamorous new look with metallic paint.

These old wooden trolleys can make great bar carts, side tables or bookshelves. Sarah thought it would be fun to try giving this one a glam update using paints from the Resene FX Metallic range, perfect for displaying beautiful flowers and personal treasures.

Tray before
Trolley - before

Gold painted bar cart
Refinished trolley/cart

Finished bar chart
Refinished trolley/cart

You will need

  • A wooden trolley or similar item
  • Painter’s masking tape
  • Resene testpot brushes
  • Sandpaper or an electric sander
  • Testpot roller kit
  • Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat


Learn how to refinish a wooden trolley/cart:

Step 1
Step 1a

Step 1b
Step 1b

Step 2
Step 2

Step 1:  Clean the trolley and then sand it all over with an electric sander. You could also sand it by hand with sandpaper. The counter tops on Sarah’s trolley had some water damage and cup stains so Sarah sanded back as far as she could to lift them as much as possible. Sometimes you won’t be able to achieve a perfect surface with second-hand items but it all adds to the character of the piece.

Or if the surface is smooth and in good condition and you are planning to paint all areas, you can clean it and then apply Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface which will provide a surface for the topcoats to grip onto.

Step 2:  Paint the frame of the trolley with one coat of Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat using a testpot brush. Mask off the counter tops to protect them if you plan to stain them rather than paint them (as Sarah has done). Allow to dry.

Step 3
Step 3

Step 4
Step 4

Step 5a
Step 5

Step 3:  Apply two coats of Resene FX Metallic paint in your choice of colour – Sarah used Resene Gold. When applying metallic paint it is important to apply the paint in one direction, for the best reflective finish. Allow time to dry between coats and after applying the second coat.

Step 4:  Apply two coats of your second chosen colour – Sarah used Resene FX Metallic Goldmine to give the perfect shade of glam gold for the trolley.

Step 5b
Step 5b

Step 5c
Step 5c

Detail of cart

Step 5:  Mask off the painted areas and stained the wooden counter tops with Resene Colorwood stain in Resene Bark. Use an old rag to apply this. You may need to use two coats depending how dark you want the stain colour to be. Once dry apply three coats of Resene Aquaclear Gloss to the countertops and add to the glam finish.

NB. Sarah did not apply any Resene Aquaclear varnish over the metallic paint as this can change the way it looks. Best idea is to try it on a test area first to check you are happy with the gloss clear coat on top. Once completed, style with your favourite accessories.

Top tip: For extra fun paint the counter tops in Resene FX Blackboard Paint and then you can write fun party messages onto your bar cart.

Project and photography by Sarah Herring. 2020

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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