Top Social

How-To: Outdoor Rolling Cart


In re-designing our outdoor space, I realized we were lacking some storage.  Sure there were tables, chairs and a sectional, but no place to just set stuff. And while the garage was just a few steps away through the interior of the house, I learned quickly that it was just too far in the summer and therefore I just plopped things on the ground.

So we needed a flat surface to set stuff.  And it as luck would have it, we had a perfect awkward space for this storage to fit into.


It had to be pretty and look like furniture.  I was envisioning a simple slatted console-table like thingy.  That I could set stuff on. In a fun color. 

That was the very thorough description I gave to Derek.

He took it a couple of steps further and designed and made this-


A double decker rolling cart.

Backing up……

After I explained my master vision we headed off to the hardware store for some lumber and outdoor stain.  After much debate and price comparison we decided to go with cedar because it was not that much more expensive than pressure treated wood and I could treat it with color right away.  And it smelled nice.

And by much debate, I mean we put wood on the cart and then exchanged it for a different kind three times.  The Home Depot guys would have thought we were crazy if they did not know us so well from our frequent visits.

Anyway, we spent about $60 on wood.

Now for the Jenny version of the how-to (with pictures of course):

We made the frames for the shelves-IMG_0926

Added the slats-IMG_0927

Screwed on the legs-IMG_0928

Assembled the layers and added the wheels-IMG_0929

Simple right?

Well for the more technically inclined here is the Derek version with fancy schmancy measurements-

The cart is three main pieces.

The upper shelf is made completely of 1 x 4 boards.  The slats are 1x4 of 16 ¾ in length.  There are 9 of them spaced approximately ½ inch apart.  The long sides are two 1x4 boards hooked together.  The outer board is 7 inches shorter than the inner board (29”).  The inner board is 36” long.  This allows 3 ½ inches on each end for the vertical 2x4.  The short sides are connected with a 1x4 that is 11 ¾ inches long.  When looking at it from the short side you would see the 1 ½ inch side of the 2x4, then the ¾ inch side of the inner 1x4, the 11 ¾ inch 1x4 and then a mirror of the other side.  This totals out to 16 ¾ (1 ½ + ¾ + 11 ¾ + ¾ +1 ½)

The lower shelf is made the same way except the two outer slats are cut shorter to fit within the vertical 2x4’s. 

The vertical 2x4’s are however tall you want to make them.  Our cart is 37” from the bottom of the vertical 2x4’s to the top of the upper shelf (not counting the wheels).

OK enough of that…back to the pictures.

After the cart was assembled, it was my turn to take over with filling the nail/screw holes and sanding-IMG_0933

But happily we were going for a rustic outdoor look so not that much sanding was required.

Which is good because sanding is not rated as one my favorite DIY tasks.

I then finished it in an opaque stain in Shipmate Blue.IMG_0935

Ultimately I would have loved to do a semi-transparent stain in blue, but I could not buy it in a quart.  And I did not feel so strongly about it to justify the extra cash.

After two coats of stain we got this-IMG_0947

Or should I say this-IMG_0949

On a typical day I plan on housing most of my gardening supplies here so they are not just scattered around the deck. 

But it also can be used for this purpose-



Or for sangria...or a bucket of beer…..or lemonade.  Or setting the mint plant on there and whip up some mojitos.   Or a serving table for food.

Or a fiesta…


Confession- I was tempted to set up all of these those little vignettes and take pictures to illustrate the many uses of the outdoor cart.  But a) it would have been obvious that I had a little too much free time and b) my neighbors were in their backyard….they probably would not look at me the same after seeing me rearrange beverages on the cart six times and then snap pictures.  Especially at 8 on a weeknight when it was just the two of us outside. 

But I did capture the cart in all of it’s wheeling glory without causing neighborly concern.  It makes a perfect BBQing accessory-IMG_0954

It was super easy to construct (or so I am told) and cost less than $70 for all the materials.  And I love the pop of blue. 

It looks perfect in the completed outdoor space and I love the functionality.

Outdoor space 8/10

Outdoor space 8/10

16 comments on "How-To: Outdoor Rolling Cart"
  1. I see you have some A by Acacia red wine. How you have a not-empty bottle baffles me. That's one of my favorite red wines!

  2. I love this table and your choice of color. Amazing! Could your resident carpenter visit us in Maine? You could come too, to photograph, of course :)

  3. That is so super-awesome. I love the blue! And the rollyness of the cart. And the versatility! Will have to put this on my resident carpenter's to do list.

  4. Wow, I love this! So much nicer than some cheapo piece from Target. I also think the opaque stain is pretty awesome. Did you seal it with Thompson's?

    I love the idea of putting a gorgeous pitcher of margaritas or sangria on there, arranging my lovely glasses and accessories, and then standing around gloating while all my friends oooh'd and ahhhh'd. Great job!

  5. I love this! We just bought our first house and I have been scouring your blog for ideas. I think this table is a perfect idea for our patio. And I love how versatile it is. ;-)

  6. So what time is the party? I'll bring some guacamole and chips...

  7. Perfect!! I love everything you do, it so cute and clever. Love the white dishes!!

    Our backayrd patio is screaming for somthing this clever

  8. I love the pop of blue for the deck! And what a great idea to add the wheels, now the cart is ten times more versatile. And of course if I had one, it'd be for holding my bottles of wine too.

  9. Can I just say yet again that we are twins separated at birth? I just told hubby that I needed some sort of cart for the deck. But, I like yours better than what's in my head. ;) Thanks for the inspiration, Jenny.

  10. And, PS, I totally want to use opaque stain now. Ryan thanks you.

  11. Can I have your deck. I love everything you are doing with it, especially the pops of color.

  12. Hi, Jenny! I'm visiting from The Newlywoodwards blog. I love this cart, but I was wondering if you have to bring it in when it rains or store it in the winter? It would be such a helpful thing for me to have on my deck. :)

  13. Looks awesome and it is the perfect accent color for your deck!

  14. What a great project! And your tutorial makes it look easy. Love the color you used too!

  15. Just what I was looking for! My other option was to find an old thrift store table or kitchen cabinet and add wheels. I love this one - it's pretty!

  16. just spied this on pinterest! am thoroughly impressed and inspired by this cute rolling cart. thank you!