Cheap. Quick. Useful. Need I say more?

Rolling Outdoor Bar Cart

Hey folks,

It’s summertime and I know you have outdoor plans.  Good news:  You’ve still got time before your July 4th cookout to build this one, so get to it!  This is a great project from Ana White, a rolling outdoor bar cart.  If you haven’t come across her site yet, you are likely to fall in love with it (and her) like I have.

Here’s the deal:  Ana posts awesome projects with tons of pictures, detailed instructions, a shopping list, a tool list, a cut list and even 3-D drawings.  Anything else you need?  Nope.

You’ll find all the info you need below to knock out this project in a skinny minute.


DIY rolling outdoor bar cart plans


About Project

Author Notes:

Hello DIY Friends!!!

Happy Monday!  Are you looking forward to celebrating our country’s birthday soon?

My friend Jen wanted to make a serving cart / bar cart / island or in general awesome work table in festive Fourth of July colors, so we worked on a design together and guess what?

This awesomeness happened!!!

For those of you who don’t know Jen, Jen is my good friend in real life, and she’s always wanted to tackle projects but doesn’t necessarily have the building experience.  So I’m helping her learn to build projects, and she’s sharing her projects (and trials and tips) with you!

Here’s from Jen:

When Ana showed me this project I was really excited about it, because it could be used indoor or outdoor and her plans made it super easy to build myself. That’s what it’s all about for me. I don’t have days or weeks to build something. I have a few hours at best before my 3 children NEED me and my attention! So this was a perfect project to get in, get out, and be done with it!

Not to mention the fact that I could actually use it. I love that it is on casters and can be moved from inside to out or around my house as needed.

So, to begin with, I got to work with a super awesome saw! This thing is so sweet it puts other saws to shame! I started on my cuts from the cut list Ana provided. The first thing I did was cut the ends of my boards to square them up.


Let me tell you why I liked this saw so much. My first cuts were the longer cuts on the 2 x 4’s. Once I had my first cut done to the measurement I wanted I set the saw guides to that length, then guess what?!? for the next 3 cuts I didn’t have to measure anything. I layed my next board down, shoved it against the guide and cut! So this thing is great for mass production, I just got a taste of it’s awesomeness!

NOTE FROM ANA: The saw stand has the guides.  The stand was free with purchase of the saw at The Home Depot.

So I went ahead and made all the cuts from the cut list. There was all the lumber I needed to build this nice rolling bar cart in 9 boards! At this point I got really stoked, because I know shortly I’ll be looking at the actual build!

So I started by building the top and bottom box. I clamped the boards together and predrilled a couple holes at each union. Be sure your drill bit is slightly smaller than the diameter of your screws.Then I ran the screws in my pilot holes and in no time I had my top and bottom framework!


Once I had those done I layed them on the floor and attached the two uprights to connect them on all four corners. Once again I used clamps to make sure the entire thing was square. Then again, I drilled my pilot holes and sunk my screws.

Frame done!


Time to attach the slats. You are going to want to glue these to the frame before stapling. As I mentioned before I don’t have a lot of time, so instead of measuring and marking the placement of each slat, I found the middle and worked my way out as far as placing them. I just eyed the spacing.

I am not a perfectionist, so this works for me. I did use a 2 x 4 as shown as a spacer to line up each board on the back side. Simply clamp the 2 x 4 to the frame and before attaching the slats make sure they are flush with the outside of the 2 x 4, move it and clamp it as needed to check flush.


Once they looked good, I glued them, and started shooting them in with my Ryobi Airstrick stapler. Be sure your staple gun is set for a depth that will set the staples just below the surface. I used 1 ¼ “ staples.


I did the same for the bottom.


At this point I thought I was done with the build and and it was time to finish it, however, something was missing……….BUT what?!?

It just felt like it needed a little extra refining. So I decided to add the

1 x 2 to the top and bottom on front and back to finish the look. THAT was the missing piece! Now I was happy, it looks great and all I had to do now was putty, sand, prime and paint. Well time was up for my little ones, so I told Ana I’d be back the next day to finish it. They gave me a good 2 hours!


The next day we were back and I was really excited to see the finished product! I started by puttying all the screw holes and the staple indents, that went quick and it was dry in a matter of minutes and ready for sanding.

I’ve only used a couple of sanders in my short experience of building. BUT, this one was really nice and comfortable to use, the sanding pads were super easy to install and it did a great job.


After sanding it was time to prime and paint the project.


I am not a professional painter or spray painter, but decided to spray paint this project, which made me a little nervous. Let’s just say, I’ve royally messed up at spray painting a repurposed desk before. With a few pointers from my husband and good friend Ana, I found it liberating on a job well done.

I started by priming the under carriage,

Then flipped it upright to prime the rest

Now for the RED!


There is was in all it’s red glory! Just as I imagined it, only better, mainly because I built it!

Then after adding the caster wheels and handle – it’s done!

For the beverage storage, I just used galvanized buckets – super cheap from The Home Depot.

The tags are just scrap 1/4″ plywood with chalkboard paint – I love free stuff you can make with scraps!

The handle is pipe fittings.

I love how it could double as a towel bar too!


You can make this bar cart too for under $50 – the plans follow-

Hope you enjoy all of your Independence Day celebrations, and don’t forget to be safe!

Can’t wait for my next project!


Materials and Tools

Shopping List:
  • 4 – 2 x 4 x 8′
  • 3 – 1 x 4 x 10′
  • 2 – 1 x 2 x 8′
  • 2-1/2″ exterior screws
  • 1-1/4″ galvanized staples or screws (for attaching slats)
  • glue
  • 4 – 4″ caster wheels
  • towel bar or pipe fitting for towel bar
  • glue, paint and primer
  • 2 1/2 inch screws
  • wood glue
  • wood filler
  • primer
  • paint
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • safety glasses
  • hearing protection
  • drill
  • compound miter saw
  • sander
  • staple gun
  • countersink drill bit

Cut List

Cut List:
  • 4 – 2 x 4 @ 12-3/4″ – End Aprons
  • 4 – 2 x 4 @ 34-1/4″ – Side Aprons
  • 4 – 2 x 4 @ 31-1/4″ – Legs
  • 2 – 1 x 4 @ 12-3/4″ – Shorter bottom shelf slats
  • 18 – 1 x 4 @ 15-3/4″ – Top and bottom shelf slats
  • 4 – 1×2 @ 37-1/4″ – End Trim

Step 1

Assemble the two frames first with 2-1/2″ exterior screws and wood glue.

Step 2

Attach the legs to the frames.

Step 3

Attach slats to frame tops with either staples, nails or screws using glue.

Step 4

Trim edges out with 1x2s with glue and staples, nails or screws.

Step 5

Attach caster wheels to bottoms with screws.

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions:

Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

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