We decided to get a 1x12x6 plank from Home Depot, which is 11 1/4 inches in actual width. It was a good fit as the cart was a little less than a foot in width.
Step 2: Cut and sand wood
We whipped out our jigsaw to cut our wood into 3 different pieces, measuring 18 3/4 inches in length each. If you have something that makes straighter cuts definitely use that. (Or get it cut at Home Depot if the cutting service is available. It wasn’t on the day we went.)
Then, we used our palm sander with 100 grit sandpaper since we just wanted to sand down the cuts. If you want to make your shelves smoother, you can use finer sandpaper after.
We had some remaining wood, which we made into a serving tray for a friend.
Step 3: Stain and polyurethane shelves
After sanding, we cleaned the pieces with a dry rag and applied 1 coat of Minwax Special Walnut stain. We let that sit overnight.
Then we finished the shelves with 1 coat of satin Minwax polyurethane and let that sit for about 5 hours since it was fast-drying.
Step 4: Assemble cart
We assembled the cart and tested it in situ before hacking it. Just to make sure it fits and we liked it. This way, if anything was wrong we could still return it. It passed the dry run.
Step 5: Spray paint cart
Next, we took the cart outside and spray painted it. This step was really quick and easy, and the cart was dry after just 10 minutes. The cart took two cans of spray paint to coat.
Step 5: Add shelves to cart
When everything was dry, we brought the cart back inside. Then, we placed a shelf on each tiers. If your shelves don’t slide right in at first, you can place a cloth on your shelf and lightly hammer the corners to get them in.
Step 6: Decorate!
Lastly, the fun part. We added some bottles of wine and gin, all our favorite glasses, our cocktail books and shaker, and a little bit of green. More to come.
Over the last two months that we’ve been using the cart, the shelves have worked perfectly and haven’t moved around at all.
We love how this turned out.
Hope this helps anyone wanting to make an inexpensive IKEA bar cart!