DRAGGAN cart facelift – from rusty to fresh new look

Here’s another makeover of an old IKEA item at home. In this case, I am refurbishing an old DRAGGAN cart that got rusty over time. It’s a very easy hack that embellishes perfectly a corner of my dining room as it provides some quick-access storage.

Before starting, the shelves were all rusty and had definitely seen better days so, making new shelves was a no-brainer. Since my dining area has a slight “Industrial” flavor, I thought the well-known black frame plus wooden shelves combo would be a sure win to fit within the area theme.

This was the sad before …

draggan trolley

Related: IKEA bar cart hack (That’s not the usual gold & marble)

Ikea items used: 
Other materials and tools:
  • Two 1000x100x5mm balsa-wood (length x width x thickness) (Plywood is also a nice alternative)
  • 18x built-in nail cable-clips (inner diameter 10mm)
  • 1x primer spray for steel (500ml)
  • 1x Matt-black spray (500ml)
  • Oak tint varnish (oil can also work)
  • Grades 200, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 sandpaper
  • Some masking tape (for the screws)
  • Wood glue (CA is optional)
  • Xacto knife
  • 20mm paintbrush

Steps for DRAGGAN cart facelift:

The frame:

Disassemble the entire DRAGGAN cart by removing the 18 screws.

Take out the wheels.

You won’t need the shelves for this hack. In my case, they were very rusty and hard to recover so I threw them away.

Sand the entire frame with a grade 400 sandpaper to remove the coating and enable the primer to stick to the steel. Use a grade 600 (and optionally an 800) sandpaper to improve the final results before applying the primer. This is definitely the most time-consuming step of all process but if you make sure to go over every single pipe and joint, the final result will payoff.

Apply at least 2 primer layers, sanding with a grade 1000 between them. Optionally, you can go for a third one.

When spraying over the screws, make sure to cover the thread with some masking tape so it does not get paint over it.

Spray paint the chosen color in very lightweight layers. (Matt-black is the best for Industrial theme.) Try not covering too much in each layer. It’s best to have 5-6 very thin layers than a single heavy one.

The shelves

There are three shelves. From top-view they look like a rectangle with overall dimensions: 345x300mm (base x height).


You need to make three pallet-shaped shelves. These are made out of two different types of wood stripes plus some corner reinforcements with the following dimensions (quantity per shelf x length x width x thickness):

  • Type 1: 3x 302x20x5mm (9 in total)
  • Type 2: 10x 345x25x5mm (30 in total)
  • Corner reinforcements: 6x 20x20x5mm (18 in total)

If you’re using balsa-wood, you can cut them to shape with an Xacto-knife and a metallic ruler. Otherwise you can always use a saw.

balsa wood strips

Before glueing, sand any imperfections at the edges.

Glue them together at the contact areas, spacing them evenly: 142,5mm between each pair of the three main stripes and 5,5mm between each pair of the 10 top stripes.

balsa wood pallet

Glue also the corner reinforcements at the bottom of the three main stripes; 10mm away from the edges.

Apply some Oak-tinted varnish with a paintbrush. Several layers will be needed as balsa-wood is very thirsty. Make sure to apply thin layers and to sand in between for better layer adhesion.

balsa wood pallet as shelves
Final assembly

While the paint dries, assemble the entire steel frame, including the wheels.

Each shelf is attached to the frame by means of some built-in nail cable-clips with inner diameter 10mm and preferably black finish. Use short nails if possible.

IKEA Draggan cart industrial style

Nail them at the corner reinforcements, 6 times per shelf in order to fix each shelf to the frame.

Et voilá!

IKEA Draggan cart industrial style

You got yourself a nice looking and fresh cart, useful for storing napkins, straws and any other stuff for dining. This was a simple yet fun project that added a lot of value to the dining area 🙂

While you’re here, check out my other hack — transforming an old IKEA footstool with new fabric and added storage.

See you at the next hack!

~ by Diego Pintos