Before and After: Vintage Typewriter Cart

Guest post by Nicole Phillips of Visual Heart

Andrew and I took a drive out of town to visit family and did our usual thrift store hunt for furniture. Just when we thought we found nothing, this awesome vintage typewriter cart was hiding amongst the junk for $5. I couldn’t believe the deal we got, I was super excited to paint it a fun colour.

I spent a long while debating between a spray painted finish or using a brush. Each had their pros and cons, but I kept being drawn back to hand painting due to my budget, we already had some awesome colours in a quality paint, foam rollers etc.. Spray paint is messy, expensive, requires many cans and needs to be done outside. While spray paint does give a smoother finish, the range of colours in a high quality durable finish is pretty boring. I specifically wanted a retro colour, pistachio, mint, light blue, something like that. After the ridiculousness we went through to paint our fridge, I wasn’t about to go through that again for this cart project.
In the end I went for a hand painted finish and I’ll tell you right now I don’t regret it, it just required a heck of a lot of patience and thin coats of paint alternating between the brush and foam roller.

Tools used:
Steel Wool
Paper Towel
Mini foam roller
Small paint brush
CIL Smart3 Primer
Benjamin Moore Advance High Gloss
Andrew was kind enough to do the dirty work and remove the dirt and rust with WD40 and steel wool. It took a while to get into all the grooves and clean up the surface, but it’s important to take your time and prep the surface.

We cleaned off the excess WD40 with paper towel and let it dry a bit before coating the entire surface in CIL Smart 3 Primer with a foam roller and small paint brush. Primer will even out the surface and help the top coat stick to the smooth finish. The best technique is to use the small brush to get in the corners and any places the roller won’t fit, and since the foam roller has some flex to it, I went over the brush marks as best as I could to smooth out the finish.
Once 2 coats of primer was applied I coated it in 2-3 coats of Benjamin Moore Advance High Gloss in Mantis Green.
The only issues I had in the end was the paint peeling off a bit where the hinges move, it’s just something I had to accept because of functionality, besides it’s not that noticeable since most of the movable parts of underneath the piece. I find it also adds to the character of the cart.

 About the contributor:
Nicole Phillips is a Vancouver based Graphic Designer and blogger.
You can learn more about her at or follow her creative side:

Jan Halvarson


Nina said...

Excellent color choice! Mint is not an obvious choice and it looks really really great!

Christina said...

That's so cute and unique. Love it!

- Christina

Brenda Pruitt said...

Super, super cute! I love the color you chose to paint it. A minty cool color. Well done!

Kristin Fleming said...

Great color!

Honora said...

My neighbor put one of these out on the street. I had to take it! I took it all apart and did the prep work, then spray painted it bright red! We then made a table top for it, and it became my sewing table. It didn't work out height wise, even though I adjusted it all. Now it holds succulents in my garden.

Julia said...

I actually bought a very similar army green typewriter table at a garage sale (the morning of my wedding, randomly enough). I'm wondering where you got the white tray you used to make a second shelf? We could really use something like that for ours! Thanks :)