Best of DIY | Vintage Typewriter Cart

Do you ever kick yourself for selling something you loved? Well, that's how I'm feeling today after I came across this photo this week (on another site) of this typewriter cart we bought from Nicole Phillips of Visual Heart

At least we have the pictures, and Nicole's post she shared with us here on the blog on the beautiful before and after she did on it.  I decided today, in the spirit of missing it, to post the project again for any new readers that may have missed it.  And maybe in hopes of another cart just like it showing up in our life soon.  Click below for the before and after as we originally posted back in 2014.

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


Nicole said...

Thanks for sharing again! I feel your pain because I really miss it too and I had the same feelings after giving it to you! haha but hopefully there will be another one someday...

nancy in novato said...

love love love the makeover

Jan Halvarson said...

Thanks Nicole - that's funny - we both have sellers remorse.

Jan Halvarson said...

Nancy - right? Such a great colour!

Danny Culpepper said...

Thank you for re-posting this article. I hadn't found your site before today. I actually have the exact same dark grey, vintage typewriter cart. What's keeping me from painting it? The finish is immaculate; absolutely pristine condition. But oh, how your beautiful color makes me want to paint it now!