This DIY prep and serve cart would make a fine addition to your patio, deck or porch. Use it to serve snacks to guests. It also would make a fine prep table for grilling. The cart is attractive, and since it has wheels, you can roll it away when it’s not in use.
Just follow the step-by-step tutorial to build your own rolling prep and serve cart.
DIY Prep and Serve Cart
- Liberty 15⅛ in. Brushed Steel Bar or Delta Trinsic 12 in. Towel Bar – QTY 1
- Liberty Hardware 1½ in. Satin Nickel Post Hook – QTY 1
- Liberty Hardware 4 in. Industrial Casters – QTY 4
- Behr ST-141 Tugboat Semi Transparent Waterproofing Wood Stain
- 4 – 2 x 4 x 8 ft. common boards
- 3 – 1 x 4 x 10 ft. common boards
- 2 – 1 x 2 x 8 ft. common boards
- 2½ in. exterior screws
- 1¼ in. 18 gauge brad nails
- Wood glue
The inspiration for this DIY project came from one of my favorite bloggers, Ana White. We followed her plan for the DIY Rolling Cart, and you can find the original plan here.
- 4 – 2 x 4 @ 12¾ in. – End aprons
- 4 – 2 x 4 @ 34¼ in. – Side aprons
- 4 – 2 x 4 @ 31¼ in. – Legs
- 2 – 1 x 4 @ 17¼ in. – Caster brace
- 2 – 1 x 4 @ 12¾ in. – Shorter bottom shelf slats
- 18 – 1 x 4 @ 15¾ in. – Top and bottom shelf slats
- 4 – 1 x 2 @ 37¼ in. – End trim
Measure mark and cut all your boards before starting onto Step 1.
Tip: If you do not have a miter saw or table saw, your local Home Depot store can make the cuts for you. They also have a tool rental service, which is a great way to try out tools at home before purchasing your own.
Step 1: Build Top and Bottom Frames
Lay out your 34¼ in. side aprons with 12¾ in. end aprons fitted in-between like the photo above.
Attach the corners together using 2½ in. screws. I chose to use two screws in each corner, one placed towards the top and one placed towards the bottom. Continue to attach the end and side aprons until you have completely built both frames.
Step 2: Add Legs
Keep your bottom frame resting on the ground and place the 31¼ in. leg on the exterior corner. Be sure to align the edges up and hold tightly. Using your 2½ in. exterior screws attach the leg to the frame. Use two screws in each leg attachment for a tight fit.
Repeat this process until you have all four legs attached to the frame.
Flip the frame with legs attached upside down so that you can slot in the second frame like shown in the photo above. If you kept all edges aligned the legs should align perfectly with the second frame. Use 2½ in. exterior screws to attach the second frame to the base.
Your final product should look like the below photo.
Step 3: Add Top Slats
Start by laying out and spacing the 10 slats cut to 15¾ in. across the top. I found it helpful to use the head of a screw for spacing consistency.
Once you have the slats laid out, use your nail gun to attach. I started on the two exterior slats and worked my way in. The spacing is difficult to maintain, but if you work your way outside in, you can eyeball a little extra spacing for a cohesive look.
Step 4: Add Bottom Slats
Start by attaching the two shorter slats cut at 12¾ in. to the exterior edges. Using the same spacing and attachment method, add the remaining eight bottom slats.
Step 5: Add Caster Brace
Flip your cart upside down. Take the two 1 x 4 @ 17¼ in. boards and align them with the exterior edges. You want to alight the board along the outside apron and the two leg edges. This will provide a brace and additional for your casters.
Use your nail gun and wood glue to attach the brace. I recommend starting from the outside and working your way in. I also recommend adding 2½ in. screws into the ends for additional support.
Step 6: Sand the edges
Using an orbital sander, lightly sand the edges to remove any roughness. If your placement of slats was uneven, you can sand deeper on a slat sticking out farther as well.
Step 7: Stain
Apply the Waterproofing Wood Stain in the direction of the wood grain over the rolling cart with a brush or a clean cloth.
I wanted a medium stain, so I allowed it to sit for 10 minutes and added a second coat.
If needed, remove excess stain with a clean cloth before moving on to the next step.
Step 8: Add Casters
Align your caster with the brace and mark placement of the holes. Using a 5/32 in. drill bit pre-drill for mounting.
Take a washer and place it over the base of a 2½ in. screw. Align the screw and washer with the base and attach them to the brace.
Step 9: Add Towel Bar
Add the Trinsic 12 in. Towel Bar per the included installation instructions. You will not have to add the wall anchors as this will be attached directly into the wood of the cart.
I chose this towel bar for its size, but if you are looking for a larger towel bar or something that can be purchased in store immediately you can substitute for the Liberty 15 1/8 in. Brushed Steel Bar or Delta Lyndall 18 in. Towel Bar.
Step 10: Add Hooks
This hook has an awesome mounting system that makes installation a breeze! Start by removing the mounting clip, placing in desired location and marking its placement.
Pre-drill the desired placement with a 5/32 in. drill bit.
Attach the mounting clip with the included installation hardware.
Slide the hook over the mounting clip so that it catches and voila!
Step 11: Enjoy
The prep and serve cart can be used indoors or outdoors. I love the additional prepping space it provides for cook outs in our backyard! It also provides ample storage space for grilling tools and beverages!