House to Home, Make & Do

How to Upcycle a Tea Trolley into a Drinks Trolley

I have been saving pictures of gorgeous drinks trolleys on my Instagram account for months now. But whenever I looked into buying a drinks trolley, they are all mega expensive. I’d rather rescue something old from landfill than buy a new one anyway. So I’ve been scouring eBay, Gumtree and my local Facebook selling pages, to see if I could get an old trolley to upcycle. And finally, a few weeks ago, I found The One. This old vintage tea trolley looked kind of sad, but was only £10, so I snapped it up. I upcycled this old tea trolley into this fab pink and gold drinks trolley quickly and easily, using Frenchic paint. Let me show you how!

Pink and gold bar cart

How My Drinks Trolley Started Off

Because I’d been looking for ages, I found a trolley that looked OK to start with. I love the gold frame, and it’s fairly sturdy. The wheels are a bit rusty, but I’m OK with that. The only thing I didn’t like was the metallic brown trays. They made it look so dated, and brown doesn’t go with anything in our house.

Vintage tea trolley before being painted

It was time to get the Frenchic paint out!

About Frenchic Paint

I’m a fairly recent convert to Frenchic paint – an eco-friendly paint that is incredibly versatile.

“An all-natural, eco-friendly paint that requires no stirring, shaking or the addition of water. We don’t add VOC’s, toxins or solvents and it has virtually no smell, so great for painting indoors! Frenchic Furniture Paint has endured rigorous testing and has been EN:71-3 certified, meaning it is safe to paint children’s toys and nursery furniture.


They have a few different kinds, including more traditional wall paint. But the game-changing kind for me is their Al Fresco range, which can be used on exteriors. The amazing thing about it is, that it doesn’t give off tonnes of noxious fumes, and it dries very, very quickly.

“As with our indoor paint, the Al Fresco Collection is EN:71-3 certified meaning safe to paint children’s toys, it has little to no odour with very low VOC content. It is hard wearing, weatherproof with a robust and chalk finish and of course, it paints like a dream!”


This isn’t the first time I’ve used Frenchic paint – I used the Blackjack shade very successfully on my fireplace makeover.

You can use Al Fresco on practically anything. I’ve also used it to paint an old faux-leather chest, the inside of a uPVC door, a wooden stool, place mats, and now this vintage tea trolley. Apparently you can even use it to paint fabric, but I haven’t tested that.

How I Prepped My Tea Trolley for Painting

It couldn’t be easier to prep a surface for painting with Frenchic paint. You don’t need to sand it – just a quick clean with some hot soapy water, and you’re good to go.

I used masking tape to cover the edges of the trays. This was a little fiddly, but not too bad.

Vintage tea trolley with masking tape
I masked off the gold tray edges before painting.

Next, you just need to apply very thin layers of paint, I did five. I only waited about half an hour between coats (though I think they recommend 2 hours). So this made it super quick and easy! This is how it looked as I painted the coats – the first one looked terrible but it soon looked good.

You’ve probably noticed the tone has changed a bit between coats 3 and 4. I mixed my own shade of pale pink, using Al Fresco Dazzle Me! and Hottie. I realised it was a bit darker than I wanted, so added more of the white.

I removed the masking tape, but unfortunately some of the paint came away too. So annoying!

Edges of paint pulled off with masking tape

Luckily, it’s easily rectified, using an artist’s paintbrush and a couple of coats of paint. I did wonder if I’d have been better off without the masking tape, but I think I would have spent ages wiping paint off the sides of the tray.

You need to wait for about two weeks for Al Fresco paint to cure, but then it’s really hard wearing.

My Finished Upcycled Drinks Trolley

I couldn’t be happier with my upcycled tea trolley bar cart. It cost under £30 for the trolley and paint, and I have loads of paint left over. Plus it’s the exact shade of blush pink I wanted. It goes so well in our lounge, and is the perfect addition to our cosy reading nook.

Easy DIY. How to Upcycle a Drinks Trolley Using Frenchic Paint

I hope you like my easy way to revamp an old tea trolley into an on-trend bar cart, why not pin my tutorial for later?

How to Upcycle a Vintage Tea Trolley into an on trend pink and gold Drinks Trolley


  1. Patsy Hance

    29th August 2019 at 8:21 am

    Brilliant update to your trolley Becky!

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