The IKEA Hack That Will Turn A Desk Into An Outdoor Bar Cart

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IKEA hackers have done us a world of good. They transform the most basic but sensible Swedish-designed furniture into customized pieces, and you don't even have to be a professional carpenter to replicate them at home. And they've done it again, this time with an outdoor bar cart design that requires two Vittsjö laptop tables from IKEA.

This hack requires piecing together two of the tables to create a totally customized bar cart that will look great outside. In addition to the desk duo, you'll also want some basic hardware, namely L brackets, screws, corner braces, and caster wheels, as well as a drill and screwdriver head and a circular cutter. The desk comes in white and black, so if you like those colors, there's no need to spring for spray paint, but if you crave a more glam look, gold or copper metallic spray paint would have a wonderful effect. And it will truly make you feel like the host with the most at your next outdoor dinner party.

How to complete this hack

For the Vittsjö bar cart, you're essentially combining two desks in order to have a single unit with a mezzanine shelf that can hold all manner of bar accessories. You'll need to flip one of the desks upside down and use a miter saw to shave off the feet. Then, you'll fit the top railing from the other desk into this space and drill new holes into the bars since the pre-drilled ones won't line up anymore. You'll notice a bar is missing from the top rail, which is not ideal for securely holding bottles and glassware, so you'll use one of the long spare bars from the second desk and secure it into the top rack with the L bracket, marking, and drilling holes so you can attach it with screws.  

Next, you need to add corner brackets with your drill and screws again in order to hold the glass top. If the glass doesn't sit flush with the supports, you'll need to shave the glass down or have it rest on top. Finally, you'll attach the mezzanine shelf (which is great for holding bar accessories) by drilling new holes, as the original ones won't work on the flipped table. If you'd like to add casters, create four holes where the feet were and screw them in. Painting is optional, but you may need to dissemble it to do so.

This hack may not be for everyone

The Vittsjö desk is a great option as an outdoor bar cart because of its original materials: tempered glass and steel. Both of these are well suited to outdoor conditions and are non-porous, which means they aren't susceptible to rot like wood would be. Still, it should be noted that steel is prone to rust, especially if left outside, so be sure to give it a thorough coating of anti-rust spray, such as the WD-40 Corrosion Inhibitor from Amazon

However, since this is a cart that's desk-sized, you will need quite a bit of room for it to sit permanently. Plus, while the materials are durable, they can still be broken, so you may need to cover or move the cart during inclement weather. Lastly, and most obviously, this is not exactly the most straightforward tutorial and will take a little (or a lot) of focus. But even with all of these cons, you can obtain this stunning bar cart for around $200, while bar carts of a similar size and style retail for considerably more. Not in the mood for all that drilling? You could also build one Vittsjö cart as is and add another board below for a second shelf. It won't have the secure railing provided by the duo of flipped Vittsjö desks but would make for a lovely garden buffet/no-fuss outdoor bar.