Vintage Tea Cart Painted with a Fun Pattern

 Vintage tea cups.

I half-promised myself that I would stick to neutral colors and finishes (for quicker sales). But that gets a little boring, so since it was only a half promise, I decided to go a little off-plan. Although I stuck with a neutral color palette, I added a fun pattern which I will show you how to achieve today.

This tea cart was made in the 1960's and is in good shape for its age. I'm not sure if anyone even uses tea carts any more, but I think they are pretty darn cute. I'm a coffee drinker myself, so I think the cart will make a good coffee bar. Or it can be used in an entryway for organizing which can then be pulled out and put to use if needed for entertaining. I plan to offer this piece for sale (Plan A), but if it doesn't sell then I plan to use it in my guest room (Plan B).

Vintage 1967 tea cart prior to painting.

Before I actually begin painting a project, I evaluate the piece to see if there will be any tricky spots to paint. Dressers and tables are pretty straight-forward. But shelves can sometimes be tricky due to space constraints, and the tea cart has two shelves. Also the back wheels are not easily removed, so I knew painting the inside of the wheels would be a little tricky. First I tested that my short-handled paint brush would fit inside to paint the shelves (it did), then I decided to flip the cart upside down in order to get better access to the inside of the wheel spindles.  By the way, if you notice the petunias mounted on the gazebo trellis, my daughter made those as a Mother's Day gift for me!

Tea cart turned upside down for easier access for painting the wheels.

I painted the back area of the spindles on the wheel and rotated the wheel as necessary to reach each of the spindles.

Painting the spindles on the wheels of the tea cart.

I painted the four support spindles as well while it was upside down to assure that I got in all the nooks and crannies. I did a few touch ups after I flipped it right side up.

Painting spindles on a vintage tea cart.

Next I turned it upright and finished painting a base coat of Coco on the top and two shelves. I planned to have a worn vintage look for the final finish, so I only used one coat of paint.

Base coat of Coco applied to the entire tea cart.

Now for the fun part: painting a diamond pattern on the top. First I placed a yard stick from corner to corner.

Painting a diamond pattern: First I placed a yard stick from corner to corner.

Using a pencil I marked off the line. Then I repeated the process for the other two corners creating an "X".

Using a pencil I marked off the line. Then I repeated the process for the other two corners creating an "X".

I used a piece of trim molding that I had on had as a guide for my pattern. I lined the board up with my first line and continued to trace the pattern. I repeated this step for the opposite angle until the top was filled with the diamond shapes penciled in.

Painting a diamond pattern: I used a piece of trim moulding that I had on had as a guide for my pattern.

If you're not too good at painting straight lines, then using a stencil is definitely the way to go. I didn't have a stencil, so I was going to tape off the lines to get a crisp clean paint line, but I didn't have enough tape on hand and was too lazy to go to the store. Also I didn't feel like taping off so many little diamonds (more laziness). So instead I painted these by hand. I alternated Duck Egg Blue, Coco, and Old Ochre for my pattern. I started by painting carefully, but that was taking way too long, so after painting a few diamonds I stopped being too fussy. As you can see in the photo the lines are a bit messy, but I have an easy fix to save the day.

The hand painted diamond pattern is a little messy, but I have an easy fix.

And here's my easy fix . . . since I was going for a worn vintage finish, I used a sanding pad to sand back the diamonds. It sort of blurs the lines and looks charming (I hope). Hopefully you can see the difference between the area I started sanding at the top of the photo vs the unsanded area at the bottom. I continued sanding until I achieve a worn finish.

Sanding blurs the lines and gives it a charming finish.

I added some more hints of Duck Egg and Old Ochre to the spindles to help with color balance. Then I sealed it with clear wax. I felt it needed something a little more, so I added some dark wax which you can see in the "after" photos.

After:

And here is the finished tea cart painted in Coco, Duck Egg Blue. and Old Ochre. I could spend forever attempting to get the staging "just right", but done is better than perfect, so I kept it simple and used some of my vintage tea cups. Did you notice the wreath? I custom made it in Duck Egg Blue. I love the fluffiness and color.

Vintage tea cart painted in Coco, Duck Egg Blue, and Old Ochre.

Painted vintage tea cart.

The back end has a handle for pushing the cart. It can be slid underneath when not in use.

Coco, Duck Egg Blue and Old Ochre.

Here's a closer shot of the details painted on the spindles. I used Duck Egg Blue on the "rings" and Old Ochre on the flat parts.

Details painted onto spindles.

The front of the tea cart has a small drawer for extra storage.

Small drawer on front of vintage tea cart.

I continued the accents of Duck Egg Blue and Old Ochre onto the wheels.

I continued the accents of Duck Egg Blue and Old Ochre onto the wheels.

Each of the sides can be opened up for additional surface space as needed.

Each of the sides can be opened up for additional surface space as needed.

Here's a closer look at the hand-painted diamond pattern. Perfectly imperfect.

Here's a closer look at the hand-painted diamond pattern. Perfectly imperfect.

And one last look at my pretty vintage tea cups! Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Pretty vintage tea cups.

Supply List:

Below are the supplies I used for this project. Some links are affiliate links which  means I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. It doesn't cost you extra, but it helps support the time and effort of maintaining the blog.


Comments

  1. Patricia, you do such beautiful work! Your vintage tea cart is gorgeous. Distressing the diamond pattern on the top adds so much charm to this piece and I love your application of color and dark wax. Pinned and sharing :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Marie! I appreciate your kind words. Thank you also for pinning!

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