How to Decorate an Antique Grocery Shopping Cart

Written by louise harding
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How to Decorate an Antique Grocery Shopping Cart
The metal shopping trolley has evolved since the 1930s. (shopping trolley image by from

Shopping trolleys are such a routine part of our shopping experience, we seldom think about their history. Sylvan Goldman, who owned a chain of Piggly Wiggly grocery stores, reportedly created the original shopping trolley in the 1930s, according to Design Boom. In 1947 came the innovation of the folding, nesting shopping trolley that made shopping trolley storage simpler for stores. Today, there is no need to relegate antique shopping trolleys to scrap heaps or junkyards. Decorate them for collectable or even functioning purposes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tablecloth
  • Vintage food cans
  • Vintage food boxes
  • Vintage spice boxes
  • Vintage grocery store advertising merchandise
  • Register paper --- rolls
  • Tape measure
  • Vinyl ribbon --- 1-inch or greater width
  • Scissors
  • Epoxy --- waterproof, vinyl to metal
  • Newspapers
  • Spray paint - for metal
  • Items for storage

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  1. 1

    Fold a tablecloth so it fits the cart's width. Lay the tablecloth inside the cart with the "tails" draped over the sides.

  2. 2

    Arrange food boxes, canned goods and spice boxes in the cart. Place taller items near whichever side --- the handle or the basket front --- will point away from the display area. Place smaller cans or boxes in the front. Place the most appealing labelled goods in the centre. Make your own "vintage" canned goods by purchasing reproduction can labels from stationery, paper and craft stores and gluing one around a clean, empty can.

  3. 3

    Place store merchandise, such as aprons, hats, paper bags or even equipment like adding machines into the cart. You can drape curls of register paper from one corner of the cart.

  1. 1

    Measure around the sides of the cart. Double this measurement. Cut multiple pieces of vinyl ribbon in the same or varying colours to these modified measurements. You can purchase vinyl ribbon at fabric or craft stores in various widths and colours.

  2. 2

    Start at the back of the basket and weave the ribbon in and out through the metal "basket." Weave one strip around the top and bottom of the cart's basket or completely cover it with weaving.

  3. 3

    Secure the ribbon ends with waterproof epoxy intended for adhering vinyl to metal. Most epoxies require mixing two or more solutions to activate the adhesion properties. Press the ribbon ends to the metal or to the opposite ribbon ends. Hold the ribbon to the metal or other ribbon for the amount of time the epoxy manufacturer recommends. Store pool toys, garden equipment and other outdoor recreational items in the colourful shopping trolley.

  1. 1

    Cover a work area with newspapers. Place the clean cart on top. Always work in a well-ventilated area when using spray paint.

  2. 2

    Use a spray paint intended for metal painting and a colour that coordinates with your kitchen. Hold the nozzle about 10 inches from the cart. Paint the entire cart in a back-and-forth movement.

  3. 3

    Allow the paint to dry about 12 hours. Use the cart for extra storage for kitchen items like dish towels, cookbooks or any kitchen items for which you may need extra storage.

Tips and warnings

  • Place wood wedges, available at home improvement stores, beneath or next to the wheels of a shopping trolley to eliminate rolling. You can also remove the wheels.

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