We wanted to have my 3-month old niece in our wedding as a flower girl, but being only 3 months old meant she had as much walking skill as I do cleaning skill--my apartment is a mess. We decided the perfect way to get around this was for the ring bearer to pull her in a wagon.
I, err, I mean we, didn't want to shell out $300 for an already made wedding wagon, so I found a tired, old wagon that had been used as a plant holder on Craigslist for $25, and gave it some much needed TLC. The result turned out beautifully.
What you'll need:
Angle Grinder with Wire Cup Attachment
Spray Paint of Your Choice
Items to Decorate Your Painted Wagon (flowers, tulle, ribbon, etc.)
Hot Glue Gun
Step 1: Some Disassembly Required
There was a bit of rust throughout some parts of the wagon, especially on the screws and joints. I planned on returning the already black parts (the handle, axels, axel supports, and steering connector) back to a gloss black, while transforming the red pan to a gloss white. I figured the best way to get a quality finished product was to take the wagon apart as much as possible to focus on each individual piece. I couldn't figure out a way to get the wheels off, so I left them on their axels, which was a pain, but I managed.
As I pulled more and more parts off, I started to see more rust (and dirt, lots of dirt...and spider webs...and spider eggs).
I gave all parts a thorough wash with a pressure washer and wire brush to remove all the gunk.
Step 2: Anglegrind Infinitum
If you don't have an angle grinder for this next step, you're going to be more stressed than coming to an agreement on a wedding cake flavor. It truly was a life saver, and I can't imagine doing it any other way. I attached a high quality wire cup attachment to my newly purchased angle grinder (who would've thought that a wedding would be a valid excuse for buying tools?!?!?!) and spent a few hours going to town on all parts of the wagon.
I spent an especially long amount of time on the pan of the wagon to insure that all old paint and rust spots were removed. When finished, I had a beautiful, shiny pan ready for paint. On the other parts, I did as best as I could to insure that all the rust was removed, and that healthy metal was on the surface. Having a vice would've definitely helped when grinding away at these parts as they have tight spots and like to move around a bit.
In a perfect world I would've replaced all the original screws and nuts with some new rust-free ones, but I was in a rush and had access to an ultrasonic parts cleaner. I threw all the hardware in there, cranked the temperature up, and ran the cleaner for ten minutes. They didn't come out blindingly beautiful, but they were better than before.
To clean the wheels I used a toothbrush with some soap and water. Anything too stiff, like a wire brush, would scratch and gouge the plastic and rubber. They didn't get nearly as renewed as I had wanted, so I planned to paint the plastic portion with some of the same white paint as I used on the pan.
Step 3: Spray-and-Pray
I found a good place to show off my mad spray painting skills and went to work. I painted each part with either gloss black or white Rustoleum to help prevent future corrosion. There may be a more professional product out there to prevent rust, but this was a budget project.
To paint the center, plastic part of the wheels, I covered the appropriate portions in tape and paper and sprayed a few layers. In total, I think I sprayed 5-6 coats over each part to insure coverage and promote durability. For added durability you could spray a coat of clear gloss. Keep in mind that you will probably want the screws that will be inside the pan to be painted the same color as the pan itself. I chose to add an additional coat or two to the inside of the pan after reassembling the wagon.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
No wedding project is complete without an over abundance of flowers. At this point, the wagon is a blank canvas, and is fully customizable limited only by your imagination. My then fiancé bought some fake flowers from a local craft store. We trimmed them up, bunched them together, and hot glued them to the wagon. We also added a small, clear adhesive wall hook to hold a sign we made.
Step 5: I Do
Show off your sweet, new ride!