My son’s high school, in Hall County, Georgia has a tradition for seniors on yearbook day. Not only do they receive yearbooks first, but they also get to bring their own chair to sit in on the gym floor, instead of sitting on the bleachers with the rest of the student body.

It is not uncommon to see “chairs” such as traditional rockers, lawn chairs, even recliners. However, several students make their own. That is what my son chose to do. So, for inspiration, we scoured the “Google-net” to see what weird chairs we could find. That is when we stumbled across an art exhibit-type site and saw a chrome shopping cart-type chair. Sorry, we don’t recall the Web site, so we cannot provide the link. Anyway, we said “Hey, we can do this fairly easily. We just need a shopping cart.”

The next day, my son set out to find a cart in decent shape…not an easy task. After calling upon several stores, he lucked up when he asked the manager of a chain grocer. The manager told him that a cart from a competitor store showed up at his store and it would be a huge favor to him if my son would take it off his hands. “Winning!”

So, in a couple hours, we turned the shopping cart into an awesome senior chair. Here’s how we did it:

Materials needed:

1. A metal shopping cart (in decent condition)
2. A set of bolt cutters
3. A couple screwdrivers (for removing corner bumper guards and advertisement frame)
4. A file (for the rough metal edges)
5. Some strong heavy-duty zip ties (unless you want to spot weld … which I do not know how)
6. A solid concrete block (or two)
7. Some seat cushions (lawn chair-type cushions will work well for this)
8. Braking casters (Optional)



Find a shopping cart in good condition. Now, remember, it is illegal to take a shopping cart from any business without permission from the store management. Don’t call me if you get arrested for swiping one. I will NOT post your bail. I'm just sayin'.


We started by removing the child seat back and bottom. This was fairly simple and literally only took about two or three minutes. The bottom of the seat back pivots at the bottom of the cart. All we had to do was straighten the two pivot points enough to disconnect it from the cart. We chose not to cut it, because we wanted to use it as a foot/leg support. The bottom part of the seat was repurposed to work as a head rest. To get the right angle of the back support, we had my son sit in the cart and we pushed the cart’s back up to a comfortable position. Then using a few heavy-duty zip ties, we tied it to the cart bottom. (Sorry, we failed to get a good picture of this step.)



Next, we removed the corner bumper guards, and the little plastic advertisement frame, with a screwdriver. This was to access the top horizontal wire framing. We started at the small end of the shopping cart…the end opposite of the handle. Using the bolt cutters, we cut the corners off of all but the bottom horizontal frame wire to maintain strength. Then, we carefully bent the end piece down to the proper angle for leg support.



The most time consuming step was done for safety’s sake. We had to file down the rough metal edges on all cuts made. After all, who wants to sit in a chair that scratches you or gives you tetanus?

Step 5:

Picture of

Remember the child seat back? We attached it to the end of the cart to serve as an extension of the leg support. We re-bent the ends around the bottom horizontal frame wire and then used zip ties to join it to the bottom of the freshly cut leg support. We also removed the seat belt. (This is a good place to spot weld the pieces together. Since I cannot weld, I chose to use the heavy-duty zip ties.)

We also repurposed the old seat bottom to use as a headrest/support by attaching it to the top of the new seat back. This was fairly simple to do by re-bending it around the wire frame near the cart handle.



Knowing that every chair needs arm rests, we cut the top horizontal frame wires close to the handle on either side of the cart. (We had to remove the plastic edge guards to get a close cut. They popped right back into place afterwards.)
Then, we laid the cart on its side onto a concrete block. Using the force of my calf muscles, I pressed each side of the cart outward to get the proper angle. (This took more strength than I was expecting.)



While my son and I were bending the arm rests, my daughter made a sign to put in the advertising frame which we attached to what is now the leg support. (It’s kind of like a vanity plate.)
We threw in some stadium cushions and attached a hammock pillow and it was done. Lawn furniture cushions would be ideal for this, but we didn’t have any to spare.)

Step 8: TA-DAA!!!

Picture of TA-DAA!!!

All in all, it turned out very well. It turned out to be a pretty cool chair for a pretty cool senior.

*** As an option, you can replace the cart’s wheels with braking casters. We chose not to do that.***


laputa999 (author)2017-03-17

Could it be easier to upgrade this to a cupcake car? How do you feel about the cup cake cover?

djohnson63 (author)2013-01-18

This is a pretty great project. Luckily enough I know a couple of pawn shops in Broadview with old shopping carts for sale. Thanks again.

Nelson_Yepez (author)2012-03-20


TJtheGreyt (author)Nelson_Yepez2012-03-21

I was always taught that if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all. So, that is what I choose to do here. Besides, the great folks at instructables have this statement: "We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site."

itobor2525 (author)2011-08-10

Good job; I'd hold out for the full lounge cushions however.
It looks as though the cart ( trolley/buggy or whatever other readers call them) came from a certain humungeous retailer famous for "low prices". I'd ask anyone contemplating this to 'rescue' a damaged cart from a nearby stream or creek - I know it may be rusty but Rustoleum works wonders. As an alternative, ASK the retailer if they have damaged cart(s) they might want to part with. Let's not encourage thievery! I'd contemplate making one after I make the bikecart w/16" or 20" bike wheels in lieu of the the stock wheels.

TJtheGreyt (author)itobor25252011-08-11

Thanks for the comment. This cart is of the larger variety, yes. And as you suggested, we did ask the store manager for a dmaged cart. How an out of business grocery store's cart (closed and building demolished about 6 or so years ago) wound up at a store only three years old is quite the mystery. We were quite fortunate to find one is such good shape. Also, I too would prefer the full size patio lounge cushions. :)

McNoodle (author)2011-05-30

does anyone know where i can get a shopping cart?

TJtheGreyt (author)McNoodle2011-05-31

You can order them online...but they can be pricey. We got ours by checking with the local grocery stores management and asking for a damaged one that we could either purchase or have. We we fortunate that the manager of one of the local chains had this one he needed to get rid of.

DAND (author)2011-05-28

A guy in my neighborhood did this!

imshanedulong (author)2011-05-15

I'm glad you get supplies legally. I once read something on how to make ninja stars. It says "You'll need some razor blades. I just swiped mine from Walmart. You'll also need electrical tape. I stole that from walmart too." It goes on to say how he made a pouch to hide them in public... I just wanted them for targets but something tells me he had other uses for them.

bbetsinger (author)2011-05-12

This will be good for when there's an apocalypse and there are bodies lying everywhere I suppose...

TJtheGreyt (author)bbetsinger2011-05-13

For some reason I feel like quoting Monty Python: "Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!" :-)

agdollison (author)2011-05-12

I am graduating in a few days I wish my school did this but unfortunately my school is lame

TJtheGreyt (author)agdollison2011-05-13

So was mine.

WayneBuckhanan (author)2011-05-12

When I was disassembling a shopping cart to reuse the metal years ago I chewed through a blade or two on my reciprocating saw and barely made a dent in the first "wire." I was able to slice right through by heating that section to red hot with a propane torch and sawing before it cooled down fully. That might also have also made the filing easier for a project like this, both not needing to remove as much material and making it easier to remove.

Great job on the chair!


TJtheGreyt (author)2011-05-13

Nope. No skeletons here. And my story has remained the same throughout.

It appears to me that you seem to thrive on negativity, which I do not. So, with that, have an awesome weekend.

robinrdpro (author)2011-05-12

Nice Job! The only change I would make is to add some nifty beverage holders (for sodas of course!).

Green Silver (author)2011-05-12

LOL, Thats one expensive chair! See link!
I guess all your mates have fun pushing you around in it?

TJtheGreyt (author)Green Silver2011-05-12

WOW! That's like $189.94 in US dollars! The wife said I should put it on eBay to get it out of the house. (Maybe we should.) :-)

It is quite funny to see a grown man being pushed in it!

Green Silver (author)TJtheGreyt2011-05-12

Sell it back to the store, so the wife's can take their husbands shopping! You might be onto something big here! ;o)

TJtheGreyt (author)2011-05-12

no one know how the cart showed up there, because the store to which the cart belonged has been closed for well over five years. Plus, the building was razed and rebuilt to become a Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Phil B (author)TJtheGreyt2011-05-12

We have now had two instances of people jumping to conclusions without realizing there may be pertinent facts they do not have. First I was accused of theft in violation of a Supreme Court ruling that did not happen for another dozen years after my "infraction." Now you are accused of stealing a cart from a store than no longer existed at the time of your "theft." It would be good if those who wish to express moral indignation would ask a few questions to make sure they have all of the related facts.

TJtheGreyt (author)Phil B2011-05-12

Actually, I find it to be quite amusing. (Maybe they have some skeletons in their closets. I'm just sayin'.)

Phil B (author)2011-05-09

I am glad you took time to explain the legal way to obtain a shopping cart. I was concerned for a bit.

TJtheGreyt (author)Phil B2011-05-10

I'm glad I was able to relieve your anxiety there. Plus, I don't think my pastor would be to pleased to see me on America's Most Wanted or something. :)

csadelman (author)TJtheGreyt2011-05-12

That's way too funny. Brilliant idea on a rolly cart chair.

TJtheGreyt (author)csadelman2011-05-12

We think it's quite funny too. Every once in a while our neighbors would say, "Why do you have a shopping cart?" Why, to sit in, of course! LOL

Phil B (author)TJtheGreyt2011-05-10

I am a Lutheran pastor. Members of the church I serve post some unbelievable things on FaceBook without giving any thought to who is reading them.

When our kids were very young my son wanted a Tonka Toy dump truck. On garbage pick-up day I found one on the curb, but it was missing a wheel. My wife was at a store and the guy who repairs shopping carts was parked out front with his truck. She asked and he gave her a wheel that was just the right size.

TJtheGreyt (author)Phil B2011-05-10

That is awesome! As far as Facebook goes, my wife and I are always reminding our kids, "Do not post anything you would not want either us or your grandparents to read."

Phil B (author)TJtheGreyt2011-05-10

When posting on FaceBook I try to think about how much I would like to face someone to apologize in person, and how much I would like to read about what I am posting on the front page of the local newspaper. So far, those have been pretty good filters for me.

People do let their hair down on FaceBook. Just a week ago or so I heard the US Govt. monitors it looking for early detection on people with nefarious plans and intentions. Personally, a lot of our church folks are also there. As pastor, I learn early who is getting engaged, has cancer, has something to celebrate, etc. It is also an opportunity for me to show a side of me people may not see on Sunday morning, especially when I post a link to one of my Instructables.

sheldor (author)2011-05-12

Great idea! I built that chair 25 years ago :) Took off the wheels though, as it was moving around too much :)

TJtheGreyt (author)sheldor2011-05-12

I thought about, and suggested, that. But, my son thought it would be cool to have one of his classmates push him around the school in it. :-)

Phil B (author)2011-05-12

There was a comment here about a Supreme Court decision that makes it illegal to take someone's garbage, but it appears that comment has been removed. That comment almost certainly referred to a 1988 case known as California vs. Greenwood. The suggestion was that I had committed an illegal act by picking up a Tonka Toy truck with a missing wheel, but I did that before 1975, so it preceded the Supreme Court case and would not be bound by it.

Poehls05 (author)2011-05-10

reduce. reuse. relax.

TJtheGreyt (author)Poehls052011-05-11

Exactly. and do it all while you shop. :)

carlos66ba (author)2011-05-09

Very nice!

About This Instructable




More by TJtheGreyt:Make Custom Tuxedo Shirt StudsTURN A SHOPPING CART INTO A CHAIR
Add instructable to: