Introduction: Ice Cream Cart Bookshelf

About: I've come to make stuff and chew bubble gum...and I'm all out of bubble-oh wait. I found another piece.

My wife and I wanted a bookshelf for our daughter's room, but I didn't want some plain ol' piece of furniture you buy in a box from Target.  I came up with the idea of a bookshelf shaped like an ice cream cart.  I had originally wanted to scale it so that our daughter could wheel it around and play with it when there weren't books on it but since she's only two years old I didn't want her to grow out of it too quickly.  So, I decided to scale is like an actual piece of furniture that she would grow into.  I didn't keep track of the cost that closely because I had most of the wood needed.  It probably took about $60 - $80 worth of wood and a few specialty pieces.

Step 1: Basic Box

At its core this is just a basic bookshelf with some accessories.  I first began by building a standard box with a rectangle cut out of one side.  I used 3/4" particle board.  I made sure to pre-drill and counter-sink all of the screw holes to avoid splitting the particle board and so that I could hide the screw heads.  When I had all of the sides and the top and bottom screwed together I made a paste to fill all of the gaps and screw holes out of sawdust and wood glue.  Once the paste dried I sanded it flush with the surrounding surfaces.

Step 2: Wheels

I flipped the bookshelf on its top and went to work on the wheels.  The plan was originally to include wire spoke bicycle tires, but I though my daughter's fingers might get caught in them.  I mitered two small sections of 2x4's and drilled a 1 1/4" hole through them.  The axel is just a short piece of dowel that I got from the hardware store.  The wheels are two 15" unfinished table tops from the hardware store also.  I think they were $8.00 a piece.  I drilled a hole in the center of those as well.  Once the whole thing gets painted and I put the wheels on permanently I didn't want the wheels to rub against the sides of the cart and ruin the paint so I added spacers on each side to hold the wheels out away from the cart.  The spacers are actually a set of wooden brackets that you would use to install a clothes hanging rod in your closet.  I just drilled a hole in the middle that was the same size as the axel.

Step 3: Handle and Feet

The handle is a simple assembly that I made separately and then bolted on to the bookshelf.  It's made up of a few scrap pieces of 3/4" oak and the leftover dowel from the axel.  I bought two unfinished furniture legs from the hardware store but they ended up being too short to make the shelf level so I had to buy the two round furniture feet as well and add them to the bottom.  I saw that the legs were going to be wobbly so I added a cross bar to the assembly to strengthen it.  With all of the major components done I dry fit the legs and wheels on so that I could confirm everything looked good before I painted it.

Step 4: Painting

My daughters room definitely has a color scheme that I had to adhere to. All the furniture is white. The bookshelf had to be white. After a few coats of paint on the cart and the wheels I wanted to add a little color so I painted the hubcaps and the feet purple. Then I painted some ice cream cones on the wheels.

Step 5: Final Assembly

In order to really resemble an ice cream cart it needed an umbrella. I bought a cheap child's umbrella and cut the handle off. Next I mounted an aluminum tube that was just slightly larger then the umbrella shaft to the back of the cart, then just slid the umbrella inside.

The final touch was a small curtain to hide the books when not being used. I used a simple white curtain and ironed on a design with an ice cream cone and my daughter's name.

Once it was all put together I loaded it with books on the top shelf and stuffed animals on the bottom.

Eventually I plan on turning the umbrella into a night light.

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