So a few years ago my friend was sick of working her restaurant job and had the idea of opening a Portable Flower Cart business. She asked me if I would help her convert an old trailer she bought and of course I couldn't say no. I'm a sucker for getting any chance I can to build something, plus it was a pretty cool project.
Cart businesses are/were big up in Portland, Oregon (where we both lived at the time), and she had a great spot already lined up to do business. The overall project probably took about 3 weeks to finish because we were both working full time and the rain kept delaying construction, but it still got done fairly quickly.
This Instructable shows what we did. Make sure to vote for me in the Contest above and follow me to keep up with the new projects that I post.
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Step 1: Functionality
We thought it would work best if all the flowers were outside and that the inside of the trailer was for making arrangements and storing supplies. She had a spot inside the basement of the local building to store the flowers overnight. Since we wanted to make the inside functional, we decided to add windows.
We went and bought some salvaged windows from a local store. There are lots of places that you can get them, but I like Habitat For Humanity's Restore. They provide donated/used furniture, building supplies, and many other things at a fraction of normal retail prices. Check them out to see if one is near you (it's also a great organization if you ever want to help build some homes for people in need, I volunteered there for a year while I lived in Oregon). We got 2 windows, one slid open so that there could be customer interaction while inside the trailer as well as adding some ventilation to the interior.
To put in the windows, we eyeballed where they would look best, marked it off and then cut a hole in the side of the trailer to match. The plywood walls of the trailer weren't sufficient to attach the windows, so I framed out the inside edges with 2x4's. If you haven't framed a window/installed one before, just Google it and you will get a ton of great sources, it is a very easy process. The main thing you need to worry about it waterproofing where you cut the hole.
NEXT: Repairing the years of Damage...
Step 2: Repairs...
So when the first rain happened we realized how many cracks and holes there were in the trailer. Years of use had let the caulking dry out and crack, and it seems that the prior owner ran into something that smashed the top in a bit. I re-caulked all the holes/leaks that I could find, and then used a spray Flex Seal to go over all the joints. I also used this over the edge of the window flashing for extra protection. You can see the black spray in some of the pictures.
There were two large holes in the front of the trailer. They were probably about 1.5-2" around and normal spackle wouldn't work for these. Some of the plywood tore out on the inside of the trailer and the best way to cover the holes and keep it level with the plywood was to use Popsicle sticks to cover it up. I then applied spackle over both sides of it before painting and sanded it down. See the graphic for more detail.
Step 3: Painting
We did a final sanding again on everything and made sure all the loose paint was off of it. We applied primer on everything and then added several coats of paint. You can tape everything off if you want, but if you have a steady hand, you can save lots of time by skipping that step.
NEXT: Display Areas...
Step 4: Display Areas
So once the trailer/cart was in place, we needed a place to display the flowers and cover up the trailer hitch and wheel wells. I built a simple 2x4 Frame and skinned it with OSB panels to create a tiered setup. (Yes, there are nicer ways of doing this, but we were on a budget and it worked out exactly as we needed.) We clear coated the OSB on most of it and painted the other parts black. These shelves could cover up the utility parts of the trailer and make the business seem more permanent. They would also fit inside the trailer if the trailer was getting moved to a new spot.
NEXT: The Final Setup...
Step 5: Final Setup
The trailer was finished and ready to move to the spot. We hooked it up to her jeep and towed it over. It was light enough (still heavy) for me to pick up the trailer hitch and maneuver it into it's final place. Once we setup the shelves and added flowers, you could hardly recognize the cart anymore.
NOTE: We ended up adding a small canopy over the sliding window for some more shade about a month after opening.
Step 6: The Conclusion!
In the end my friend used the cart for several months until she moved into an actual storefront. I hope you enjoyed this, make sure you click up top to
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Thanks for reading my Instructable with many more to come. For project updates or other things that I do, check out my website at www.StudioDarose.com or follow me on Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter @StudioDarose
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