REMIX - Shopping Cart Chairs Are Awesome!




About: I'm the typical maker/DIY/nerd dad.

**Please vote for this Instructable**

Shopping cart chairs... actually, there isn't much more that needs to be said.

I first became aware of how the awesomeness of a shopping cart could be increased when the kiddos and I were watching first episode of Make: Television back in 2009. There was a segment about shopping cart chairs that featured Tim Anderson.

As it turns out, Anderson had made a shopping cart chair Instructable a couple of years earlier:

Here is another Instructable that we looked at before embarking on our own shopping cart chair:

And if we ever do another shopping cart based project, this one is a serious contender:

Here are a few of the things we did a little differently on our shopping cart chairs...


Step 1: Living on the Edge

We were living in an apartment when we started working on our shopping cart chair project. Actually, we moved to a new apartment mid-project, and the shopping carts (we had managed to acquire two) certainly made transporting all of our junk a lot easier.

Anyway, being in an apartment, I only felt comfortable running the angle grinder for a few minutes at a time, so I wasn't able to really deal with of all the sharp edges where the cart was cut like I wanted.

And who has time to file by hand?

Also, Anderson did a lot more curvy bending, which I think may have helped to keep sharp sections away from people sections.

I needed something to cover up all that sharp stuff, and picked up some automotive edge molding at the hardware store.

My hope was that the edge molding would hold itself in place, since it had a U-shaped metal inner core. Well, the metal core kinda worked to hold the molding in place, but the 90 degree bends and varying thicknesses of the metal being covered did cause some positioning issues.

Let me just say thank you to Thomas & Betts for inventing zip-ties back in 1958.

Step 2: When I Get to the Bottom I Go Back to the Top

Zip-ties were also used to keep the back part of the cart's bottom rack in place. Since these carts can no longer nest into each other, there really isn't a reason for the bottom rack to move.

Securing that bottom rack also seemed like a good idea in terms of potentially reducing the likelihood of pinched fingers, toes, and the like.

We applied black electrical tape over the carts' handles, wrapping them as though they were bicycle handle bars..

The first reason for the wrapping was for aesthetics... the black toned down the brightness of the colors on the handles. All that rightness clashed with the cushions.

The second reason for the wrapping was that I was a little paranoid about displaying the origins of the shopping carts, although I suppose it wouldn't really have made a difference if someone wanted to know. Remember how I mentioned that the carts were acquired? Well, don't get the wrong idea, because we didn't steal them. I had planned to check with some grocery stores to see if they have any old/busted carts to sell. But, sometimes, opportunity knocks. These carts were left abandoned in-between some buildings near our apartment, which was over a mile away from the nearest grocery store. No one from the store was going to retrieve them (not like I've seen the grocery stores in Denver do... they totally let you use the carts to get your groceries to your place... every few days, a guy drives around in a little pickup and takes the carts back to the store).

Um, carrying shopping carts up three flights of stairs sure puts hair on your chest!

As far as setting a good example and all that, for a few weeks after acquiring the carts, my kiddos were constantly on the lookout for shopping carts that had strayed a little too far from the herd, as it were.

Step 3: Compare and Contrast

This is a picture of one of the chairs taken shortly after it was transformed. The picture from the intro step was taken just the other day. It seem that the shopping carts haven't changed very much after all these years, other than the few zip-ties that have gone missing.

So, to sum up this Remix Instructable:

- We didn't make all the same bends as Anderson... the thought was to have the arms of our carts be fairly functional horizontal surfaces, similar to the second Instructable. We ended up combining the two approaches.

- We added automotive edge molding.

- We also removed the part of the cart that expands back to form the kid seat. I'm of the opinion that taking off that part contributed a lot to the chairs being comfortable to sit in with or without cushions. Honestly, these things are surprisingly comfortable!

- We left the casters on. I've often thought about putting locks on them, but the fact that they chairs roll around as easily as shopping carts hasn't really been an issue.

The shopping cart chairs are now in our backyard, as opposed to the apartment patio shown in the picture. The nice thing about the apartment patio was that kids and I enjoyed the times when we'd notice folks who would walk by, do a double take, stop, turn around, walk back, and admire the chairs. We were, and still are, pretty proud of our handiwork.

And as I think about it, Anderson's shopping cart chair Instructable was probably the first Instructable I had ever seen. Thanks, again, Tim!

Step 4: ​** Addendum for the Formlabs Contest **

What would I do with a Form 1+ 3D printer?

Well, the first (and second) thing I would do would be to print out the 3D scans of the kiddos that were captured earlier this year.

Okay, to be honest, the real first (and second) thing I would do would be to follow this Instructable and fix up the holes in each scan before printing them.



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    17 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice build! If you are interested, I just finished a shopping-cart-related project mayself:


    4 years ago on Introduction

    good job, don't listen to these "its stealing" comments. It's prespective


    4 years ago

    That's theft.... Hopefully purchase the cart for $400 first.

    1 reply

    WRT stealing: I know, I know, you are all totally right.

    But I'm still going to try and rationalize/justify my way
    out of it... just for fun, of course!

    Hopefully this can’t be considered self-incrimination?
    Nah… it’s all hypothetical!

    • The person who wheeled the carts out of
      the grocery store did the stealing. If a different person ended up with the shopping carts,
      they are only in possession of stolen goods. Try telling that to the judge...
    • The shopping carts were simply removed from the alley in
      an attempt to reduce blight. Nice try.
    • Anyone who saw the shopping carts in the alley
      that didn’t try to return them to the grocery store, call the police, etc., could
      be considered an accomplice to the theft due to them turning a blind eye. I
      know this one is totally far-fetched.
    • Shopping carts are depreciable assets. The shopping carts
      in question were very close to the end of their useful life, so their value as
      an asset was probably nowhere near $400. Um, stealing is stealing.
    • This wasn't real stealing. Um, stealing is stealing.

    Obviously, I’m not a lawyer, nor am I an accountant... that right there should go a long way toward showing that I'm a nice/ethical guy? But, seriously, stealing in this context is kind of a strong word.

    So, basically, I don’t recommend you try this at home!


    You should totally bring this to a grocery store, and push someone around in it while they load groceries into a smaller shopping cart.

    1 reply

    It turned out really nice looking. Although because it is so comfy looking I think I would have trouble resisting the urge to just wheel myself everywhere for all of time.

    1 reply