Fix up and refinish that old, worn out toy instead of throwing it away. A trip to the hardware store and a little paint made this wheel barrow look like new.
Years ago we bought a toy wheel barrow for my older kids when they were little. After a lot of use and a lot of time outside in the sun, the wheel barrow was in pretty bad shape. It didn’t even stand up anymore. It was useless and taking up space, but we didn’t want to throw it out because I knew my youngest would love to have a wheel barrow. So I set to work repairing and updating it.
Take the Toy Apart
First, I took apart the toy wheel barrow. I took out all the screws and separated all of the pieces. I saved all the nuts, bolts, and small parts in a plastic bag that I taped shut, so I wouldn’t lose anything.
Then I gave everything a good cleaning with soap and water. Actually, my kids had fun helping me clean. They started cleaning a bunch of their other outside toys too. I think we need to do that more often!
Paint Metal and Plastic Parts
Rust-Oleum makes a great primer that works well on plastic, so I gave all of the metal and plastic pieces a good coat of grey primer.
The primer also did a really good job of covering up the red color. Did you know that red is the hardest color to cover up? Even harder than black.
I should mention that I taped newspaper on the black, rubber wheel and the wood handles because I didn’t want them painted. The rubber wheel was still in good shape, and I didn’t want to paint the wood.
I wanted the bucket of the wheel barrow to look like metal, sort of like galvanized steel. I only had a little but of the hammered metal spray paint I used on the Batmobile last year, so I layered a few different colors of spray paint to get the look I wanted.
After the grey primer, I used a silver spray paint, then a metallic spray paint, and finished up with the hammered metal spray paint. I really like the mottled effect that using different types of spray paint gave it.
Finish Wood Parts
The handles of the wheel barrow are solid wood, but unfinished. That meant that the raw wood really took a beating out in the weather for years. I cleaned up the wood and got rid of the grey color just like I did with our patio benches.
Once they were back to a healthy wood color, I could have stained them, but I decided not to. Instead I finished them with a few coats of Danish Oil I already have. Polyurethane or any other wood finisher would have worked just as well to protect the wood. It also made the wood smooth so my kids wouldn’t get slivers from the handles.
Reassemble the Toy
I gathered all of the parts of the toy back together and made sure I had everything before I started putting it back together.
I also had to buy a couple new nuts and bolts because the wheel barrow was missing some before. It was easy to take the old bolt to a hardware store and find a match. I couldn’t find the covers for the ends of the bolts, so there are a couple that are not as safe as they used to be. I made sure to put the new, uncovered bolts in places that are less likely to jab someone.
Everything went back together really easily. Now this outside toy looks good in our backyard. It even goes with the all the other blue accents I’ve been adding to our yard. One day, I will probably use this little wheel barrow to decorate my patio with potted plants.
But right now my toddler loves his new toy. It drives like a car and carries stuff around the yard. He couldn’t be happier. It’s great that he got a new toy from something we already had.