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Instructables: How to Make Granny Carts Not Just For Grannies Anymore

March 3, 2009

For our Instructables assignment, I decided to go with a project I was involved in during a charette at The University of the Arts in the Fall of 2007.  This project tackled the issue of underuse of grocery carts, or what are commonly known as ‘granny carts.’  We looked into easy ways to make rockin’ a granny cart a stylish way to express yourself while having it remain functional.  This project initially interested me because it’s a quick, easy way to customize an exisiting underused product to cater to individuals’ needs while retaining its function.

We ended up with a couple different versions of modified granny carts, all of which we considered to be successful.  The idea is unique and fun, hopefully it can entice some creative outside-the-box thinkers to contribute to this problem of underused G-carts!

With posting this instructable, my true interest is seeing how other people can contribute to the idea and modify these objects in new ways.  I think it’d be really awesome to see a DIY concept like this grow into a topic of discussion where people post their modifications and customizations.

After you get your granny cart from an older relative follow the instructions, but feel free to incorporate your own creative ideas, as this project is all about personality and customization.

STEP ONE: PAINTING YOUR G-CART

You’ll need sandpaper, a dust mask or respirator, spray paint, and spray primer.  First, sand down the old paint.  Next, mask off areas you do not want to paint with tape.  After that, spray on primer, following directions on can.  Once the primer dries, spray the desired color paint onto the granny cart and allow to dry.  Always follow directions on can and spray in a well ventilated area.

Sand old paint

Sand old paint

Spray primer after masking with tape

Spray primer after masking with tape

Apply first coat of paint

Apply first coat of paint

Coat a couple of times, let dry in between

Coat a couple of times, let dry in between

STEP TWO: WHEELS

You can use most sized wheels, we used wheels about 10 inches in diameter that we found and recycled.  Sand paint off of wheels with sandpaper.  Mask off the areas you do not want to paint (such as rubber tires).  Spray your fresh new paint, following directions on can (and in a well ventilated area, of course).

Sand old paint and mask areas

Sand old paint and mask areas

Paint wheels following directions on can

Paint wheels following directions on can

STEP THREE: GRIP

You’ll need handlebar tape (local bike shop) or grip tape/hockey tape, and a pair of scissors.  Simply wrap tape around upper portion of handle, or wherever you’ll need grip and comfort.  Carefully overlap each wrap evenly, stretching while wrapping to maintain a nice looking finish.

Grip Materials include tape and scissors

Grip Materials include tape and scissors

Begin wrapping grip

Begin wrapping grip

STEP FOUR: PUSH BOARD/ WHEELIE BOARD

You’ll need a portion of an old skateboard, some hardware (shown below), clamps, and a pencil.  Cut the board with a bandsaw or a hacksaw if you do not have access to shop equipment.  First draw your marks for attachment to the skateboard.  Then, clamp board to another board (so you don’t drill into work surface) and then to the workspace or surface and drill holes.  Make sure the holes are all the way through your skateboard.  Align and fasten the hardware.  After that, laminate a couple blocks (I used MDF) with wood glue.  Wait for the glue to dry and then mark and drill your holes for the skateboard truck hardware.  Align and attach trucks to risers.  Attach the push board to the back of the cart.  If you have steel wire, you can bend it (pliers or hands) and form a lock for the board to fold up and lock into place for travel.

Wheelie/Push Board Hardware

Wheelie/Push Board Hardware

Drill holes all the way through material

Drill holes all the way through material

Fasten Hardware to board

Fasten Hardware to board

Create Risers for trucks to reach ground

Create Risers for trucks to reach ground

Drill holes in risers for trucks

Drill holes in risers for trucks

Attach trucks to risers

Attach trucks to risers

STEP FIVE: MAKING A SPOILER

To make a super-sweet spoiler for your G-cart, you’ll need some sheet aluminum, a drill, a metal drill bit, metal snips/ metal bandsaw, rivet gun, rivets, pencil/marker, and a straight edge/ruler.  First, mark out your design on the metal with your pencil or marker.  Then, cut out your design/pattern with the metal snips (or a saw if it’s thicker).  Make sure to watch the edges of the cut material, as it may be extremely sharp (you might want to wear gloves).  You’ll then need to drill holes at your connection points for rivets.  Basically, this will act as a bolt that just holds the two pieces of sheet metal together, and it will retain a nice finish.  Use the rivet gun to attach the rivets.

Super Sweet Spoiler

Super Sweet Spoiler

Rivet Gun and Rivets

Rivet Gun and Rivets

Metal snips and pencil

Metal snips and pencil

Drawing on metal

Drawing on metal

Cutting design out of metal with snips

Cutting design out of metal with snips

Cutting using bandsaw

Cutting using bandsaw

Drill your holes for rivet connection

Drill your holes for rivet connection

Spoiler ready for attachment

Spoiler ready for attachment

Rivet placement, prior to snipping with rivet gun

Rivet placement, prior to snipping with rivet gun

STEP SIX: CUSTOMIZATION

You can adapt these carts to however you want, and the whole point of this instructable is to see what others would do at this point with their personal customization.  Personal hobbies are highly recommended, as the personal touch will really shine through your G-cart for all to see.  Things like weaving, cutting metal designs, and creating containers or boxes are a few examples of customization.  You can make boxes out of wood or fibreboard, but if you do not have access to equipment, recycled cardboard with slot and tab design can be used as well.  You can cut this cardboard with a utility blade.

Weaving done to front of cart

Weaving done to front of cart

Cutting Metal Flames

Cutting Metal Flames

Laying out Metal Flames

Laying out Metal Flames

Custom Made Box

Custom Made Box

NOW GO ENJOY!!

Here’s a few shots of pimped out granny carts in action:

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2009 9:51 am

    These carts are great. Were you involved with all of the carts or were they the different ones that grew out of the charette?

    I love the one with the skateboard integrated. I want one.

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