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Repurpose a Little Red Wagon into a Coffee Table


The little red wagonÖ. such a childhood joy. Who doesnít have fond memories of pulling friends, stuffed animals, dolls or even obliging (or not so obliging) family pets around the block in a bright red Radio Flyer wagon? Or if you were especially daring, pulling the wagon to the top of a hill, climbing inside, then careening down the hill a la Calvin and Hobbes? The red wagon is a childhood staple, but like all good things, and like childhood itself, eventually it comes to an end.

If you have an outgrown red wagon gathering dust and rust in the garage, you might think itís nothing but trash now, or best consigned to the next garage sale or thrift store donation. Actually, you can give that wagon a whole new life inside the house as a coffee table. If you donít have a wagon on hand, you might be inspired to buy the next one you spot at a garage sale or local thrift store!

You will need:
  • Red wagon

  • Screwdriver to remove hardware

  • WD-40 (optional)

  • Sandpaper or wire brush (optional)

  • Rust primer spray (optional)

  • Spray paint (optional)

  • 4 furniture legs with screws

  • Clear rubber bumper pads

  • Glass sheet sized as desired for your table

  • Collectibles to display inside the wagon


  1. Youíll need to unscrew the handle, wheels and axles. Spray them with WD-40 if rust and age makes the job difficult.

  2. Once the hardware is gone, wash the body of the wagon with soapy water, then dry thoroughly. Use sandpaper or a wire scrub brush to remove rust and any peeling paint.

  3. If you want to brighten the wagon, change the color or cover up rust and discoloration, first use a rust primer spray. Krylon makes a good one. Or if you love the rustic look, leave the wagon as-is.

  4. Paint the wagon, if desired, with spray paint suitable for metal. Bring back the wagonís red shine, or convert it to another color altogether.

  5. Choose four wooden furniture legs the appropriate height for your desired table. 15 to 17 inches is typical for coffee table legs. You can find a wide range of furniture legs at home improvement centers. Paint or stain the legs as desired.

  6. Attach the legs to the wagon, using the holes left behind when you removed the wheels.

  7. Set the wagon in your desired location in the living room, play room or game room.

  8. Fill the wagon with whatever collectibles you want to display. A collection of small toys, seashells, antique utensils, fishing lures, pinecones or even a miniature train layout are just a few possibilities.

  9. Evenly space the rubber bumper pads around the wagonís edge. Use additional glue if the self-adhesive doesnít keep the bumpers in place.

  10. Set your glass top on the wagon, making sure to center it properly. The weight of the glass and the rubber bumpers will help hold the glass in position, but a hard bump will dislodge it, so this isnít the table for a very high traffic area or home with small children.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Michelle Ullman. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Michelle Ullman. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Michelle Ullman for details.

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