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This wagon was given to my wife and me as a wedding present by two very close friends. I thought it was a strange gift at the time, but to be honest, I can’t remember any of the other gifts we received. This wagon has been used to haul kids, pets, garden supplies, grass clippings—you name it. After 17 years, it was still in solid working order but was starting to look a little tired. Since all my kids are past wagon-age, I thought I would spruce it up with a new coat of paint.
I started by dismantling the entire wagon and cleaning all the parts. I lightly sanded every individual wood and metal component and wiped all the metal parts down with a de-glosser.
Painting is probably my least favorite DIY activity, so I always try to find a way to make the process faster and easier. I decided to use Rust-Oleum’s Universal spray paint. Universal is a combination paint and primer, so it’s basically twice as fast to apply. I bought one can of gloss pure white for the tires, two cans of gloss crimson red for the stakes and rail boards, and one can of black hammered for the metal parts.
Another great thing about Rust-Oleum Universal is that you can use it on any surface: wood, metal, plastic, concrete, etc. I decided to put a personal touch on the wagon by painting the metal stake pockets and the center rails black. It was nice not having to buy separate wood and metal paints to get that done. Instead of taping off the middle rail, I carefully removed it with a putty knife and a pry bar. I then reattached the rails with a small dab of polyurethane glue and a chunk of toothpick in the nail holes.
I thought that keeping the rubber tires paint-free while painting the metal rims was going to be tricky, but after I let all the air out and pushed the rubber down, masking off the rubber tires with paper and tape was a breeze. I sprayed three coats on the wood stakes and rails and two coats on the metal (I probably could have gotten by with one coat on the metal). I covered the wood base with some exterior stain I had left over from a previous project.
As far as difficulty goes, this was a pretty easy project—my teenage son even took an interest and lent a hand (which doesn’t happen too often). A little preliminary research on paints saved me a bunch of time and money by not having to apply a primer coat. Rust-Oleum has good information and color options on its Universal products at rustoleum.com. The easy-to-use trigger system also saved my hand from cramping up after all that painting. The only problem is, now that the wagon is back to mint condition, I don’t want to get it dirty again.
Mark Petersen, Contributing Editor