While on a garage sale gift shopping spree, I ran across this rusty red wagon for just five dollars.  Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about getting a wagon for my son’s birthday and it did look rather damaged, but its previous owner coached me through the steps for fixing it up and ended up convincing me to buy.  I’m so glad he did!

The total time it took to fix the wagon was about three hours (including shopping time) and didn’t require much effort.  We followed  a few simple steps and found ourselves quite happy with the results.

Sand down the rust. Using steel wool, we scrubbed down the inside of the wagon with soapy water until it was as clean and smooth as we could get it.  We should have paid more attention to the corners and seams between the bottom and sides, but overall we did well.

Let the wagon dry: Just long enough so that the paint can be applied to a moisture-free metal surface.

Treat with rust-prevention product:  We ended up using “Naval Jelly” which seemed the least toxic and applied it outside so the area was well ventilated.  

Brush on enamel paint: A small container of red paint, perfectly matched to children’s wagons, was easy to find at our local hardware store.  We could have also checked at our recycled building materials center (BRING) to see if they had any on hand.  It cost a whopping twelve dollars for the paint, but it also helped to fix up my son’s tricycle.  While the container recommends a liberal coat, ours was a bit too thick.  We were told not to use a primer, and it worked fine without it.

Wait at least 24 hours: The wagon was just so beautiful and shiny that we rushed to share it with our son before it was fully dry.  Since we used a thick coat, we should have waited even longer than 24 hours.  My son’s foot marred the paint a bit, but overall it still looks great.

The total cost for the wagon after buying the paint was $17.00, compared to $90.00 retail!  Already, we are so happy with our purchase.  Roscoe pulls the wagon around the backyard filled with leaves and sits in it for neighborhood walks.  We used it at his birthday party to haul food to the picnic table and provide free rides.  It’s pretty wonderful to think that this little gem was saved from a landfill only to provide us with years of sturdy service.  

Check out the creative cost-saving, eco-friendly posts below for more enlightenment this Thrifty Green Thursday.  Anyone’s welcome to join us, just read the directions on how to get started and jump in.  Thanks for stopping by!