Updated: Aug 26, 2022
Upcycle an old Little Tykes car to an adorable mini Volkswagen Bus!
(Car on the right: $10 // Car on the left: $15)
I found both of these cars on a local buy and sell page. I am making one for my daughter and one for a friends daughter. The only thing cuter than one baby in a mini VW Bus is seeing two babies in matching mini VW Buses!
I cleaned the first car before disassembling it. Which meant I got to re-clean it once everything was taken apart. Being left outside for years and years meant there was years and years worth of dirt underneath the arms for the roof.
If you follow gocleanco, you will not be surprised one bit when I tell you I used hot water and powdered tide to clean these cars and it worked so well!!
One of the Cozy Coupes that I bought had a broken Little Tikes emblem, and my husband had some stuff around the garage that I was able to use; so it didn't add a lot to my overall cost. Honestly, I would skip this step, unless one of your emblems is broken as well. Body work is incredibly humbling. Follow this link for my instructions on how to fill in missing little tikes emblem!
Tip: The Cozy Coupe rims (if yours has them) are very fragile. I tried to remove them and shattered the back rims... I instantly gave up hope of removing the rest and simply bagged them off so they wouldn't accidentally get spray painted.
I chose Premier Spray Paint from Canadian Tire. However, I recommend going to your local hardware stores to see what spray paint brands they carry; specifically ones that are adhesive to plastic. I did a ton of research before going to the store(s), then I realized no stores near me sell what I was looking for... oops!
Once your coupe is taken apart and cleaned, its time to sand it down! I used whatever left over sand paper we had laying around from old projects.
I tried painting the bottom of the car after only 1 coat of primer... but it was blotchy and ugly. So ugly that I forgot to take a photo before immediately sanding it down, washing it and starting the priming process again.
It took 2-3 coats of primer to fully cover the cars.
Some cozy coupes have really shiny plastic on them, the 2 front poles supporting the roof were shiny on this one. If your car has any really shiny areas, I recommend sanding between your coats of primer with a very gritty sandpaper, to scratch the surface so that the paint sticks!
I taped off the areas I wanted to stay white before painting it the final beautiful blue colour.
Tip: Invest in the good quality painters tape - it will make this job a LOT easier!
Once I removed the tape, and the blue paint dried fully, I very carefully taped off the line I wanted to be the colour of the Metallic spray paint I bought.
Once I had the exact line I wanted to be Metallic, I carefully covered the rest of the car. I used whatever I had laying around (cardboard, craft paper, news paper, garbage bag) to make sure everything besides that very thin line, was covered.
Full Disclosure: the reason I added this section in is because the first time I didn't cover off the rest of the vehicle well enough and got overspray everywhere! So those areas got sanded and repainted, very meticulously to avoid another silly mistake.
I found the most amazing sticker pack on Etsy that are made specifically for Cozy Coupes. I was nervous about how well stickers would adhere to the plastic, especially since it will be an outdoor toy. We've only had it a few months, and so far the stickers are great!
When I was removing the gas caps they broke, so I looked through our recycle bin and found 2 caps the right diameter to cover the hole. I used the Metallic Spray Paint on them, and super glued them on. Easy-peasy solution.
(If you try this project send in a photo on Instagram @PrairieMamasBlog, I'd love to see!)
If you loved this project as much as I did, check out this matching Little Tikes Basketball Set!!
The VW emblems on the front of the cars are from Etsy, they are WV center cap stickers. I added a little bit of super glue before placing them, just to be sure they would stay!
MY MATERIAL LIST
• cozy coupe car
• sand paper (lots of sand paper)
• good quality painters tape
• spray paint
- white glossy primer
- fun base colour
- take the roof off of the car, and clean it really well
- sand down the car until the entire surface is lightly scuffed up, then give it a quick wash to rinse off the dust
- set up the space you will be painting in
- prime the entire car in thin layers until it is fully white, let it dry completely
- since the roof is staying white, give it one or 2 more coats than the rest of the car
- tape off the areas you want to stay white (the top of the doors and the triangle on the front of the car)
- spray the fun colour that you chose to paint the bottom of the car, in very thin layers, letting it dry in between coats
- tape off the thin line you want to be silver and cover the rest of the car
- when the paint is dry, you can reassemble the car
- place your stickers
- enjoy the most adorable upcycled mini VW bus!!
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