How to Make a DIY Tilt Out Trash Can

After my kitchen remodel, I was left with a bunch of old, dirty, dingy cabinets. They were kind of disgusting, and I really, really wanted to drag them down to the curb and let somebody take them away. But my dad convinced me cabinets are useful, and since I had the space, I should keep them in the basement just in case I found a use for them one day.

He was right. Not even six months later, and I’m ready to turn one of them into a fancy trash can. Truthfully, a short and stubby base cabinet would probably be prefect for this project. But I only had one of those, and it was already in use in the basement. So I decided to grab one of the many wall cabinets for this project instead. My trash can table is a little skinny and tall, but hey, it works for the space, right?

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

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DIY Tilt-Out Trash Can
(From a wall cabinet)
Materials:
  • Cabinet- I used a wall cabinet because that was what I had, but a base cabinet would work too!
  • Trash Can- Since my cabinet was so small, I had to work pretty hard to find a trash can that fit inside the cabinet. I ended up with this one. If you have a larger cabinet, this is less of an issue.
  • 1" x 2" Furring Strip- For the door.
  • Beadboard- For the door and sides
  • 1" x 12" (or appropriate size wood)- This is to make the "top" of the cabinet and the supports for the trash can inside the cabinet. I used a 1" x 12" plus a piece of furring strip to cover the top. Use what works for your cabinet.
  • Pair of Hinges
  • Cabinet Pull
  • Paint

I know that was a lot for a cabinet that looks so simple! If you need some help getting this (or other) projects organized, check out my Project Planning Worksheet below! Given that I live an hour away from the home improvement store, I use it all the time to make sure I get everything I need for a project when I go shopping.

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Step 1: Add Beadboard to Cabinet Sides

I started with a 15" wide wall cabinet:

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

I cut some beadboard left over from my thrift store desk project to fit the sides of the cabinet. They attached to the sides of the cabinet quickly using wood glue and brad nails.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

Most beadboard furniture has a frame that goes around the beadboard section. I had some quarter inch plywood that I could have cut down to make a frame, but since I don’t have a table saw, it would have been a lot of work. I decided it looked fine without a frame, and moved on.

2) Make Door

Since the door was front and center of the piece, I decided it did need a frame, plus that would add some stability to the door. I made the frame out of 1 x 2 furring strips, cutting them so the frame (and therefore entire door) would measure 1/4” less than the opening. In this case, my opening measured 32 1/2” x 11 1/2”, so I made my frame measure 32 1/4” x 11 1/4”.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

At each joint in the frame I used wood glue and a single screw. I used a 2” screw and screwed it from the outside edge of the frame into the joint. This was a bit tricky to do since the wood is so thin. Next time, I think I would go ahead and attach the joints using a kreg jig.

Finally, I attached a beadboard panel to the frame using wood glue and brad nails.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects
Step 3) Paint

While I could paint the piece once it was fully assembled, painting now means I don't have to avoid the hardware, hinges, or other parts that don't need to be painted. And I am always in favor of making things easier for myself!

I painted this piece using plain old latex paint. "But what about chalk paint?" you ask. While I enjoy admiring all the vintage furniture flips I find on pinterest, the chalk paint look is actually not my personal style. I like the semi-gloss look of typical latex paint much better. In this particular case, I went with Behr’s Polar Bear White, if you were curious. Plus, there were a number of holes in the cabinet that needed to be filled with wood filler and sanded down anyway, so it wasn’t really a big deal to do a quick sanding with my sander before painting the piece.

Step 4: Add Trash Can Supports

The tilt-out trash can model relies on the trash can being attached to the door, and therefore tilting outward when the door opens. With this in mind, I designed a shelf that attaches to the door for the trash can to sit on. 

This shelf has three main pieces: The base that the trash can sits on, and two side supports that connects the base to the door.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

These were all cut from a 1" x 12". I believe the angle on the side pieces is around 37 degrees, but I wasn't measuring too closely. Instead, I just made an angled cut that I thought looked good. In fact, you don't even have to make an angled cut here. Rectangular pieces will be just as (and maybe even more) structurally sound.

I drilled three Kreg jig holes into the shorter sides of the side pieces. This will ultimately connect the supports to the door.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

Try not to make your bottom hole too close to the edge. Once the bottom is attached, if the hole is too close to the bottom, it will be difficult to add the screw.

Then I connected the bottom to the sides using wood screws. Note that I'm not using the Kreg holes here; they're for connecting the supports to the door later.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects
Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects
Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

Finally, I used the Kreg Jig holes I drilled earlier to connect the support to my door. I was super careful to make sure my supports were lined up with the furring strip frame on the door.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects
Step 5: Assemble

I started by attaching my door to the cabinet with the set of hinges I'd purchased. These are typical butt hinges that go between the bottom of the door and frame of the opening. If you've never installed hinges before, look at the pictures below super carefully before you install. Hinges can be confusing, so make sure you understand where they go before you start!

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects
Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

At this point, the weight of the supports pulled the door a little to far into the cabinet, so I added a stop piece of wood inside the cabinet.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

I attached it to the top of the cabinet with wood glue and screws

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

I attached my top pieces to the cabinet with brad nails and wood glue, nailing from the top down. While the brad nails are visible, they're small enough that they're not super obvious if you're just glancing at the piece. If they ever bother me, I can add wood filler to the holes to disguise the nails a bit more.

I did not add any screws, since I had no way to keep them invisible. I figure that gravity will hold the top in place. If in a few years I forget that it's not screwed down, and accidentally pull the top off, I figure I'll just fix it. That's a risk I'm willing to take.

Finally, I attached the cabinet pull to the door, and called it done!

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

I love having a trash can in my office. This is a stupid thing to be excited about, I know, but I've gone a full month without one, so now it seems like a luxury.

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects
Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

And I have another place for a fake plant! I do love pretending I have plants...

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

This was an awesome use for one of the many cabinets that are cluttering up my basement, and I'm so glad I thought of it. It matches my desk (another furniture transformation; check it out!) perfectly, and really completes the room. Which, by the way, is almost done! Stay tuned for the official reveal of my office!

Grungy wall cabinet becomes beautiful and functional tilt-out trash can in this simple DIY! #FurnitureFlips #DIYProjects

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