Hide away your kitchen trash can in a trash can cabinet! This tutorial will show you how to convert any cabinet into a custom pull out trash can cabinet.
Are you tired of looking at your gross kitchen trash can while you cook? Make this pull out trash can cabinet instead! This is a fairly simple project, and is a fraction of the cost of one of those fancy Rev-a-Shelf systems with a door mounting kit. You can do this with any lower cabinet, although your dimensions will change depending on the size of your opening.
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Supplies for Pull Out Trash Can Cabinet
- One 1 x 6 board – 6 feet long
- One 1 x 12 board – 2 feet long
- One set of drawer slides. I used these center mount ones.
- Kreg Jig and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws (or regular wood screws and a countersink drill bit)
- Trash can that is slightly shorter and narrower than your opening. I bought this one, which is a perfect fit for the dimensions provided.
If you have a cabinet that has a flat bottom edge like mine, you will also need a small piece of 1 x 2 to elevate the drawer slide in the cabinet. If your face frame extends above the bottom of the cabinet floor, you can use that instead.
Instructions for Making Your Pull Out Trash Can Cabinet
Step 1 – Measuring
Measure your cabinet opening. My opening is 11 1/2″ wide, and the drawer slides I used require 1/8″ of clearance on either side. 1×12 boards are actually 11 1/4″ wide, so it was the perfect size! Most cabinets are about 24″ deep (mine is 23 3/4″), and you need 1 1/2″ of clearance in the back for the bracket that holds the drawer rail in place.
Step 2 – Cutting
Cut your lumber (or have it cut for you at your home improvement store). If you’re making two pull out trash can cabinets (one for trash and the other for recycling), you’ll need another 1 x 6 board and double the cuts.
- 1 x 12 – cut to 22″
- 1 x 6 – cut two pieces at 11 1/4″ and two pieces at 20 1/2″
- 1 x 2 – cut one piece at 11 1/2″ (skip this step if your cabinet has a frame that sticks up from the bottom)
Step 3 – Pre-drill holes
Test the fit before making any holes. The 1 x 12 board will serve as the bottom of the drawer, and the 1 x 6 boards will be screwed into it from the top.
I used my Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes along the bottom edge of all the 1 x 6 pieces. The ends of the longer boards will also get a couple pocket holes. If you don’t have a Kreg Jig, you will need to pre-drill with a countersink drill bit so that your screw heads are below the surface of the wood.
Step 4 – Assembly
Glue and screw the 1 x 6 pieces together to form a rectangle. I use a Kreg right angle clamp to make sure everything stays square while I drive the screws in.
Then place your rectangle on top of the 1 x 12 base, and screw it down.
Yay, you have a box! Now we need to make the box move.
Step 5 – Install drawer slide hardware
I went back and forth about whether to install regular drawer slides that attach to the sides, or a center mount system that goes on the bottom. These center mount drawer slides work best because it makes removing the drawer from the track super simple. I didn’t want trash to get caught under the drawer and not be able to get it out easily. With this system, I just pull the drawer out all the way, then lift it up and out of the track!
Start by installing the bracket in the back of the cabinet. It should be centered in the middle of the cabinet opening. The long rail rests inside the back bracket.
Now you need to attach the front of the rail to the front of cabinet. I had a bunch of 1 x 2 scraps from my floating shelves project, so I cut a piece the exact width of the cabinet opening and attached it with screws. Now I had something to rest the end of the rail on, and it allows the side guide wheels to turn properly.
Finally, attach the small wheel to the center of the back of the trash can cabinet drawer. This will sit inside the rail.
Then test to see if it all works! I needed to adjust the side wheels slightly so that the edges of the drawer slid smoothly against the guiding wheels, but I just unscrewed them slightly and nudged them over. The front of the drawer should end up flush with the outside edge of the trash can cabinet opening.
Step 6 – Attach the cabinet door to the drawer
Measure the distance from the bottom of an adjacent cabinet door to the bottom of the interior cabinet. Then measure the height from the bottom of the cabinet to the top of your drawer slide, plus another 1/8″ for clearance. That number is how high on the cabinet door you need to attach your drawer.
I marked a line on the back of the door, then placed the drawer bottom edge on that line. Make sure it’s centered on the door, then clamp it into place.
It’s important to check the length of the screws you will be using to attach the drawer. The last thing you want is to have a screw poking out the front of the cabinet door! Attach the drawer to the door in each corner, then remove the clamps and do the same at the top.
Now just insert the drawer wheel into the slot on the rail and slide the trash can cabinet drawer into place. I cut some grippy drawer liner to fit inside to prevent the trash can from moving around when the drawer gets slammed. Speaking of trash cans, this one from Target fits perfectly!
I saved so much money by making my own pull out trash can cabinet drawer rather than shelling out for an expensive pre-made system! I’ll be building the same trash and recycling pull outs when we remodel the kitchen too.
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