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How to Add a Pull Out Trash Can to a Cabinet

This DIY pull out trash can is just what your kitchen needs! Learn how to convert any lower cabinet into a custom pull out trash can cabinet with just a few tools!

DIY 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 and hide it away instead! This is a fairly simple project, and is a fraction of the cost of one of those fancy store-bought kits!

Don't want to sacrifice one of your existing cabinets? I found a used kitchen cabinet that fit into the spot where the trash cans were stored. It gives us a place to hide them away, plus extra counter space!

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Supplies Needed

How to Make a Trash Can Cabinet

Take Measurements First

The size of your cabinet opening and the drawer slides you use will determine how big to make the trash can drawer. Center mount drawer slides give you more flexibility in the size of your box, but aren't as stable as side mount slides. Here are the general guidelines for measuring for each type:

  • Center mount drawer slides
    • Needs at least 1 / 8" of clearance on both sides of the opening, but can be smaller if you're putting the trash can on one side of a double-door opening.
    • Requires 1 ½" of clearance in the back for the bracket that holds the drawer rail in place.
    • If you have a cabinet with a face frame that is flush with the bottom shelf, you'll need to elevate the front with a piece of 1x2 board. I go into this process in more detail below!
  • Side mount drawer slides
    • The box needs to be exactly the width of the opening minus the thickness of the slides.
    • The drawer can be the same depth as the cabinet, so you can potentially fit two cans in the same space.
    • May require additional blocking if there's a face frame on the front of the cabinet. This will bring the sides even with the opening and give you something to screw the drawer slides to.

My opening is 11 ½" wide, and the center mount drawer slides I used require 1 / 8" of clearance on either side. 1x12 boards are actually 11 ¼" wide, so it was the perfect size for the bottom piece! You could also use ¾" plywood and cut it to the required size.

Once you've figured out the dimensions of the bottom of the box, you need to decide how tall to make the sides. A 1x6 board is actually 5 ½" wide, which is tall enough to keep the trash can from tipping out of the drawer without adding a lot of unnecessary weight.

Cut the Drawer Box Pieces

Cut your lumber to the required dimensions using a miter saw, circular saw, or even a miter box. If you're making two pull out trash cans (one for trash and the other for recycling), you'll need to double the cuts.

cut pieces for pull out trash can drawer

Here are the dimensions I used for one trash can drawer. Keep in mind that your measurements may be different depending on the size of your cabinet opening!

Bottom - Cut 1 @ 22"Front & Back - Cut 2 @ 11 ¼"Drawer slide support - Cut 1 at 11 ½"
Sides - Cut 2 @ 20 ½"

Test Fit the Pieces

Test the fit all the pieces together before making any holes. The 1x12 board will serve as the bottom of the drawer, and the 1x6 boards will sit on top of it.

test fit the boards for the trash cabinet drawer box

Predrill the Holes

You can assemble the trash cabinet drawer box two different ways: pocket holes or countersink screws.

Pocket Holes

Drill pocket holes at the ¾" thickness setting along one long edge of all the 1x6 boards, as well as the two short ends of the 20 ½" side pieces. You can assemble the box with the pocket holes on the inside or the outside. You can learn more about how to use a Kreg Jig here

pocket holes in sides of drawer box for pull out trash can cabinet

Countersink Screws

It's really important to sink the heads of the screws below the surface of the wood, so they don't interfere with the drawer slides. A countersink bit predrills the screw hole and creates a divot where the screw head will rest, leaving the sides flat.

Drill the countersink holes along the entire perimeter of the bottom piece, as well as the sides of the front and back pieces. I recommend marking a line ⅜" in from the outside edges so you drill the hole smack in the middle of the adjoining boards.

countersink holes along edges of trash can cabinet drawer box

Assemble the Trash Can Drawer Box

Apply wood glue to the adjoining 1x6 pieces, and use clamps to hold everything together. Then assemble the outside of the box with 1 ¼" pocket hole screws or 1 ¼" flat head wood screws.

Then place your rectangle on top of the 1x12 base, and screw it down. Make sure the sides line up with the outside edge of the box, and that everything is square.

trash can cabinet drawer box assembled

Yay, you have a box! Now we need to make the box move.

Install the 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.

I settled on these center mount drawer slides because it makes removing the drawer from the track super simple. I didn't want trash to get caught under or behind the drawer and not be able to get it out easily. With this system, you simply lift the drawer off the rail to clean out the cabinet.

center mount drawer slide kit

If you prefer to use side-mount drawer slides, there's a great tutorial on how to make a trash can cabinet with this method in the video below!

Start by installing the bracket in the back of the cabinet. It should be centered in the middle of the cabinet opening and raised up slightly according to the instructions. The long rail rests inside the back bracket.

inside of trash can cabinet with center mount drawer slides attached to back

Now you need to attach the front of the rail to the front of cabinet. Cut a piece of 1x2 to the exact width of the opening and attach it to the front of the cabinet. Then screw the other end of the rail to the middle of the board, and the side guide wheels on the ends.

center mount drawer slide hardware installed inside bottom of cabinet

Finally, attach the small wheel to the center of the back of the trash can cabinet drawer. This will sit inside the rail and allow it to roll smoothly.

center mount drawer slide wheel attached to back of trash can cabinet drawer

Test Fit the Drawer

Pop the drawer into the rail and see how it works! I needed to adjust the side wheels slightly so that the edges of the drawer slid smoothly against the guides. The front of the drawer should be flush with the outside edge of the trash can cabinet opening.

trash can cabinet test fitting drawer

Install the Door Handle at the Top

While you don't have to change the location of the door handle, it will help prevent wear on the drawer slides if it's centered at the top. Otherwise, your drawer will start pulling to the side and the door will be crooked.

Since I was repainting the whole trash cabinet anyway, I filled in the screw holes on the cabinet door and drilled new ones at the top. Once it's painted, the wood filler disappears!

filling screw hole in cabinet door with wood filler

Attach the Cabinet Door to the Drawer

You'll want the cabinet doors on both sides to line up at the top and bottom. The easiest way to do this is with double sided tape! I prefer to use heavy duty carpet tape, because it's extra sticky and works well for this trick.

Stick it to the front of the trash can drawer, and remove the protective backing. Then align cabinet door with the one next to it, and press firmly. The door should stick to the drawer box, so you can gently pull it out and attach it with screws.

attach the cabinet door to the trash can cabinet drawer with screws

It's important to check the length of the screws you will be using to attach the cabinet door. The last thing you want is to have a screw poking out the front!

Insert the Trash Can Cabinet Drawer into the Track

Now just insert the drawer wheel into the slot on the rail and slide it into place. I cut some grippy drawer liner to fit inside to prevent the trash can from moving around when the drawer gets slammed.

inserting trash can into cabinet

I saved so much money by making my own pull out trash can cabinet rather than shelling out for an expensive pre-made kit! I'll be building the same trash and recycling pull outs when we remodel the kitchen too.

kitchen cabinet with pull out trash can
How to Make a Pull Out Trash Can


Monday 1st of November 2021

Fantastic tutorial! Thank you so much!!!


Monday 7th of January 2019

I just found your tutorial and cannot wait to add this to my kitchen. However, I cannot find a cabinet that is this size. Can you tell me where you purchased this cabinet? Thanks!!


Tuesday 8th of January 2019

I bought this cabinet at an architectural salvage store, so it would be difficult to find the exact one. You can easily adjust the dimensions of the "drawer" to match your existing cabinet and find a trash can that will fit the space.


Tuesday 29th of May 2018

What a great project! Sharing! Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Hope to see ya next week! Kim


Monday 28th of May 2018

Thank you for the great tutorial. I love this idea. Thanks for sharing at whatd you do this weekend.


Tuesday 14th of March 2017

Certainly saves some bucks while providing a solution for waste and recycling goods, very creative.


Saturday 3rd of March 2018

Just wanted to say "thanks" for posting this! I was looking b/c I couldn't find a 24" cabinet pull-out for a reasonable price. After I read this, I bought the Kreg jig and built a very similar version of yours for a 24" cabinet. Good idea and good tip on the jig - just expanded my horizons in woodworking. God bless.

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