How to Build Wooden Garbage Bins

Written by cheryl torrie
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Wooden garbage bins are a classic and economical alternative to stainless steel garbage cans that can make a kitchen appear too institutional. Making your own garbage bin gives you the benefit of being able to choose your own stain or paint colours and add any artistic motifs to create a one-of-a-kind look. It may seem complicated at first but it's easy to build this taper-sided garbage can with its attractive exterior trim that can be customised with any scroll-like pattern to match or accent any kitchen decor.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1/2-inch birch plywood
  • Yard stick
  • Pencil
  • 1/2-inch pine plywood
  • 3/4-inch pine plywood
  • 2 saw horses
  • Wood clamps
  • Jigsaw
  • Carpenter's square
  • Wood glue
  • 1 1/4-inch finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Mitre saw
  • Panel pins
  • Router
  • Drawer knob with hardware
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Paint, stain and polyurethane, if desired
  • 10 gallon garbage bag

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Draw the outline of two side pieces that are 30 inches long by 11 3/4 inches wide at the top and 8 3/4 inches wide at the bottom, one back piece that is 30 inches long by 13 3/4 inches wide at the top and 11 inches wide at the bottom, one front piece that is 30 inches long by 13 3/4 inches wide at the top and 11 inches wide at the bottom and one base piece that is 9 inches by 8 inches onto one sheet of 1/2-inch birch plywood.

  2. 2

    Draw four 2 1/2-inch by 28 1/4-inch side edging pieces, four 3-inch by 28 1/4-inch front and back edging pieces, two 3 1/2-inch by 5-inch side base edging pieces, two 3 1/2-inch by 6-inch front and back base edging pieces, two 4-inch by 12 1/2-inch lid sides and two 4-inch by 14 3/4-inch lid front and back pieces onto a sheet of 1/2-inch pine plywood.

  3. 3

    Draw two 1 1/2-inch by 12 3/4-inch lid top side pieces, two 1 1/2-inch by 14-inch lid top front and back pieces and one 11 1/4-inch by 12 1/4-inch lid piece onto a half sheet of 3/4-inch pine plywood.

  4. 4

    Clamp the plywood boards to saw horses with wood clamps and cut out the pieces with a jigsaw. Mark their position description onto them with a pencil as you cut them out.

  5. 5

    Glue the sides, front and back pieces together with the joints square and the side pieces overlapping the front and back pieces with wood glue. Clamp the joints with wood clamps and allow the glue to dry for 30 minutes. Reinforce the glued joints on the garbage bin by hammering four equally spaced 1 1/4-inch finishing nails along each joint.

  6. 6

    Taper the 1/2-inch edge of the 9-inch by 8-inch plywood base by cutting a 15 degree downwards mitred cut along the outside edges with a mitre saw.

  7. 7

    Drop the base piece into the garbage bin from the top opening, wedge it into position 3/4-inch above the bottom of the garbage can and hammer three equally spaced finishing nails along each the four outside walls into the base piece.

  8. 8

    Choose a geometrical or flowing curve design for your trim pieces, draw this design onto the inside length ends of the eight front, back and side edging pieces and the top edges of the four side, front and back edging pieces. Cut the designs out with a jigsaw and cut a 15 degree mitred on the outside edges with a mitre saw.

  9. 9

    Glue the edging pieces with the base edging pieces flush to the bottom edge of the garbage can and the side edging pieces flush against the bottom edging pieces, with the front and back pieces overlapping the ends of the side pieces, with wood glue. Allow the wood glue to dry for 30 minutes. Reinforce the glue pieces by hammering three equally spaced panel pins into each of the trim pieces.

  10. 10

    Construct the top lid edging pieces and open garbage can lid by gluing the lid sides, front and back pieces together square with the front and back pieces overlapping the side piece ends. Allow the glue to dry for 30 minutes. Reinforce the glued joints by hammering in two finishing nails along each of them.

  11. 11

    Cut 45 degree mitre cuts on each end of the lid top side, back and front pieces with a mitre saw and glue them to the top of the top interior edge of the glued lid edging pieces, with wood glue. Wait 30 minutes and reinforce the glued joints with two equally finishing nails along each joint.

  12. 12

    Cut a 1/4-inch deep and 3/4-inch wide lip around the outside edge of the 11 1/4-inch by 12 1/4-inch lid with a router. Round the exterior edges with a router and attach a drawer knob to the centre of the lid with the included hardware.

  13. 13

    Sand the exterior of the garbage can with 120-grit sandpaper. Finish it with stain or paint and polyurethane as desired and place a 10 gallon garbage bag in the wooden garbage bin with the top edge of the bag over the exterior edge of the bin and place the lid frame and lid on the can.

Tips and warnings

  • Using your cabinet door frame outline on the trim pieces adds a customised accent to your wood garbage can.
  • Wear safety glasses while using power tools.

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