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How to Build a Custom Tilt-Out Trash Cabinet

Learn how to build a DIY trash can cabinet on a budget so you can hide those ugly cans once and for all!

custom tilt-out trash cabinet with text overlay

A huge thanks to Elmer’s for sponsoring this post! Our favorable opinion of high quality products that help us build awesome things is 100% our own. 🙂 This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Abby

I’m a pro at coming up with project ideas… mostly ideas that I need Donnie to help me execute. (He loves it, I promise! 😉 ) While we were working on the kitchen, I had plenty of said ideas, including one to build a custom cabinet to hide our trash can (because really, who wants to look at a trash can?!).

As I usually do, I kept sending Donnie photos and links to plans for such a cabinet until he agreed to build it. 🙂 Because he is awesome, he whipped up the best custom cabinet ever, AND it even matches the rest of our kitchen perfectly– woot! Since Donnie is the one that put it all together, I’m going to let him share the how-to. Here he is….


Donnie

When we began our kitchen remodel, we knew we were going to have to do something about the trash can– our old one was stained and dented and just had to go. While we would have loved to have had room to work the trash can into the cabinets that were already part of the kitchen plan, space prohibited us from doing so, so we set out to build a custom cabinet of our own.

Like Abby always does, she found the perfect plan for a custom built tilt-out trash can cabinet on Ana White’s fantastic DIY blog. (While you’re on her site, check out her progress on her Alaskan cabin!) I quickly looked over the plan and agreed to give it a shot. I’m no cabinet builder, but I do know how to measure and cut wood. Paint and wood-filler can hide a lot of mistakes!

We decided to modify the plan and give it a more custom look by using a cabinet door that matched the rest of our kitchen rather than building a generic door that was a different style.


Before you start

For this type of custom project, I recommend purchasing your ideal size/style trash can first and then building a tilt-out cabinet around that size. Our local Target had a dozen or so trash can size options, and the large rectangular trash cans seemed to work best.

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How to Make a DIY Trash Can Cabinet Step-by-Step

Tools and Supplies You’ll Need

1. Choose the cabinet door sized for your garbage can.

The first step was deciding what size cabinet door would work best for this project. We ended up with a 21” x 30” door, and that ended up being perfect for a large size garbage can. Depending on the size of your space, you may prefer a smaller or larger finished project.

At the home improvement store, I didn’t realize I would have so many 1×12 options. I knew that my project would be painted, so I was more concerned with finding straight boards that were knot-free. I ended up with some really nice pine boards– not the best choice for high-end furniture, but the perfect price point for this garbage can project.

2. Measure the lumber for the cabinet.

When preparing to cut the four sides of the cabinet frame out of 1x12s, I used the cabinet door measurements and added an 1/8” to each side. This ensured that I had plenty of room for the narrow hinges and freedom of movement to open and close the tilt-out cabinet.

I can’t overemphasize how important it is to get your initial dimensions and cuts just perfect. There was no way to alter the size of the cabinet door, so I had to make sure the cabinet frame would create a perfect fit. I used a pencil and paper to sketch everything out. Measure twice, cut once! I also made sure I left enough room at the bottom of the cabinet for the 1×3 toe kick.

Once I had the 4-sided frame of 1x12s measured and cut, I double checked my dimensions one more time. I even went as far as to hold everything up against my cabinet door to make sure my math wasn’t off. After this triple verification, I started making my pocket holes to connect the frame together.

3. Drill the pocket holes.

close up of a pocket hole
pocket hole

This was my first time using a Kreg Jig kit, and man was it fun! I bought the least expensive model, and it was perfect for my needs. The included directions make getting a perfect pocket hole a breeze.

a clamp on a piece of wood for a tilt out trash can
Kreg Jig

4. Glue the joints together.

After I drilled the pocket holes (I did three per side), I used a generous amount of Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue on the joints before screwing everything together. If you know anything about cabinetry or even trim work, you know that wood screws can pull loose over time and create an ugly, flimsy gap in your project. The only way to make that perfect joint that never separates is with screws and wood glue.

If I’m painting a project I always use the regular Elmer’s Wood Glue, but if it’s a staining project I always make sure to use their Wood Glue Max product. It has some real wood fibers in the glue, and I’ve found that even after wiping away the excess that wood fibers accept some stain and you end up with nicer finished project without weird light spots that inferior brand wood glue can leave.

two bottles of Elmer's wood glue

I was really impressed with how easy it was to create incredibly strong joints with the Kreg Jig and Elmer’s Wood Glue. Just having the four 1x12s together without any other structural support, the cabinet felt rock-solid. I’m now a huge pocket hole fan.

With the trash can cabinet, I thought it made the most sense to leave the back open for cleaning and easy removal of the trash can if need be. If your circumstances are different and you want a back, a piece of finish-grade plywood should do the trick. To me, it was unnecessary weight and expense.

5. Assemble the finish boards.

After the four cabinet sides were joined, it was time to attach the various 1x3s and 1x2s trim pieces to give the cabinet a finished look. I followed the exact same process as before — measure twice, cut once, attach with the pocket hole method and Elmer’s Wood Glue. At this stage I found that bar clamps were helpful in holding the small trim pieces in place while I fastened the joints.

Here’s where I used my 1x3s:

  • Bottom toe-kick
  • Rear base trim
  • Underneath the top front ledge

Here’s where I used my 1x2s:

  • Cabinet top overhanging “lip”
  • Front and back sides
  • Top back piece
labeled picture showing where all the wood pieces should go for the trash cabinet

That may sound confusing but it really wasn’t. Take a look at our picture as well as the Ana White plan, and it’s pretty obvious where each piece goes.

6. Apply wood filler if needed.

Another benefit to using pocket holes is that you don’t have a bunch of nail or screw holes on the front surface of your project. I did have a gap or two where my trim pieces came together (I’m not a pro) and for those I quickly filled them with Elmer’s Wood Filler. Done.

7. Sand the cabinet.

Once the trim pieces were attached and glued, I made sure to sand down the cabinet with my orbital sander. This inexpensive tool really comes in handy for these woodworking-type projects.

8. Prime and paint.

I actually enjoy listening to podcasts with my headphones while I let the power sander do all the work. I worked my way down progressively, starting with a a course sand paper and moving to a very fine sandpaper. This gave me a nice smooth surface for primer and paint.

9. Cut and assemble the tilt door.

Once the cabinet “box” was painted, it was time to work on the tilt-out cabinet door. You can see in the picture that that I cut two 1x12s at a 45 degree angle with my chop saw (a table saw or circular saw would work as well) for the angled sides. I then made a straight cut on a 1×12 for the garbage can resting spot.

three pieces of cut wood to use for the inside of the garbage cabinet

I now had two separate pieces of the project — the cabinet frame and the tilt-out cabinet door. Place the door into the cabinet frame to make sure everything fits. (I held my breath for this.)

10. Screw on the hinges.

When selecting hinges for the project, I considered a 12” long piano style hinge, but I ended up buying two narrow hinges that were smaller but seemed slightly thicker and more durable than the bendy piano hinges. I suspect that either would work just fine.

I placed the hinges on the cabinet frame and traced them with a pencil before using a wood chisel to create slightly recessed seat for the hinges. I could have skipped this step, but the recessed hinges allowed for a better fit. It would’ve been a little too tight without the recess for the hinges.

I decided not to create the same indent or recessed spot on the cabinet door because of the much harder material of the cabinet front. After creating the indent on the cabinet frame, attaching the hinges with the provided wood screws was easy.

close up of hinges on the inside of the cabinet

11. Add the drawer pull.

We used a drawer pull that matched the rest of our kitchen for the handle, and the project was complete!

This really is the type of project that anyone can do. For woodworking, the joinery aspect is always the most difficult for me, but I have so much more confidence now that I’ve discovered the strength of pocket hole + Elmer’s Wood Glue combination. To learn more about Elmer’s products and DIY projects, be sure to sign up for their newsletter.

opening the custom tilt-out trash can cabinet

Abby

So awesome, right?! He tries to pull the, “I don’t know if I’m skilled enough to build this…” line, but I know better– his projects always turn out beautifully! If you’re planning on building a tilt-out trash cabinet of your own, feel free to download a printable PDF of our instructions here.

Yield: 1 Tilt-out trash can with the cabinet door measuring 21"x30".

How To Build a Custom Tilt-Out Trash Cabinet

DIY Cabinet to hide trash can

Learn how to build a budget friendly trash can cabinet from scratch with a tilt-out door using these easy steps. Use these building plans before gathering your materials.

Materials

Tools

Instructions

  1. Measure and cut the 1x12s to build the frame of the cabinet. I used the cabinet door measurements and added an 1/8” to each side to make sure I had plenty of room for the narrow hinges.
  2. Use the Kreg Jig to make the pocket holes. I drilled 3 per side.
  3. Add wood glue to all of the joints then screw them together.
  4. Measure, cut, and attach the 1x2s and 1x3s for a finished look. assembled trash cabinet labeled with measurments
  5. If there are any gaps, apply wood filler.
  6. Sand down the entire cabinet starting with a coarse paper, working down to a finer paper.
  7. Prime the cabinet box, then paint.
  8. Cut two 1x12s at a 45 degree angle for the angled sides of the tilt door.
  9. Make a straight cut on a 1x12 for the can resting spot.the raw wood needed for the tilt pieces of the trash cabinet
  10. Sand, prime, and paint the door pieces.
  11. Install the hinges. I placed the hinges on the cabinet frame and traced them with a pencil before using a wood chisel to create slightly recessed seat for the hinges. hinges on the inside of the trash cabinet
  12. Add the drawer pull.pulling open the custom tilt out garbage cabinet

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you done any DIY building projects lately? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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Have a wonderful day, friends!

Abby Lawson, Just a Girl and Her Blog

A huge thanks to Elmer’s for sponsoring this post! Our favorable opinion of high quality products that help us build awesome things is 100% our own. 🙂 This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

37 Comments

  1. Love this Abby! I have been wanting to buy one of these for so long but now I may have to just get my husband to make it! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Katie! It was a fun project! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  2. That’s AWESOME. Great tutorial

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Asma! Enjoy your weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Addi Ganley says:

    This is a fantastic idea and just looks like part of the kitchen instead of a large trash can in the room! Great idea and great execution looks amazing in your kitchen.

    Thank you for the idea and the post. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Addi! You are the sweetest! Hope you have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Jordan Tomkinson says:

    I love this!! I wish I had the tools to build something like this myself. Alas, we are a young couple who still don’t even have a fully stocked spice rack, let alone power tools. Haha. Very good job!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! You will get there, my friend! Donnie has been borrowing his dad’s tools for years while we’ve built up our own collection! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Hi, Abby & Donnie ~ Great project, as always! It looks so beautiful and crisp that I’d have no idea it held a trash can. I love how it’s styled, too! So many gorgeous touches! Pinning this, because I know I’m going to ask my husband to help me build one, too. :0)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Tiffany! Those husbands do come in handy sometimes, right?! 😉 Hope you have a wonderful weekend, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Hi, Abby ~ You guys did a great job with this project! It’s a perfect example of function meeting beauty. My two favorite things!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooh mine too! 🙂 Thank you so much, Corey! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Love it Abby! Great idea!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Marie! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  8. AMAZING you guys. I really NEED one of those. Our trash can sits out in the kitchen and I have always kind of hated that. This is a perfect solution.
    Don’t you love Ana White’s plans.? She makes building furniture look easy. We have used her plans to make 3 different tables for our home. She is our go-to for any DIY furniture project.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Love Ana White– so talented! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Melissa!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Your blog financial results are impressive. Found you via matthew woodward.

  10. This is amazing!! Great tutorial -and such a fabulous project for you kitchen!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Krista! It was a fun one! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  11. This is fabulous, Abby! Such a great idea and Donnie did an exceptional job building!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! He does kind of come in handy around here… 😉 Have a wonderful weekend with your sweet girls!!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Vineta @ The Handyman's Daughter says:

    I’ve been meaning to build something like this for ages. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It’s a great project! Have fun with it, Vineta! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Jess @ Make and Do Crew says:

    I love Ana White’s site! My dad built a learning tower for my daughter with Ana’s plans. I could get lost for days coming up projects of hers is like to build. The trash can trap door is a really useful one! (I love your cabinet pulls too.)

  14. Katie Nathey says:

    This is such a great idea and it turned out awesome! I love that you used a cabinet door that matches everything else in your kitchen.

  15. Lauren Baxter says:

    Great Job Donnie 🙂 That’s a great tutorial and super easy to follow!

    Looks awesome

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor
    xx

  16. Thank you for the great idea! I read over the directions and am having a hard time telling exactly what keeps the hinged door from opening all the way to the floor. Is it the hinges themselves, or is there a stop mechanism I am not seeing? Thanks for any information you’re able to give. I look forward to sending along your webpage for my husband to reference!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Katie! On ours, the doors could go the whole way to the floor. The person holding it is what stops it. You would need to add chains if you want it to stop on its own. Hope this helps! ~Abby =)

  17. John Briggs says:

    This is an awesome tutorial!! We coud definitely use something like this in our kitchen. The photos on your blog are great, BTW. Thanks!

  18. Hannah Rooks says:

    Love this! How much did the whole project cost you out of curiosity?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh it’s been a while now, but I want to say it was around $100? Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Have you ever tried doing a tilt in a narrower cabinet, i.e. turning the trash can the other way. I have 2 cabinets from an inside 135* corner that are wasted and wanted to put cans to tilt inside each. I assume there maybe an issue with clearance as the can is longer in this orientation. Any suggestions before I start?

  20. When you tilt the “drawer” out, does it stay open for hands-free use or does it close automatically?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      We could have added chains so that it would stay out hands free, but we opted not to. It really hasn’t been a problem so far!

      ~Abby =)

  21. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. My trash can sits in my dining room as there is no other place to put it. How much better would it be to look at a pretty cabinet than a black plastic trash can from Walmart! I can’t wait! Now to incorporate some help (i.e. husband and two grown sons!!!!) Thank you! Oh and the table for your deck is beautiful. Thank you for sharing that too!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh, good! So glad it will be helpful for you, Tracey! It really does make such a difference! <3

      ~Abby =)

  22. I can’t blame Donnie, it looks like a pretty daunting project to me too…

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