Hi guys! It's Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest. When we moved into our ranch home, I couldn't believe how much cabinet space the kitchen had compared to the tiny-spaced kitchen nook in our old apartment. I didn't know what to do with all of the new space, so I'm afraid I didn't fill the cabinets very efficiently. After living in the house for a couple of years, I decided it would be a good idea to reorganize the cabinets so we could hide our trash can inside of one. Instead of just placing the trash can inside of the cabinet, I rigged up this pull-out trash bin using drawer slide hardware. I learned a few things along the way, so check out my instructions below if you've been considering doing something similar in your own home!
– Trash can with a top lip that fits inside the cabinet (leaving at least a couple of inches all around it)
– Full-extension drawer slide hardware (about an inch shorter than the depth of the cabinet)
– Strips of wood to mount on the inside of the cabinet walls
– 1/2" plywood piece (size depends on cabinet size)
– Power drill + drill bits
– Flat screws (size depends on the width of the strips of wood you use on the cabinet walls)
– Wood glue
– Tape measure
– Two pencils
– (optional) Wood sealer or paint
You do not need a table saw to cut your lumber if you plan ahead and have pieces of wood cut for you at the lumber yard or hardware store.
Step One: Prepare to mount the drawer hardware. First, you will need to remove the shelf from inside the cabinet. Mine was nailed into place (ugh), so I had to saw it in half and use a hammer to bang it out of place and then to pry it from where it was nailed into the cabinet walls. Then I used a dremmel tool to grind off the nails.
After the shelves are removed, measure the height of your trash can and add one inch to that measurement. Measure up from the bottom of the cabinet sides and mark the height you've just found (the trash can height plus one inch) with a pencil. Use a level to extend that line across the width of the inside of the cabinet wall. You will be using that line as a guide for placing the two strips of wood which will hold the drawer hardware.
The thickness of the wood you use to hold the drawer slide hardware depends on how far the sides of the cabinet are recessed behind the cabinet facing. My cabinet insides were recessed less than an inch, so the lumber I got was 1"x3", each piece cut to the length of my drawer slides. You can have the wood cut to size at the hardware store if you don't own a table saw (which I don't!).Step Two: Secure each of the trimmed 1"x3" wood pieces up to the cabinet walls with four sheet metal screws. Sheet metal screws are nice because they are sharp enough to drive into wood without drilling a pilot hole first. I still drilled pilot holes into the pieces of wood before lining them up against the lines I had initially marked with the level across the width of the cabinet walls, although I did not need to drill pilot holes into the cabinet walls, thanks to the sheet metal screws. On each inside cabinet wall, I lined up a 1×3 so that the top of the wood was against the line I had marked, then I used masking tape to hold it into place while I drilled the sheet metal screws through the pilot holes of the 1×3 and into the cabinet wall.
Make sure the screws you use are less than the width of the cabinet walls plus the width of the wood you are mounting. You don't want the sharp ends of the screws poking through the other side of the cabinet wall! If you are not using sheet metal screws and need to drill pilot holes into the cabinet walls, it can be helpful to mark a point on your drill bit to show where you need to stop so that you don't drill completely through the cabinet wall. You can do this by placing masking tape right onto your drill bit, as shown in the image below left.Step Three: After you have mounted the wood for the drawer slide hardware, you will need to measure the exact width between them so you can cut the platform that the trash can will fit into. Using a level to measure the distance can help ensure the measurement is exact. Your drawer slides should come with paperwork that tells you how much space they take up. The standard is 1/2", so you should subtract that (or the exact measurement that your paperwork says) from the width you measured, and then have your plywood cut to that width. The depth your plywood should be cut should be the same as the length of your drawer slide hardware (about 1" less than the depth of your cabinet).Step Four: You will also want to cut pieces of wood to make an apron–or sides–for the trash can platform. You will take these pieces of wood and glue them to the top plywood piece to make it more substantial and to create a nice edge for attaching the drawer hardware to the platform. You only need three pieces of wood for this–one for the front, and one for each side. You can have these pieces cut from the remainder of the 1×3 you used in steps one and two. Just have the piece for the front portion of the apron cut to the exact width of the plywood piece from step three, and then the side pieces of the apron should be cut to the depth of the plywood piece minus the width of the front portion of the apron (probably 1", but check the width to make sure!). It's going to look like the image below after you glue those three apron pieces onto the plywood. Make sure the sides stay parallel, because you'll be attaching drawer hardware to this, and the drawer won't slide very nicely if it's not parallel. If you have clamps, use them to hold the wood in place while the glue dries.Step Five: Lay the trash can upside down onto the platform (after the wood glue has dried) and trace around it. My image shows this being done on the bottom side of the platform, but that was a goof on my part, because when I went to cut out the shape, I realized that the jigsaw couldn't cut the corners from the bottom of the platform because the apron got in the way. So trace the outline of your trash can on top of the platform, not under it.
Step Six: Hold two pencils together and trace around the outline you made in step five. Use tape to hold the pencils together if you're having trouble keeping them together. The goal is to transpose a line about a quarter-inch inside the outline of the trash can which you will use as a guide for cutting out the shape with the jigsaw in the next step. The smaller shape will keep the trash can from falling through the hole.Step Seven: Drill a hole near the newly transposed trash can outline–large enough to fit the blade of your jigsaw. Insert the jigsaw and begin cutting out the hole along the line. Do not make the hole larger than the smaller transposed trash can outline or the trash can will fall through it when you go to put it in place! If you're worried about the hole being the right size, practice on a piece of cardboard first.Step Eight: Sand along the hole you just cut and knock off any sharp corners of the trash can platform. At this point you will want to seal or paint your wood however you choose. I sprayed a coat of varnish.
Step Nine: Mount the inside part of your drawer slide hardware onto the middle of the platform sides. I drilled into the vertically-shaped hole (as shown above right) so that if I didn't get the placement of the drawer slide just right, the hardware could easily shift up or down once I slid the platform into place.Step Ten: Make sure the 1x3s that were mounted onto the cabinet walls are perfectly parallel. If they are not, sand them down until they are. Also, make sure the screws holding them into place do not jut out at all–I ran into this problem and it was so frustrating! When I drilled the pilot holes into the 1x3s in step two, I should have used a countersink drill bit so that the screws would be recessed and out of the way. I ended up having to take down those 1x3s, countersink the pilot holes, and put them back up again. Then I was able to use the level and hang the outside parts of the drawer slide hardware.
After the drawer slide hardware was attached to the cabinet walls and the trash can platform, I was ready to slide the platform into place and use my trash can! Or so I thought. It turned out that the wood I glued to the platform for the apron had shifted before the glue dried, which prevented the platform from being perfectly parallel. So I pulled out the platform, took off the drawer slide hardware, and sanded down the sides of the platform until they were parallel. Then I slid it back into place and it worked perfectly!After using this trash can for a few days, we decided it would be nice if the cabinet door was attached to the front of the trash can platform so that all you have to do is pull out the cabinet door, instead of opening it and then pulling out the trash can. Since we're going to be painting our cabinets soon, I think it will be the perfect time to remove the hinge hardware from the cabinet door and screw the door onto the trash can platform to make this handy hidden trash bin even easier to use!
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson