Convert a Cabinet into a Pull-Out Trash Bin

How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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!

How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!Supplies:

– 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)
– Jigsaw
– Power drill + drill bits
– Flat screws (size depends on the width of the strips of wood you use on the cabinet walls)
– Wood glue
– Level
– Tape measure
– Two pencils
– Sandpaper
– (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!).How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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.How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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).How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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.How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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.IHow to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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.How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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.How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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!How to convert a cabinet into a pull-out trash bin- get that trash can out of sight!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

  • Love this project! Seriously so cute. I hate having trash cans out in the open; they’re such an eyesore. But just having them under the sink or in a separate cabinet can be a little annoying since I blindly throw things in without making sure they made it to the trash can. I love the idea of a pull out drawer!


  • I have freestanding cabinets in my living room, and am thinking that adding pull-out shelves (kind of like the top of your trash-can holder) would do well for storing CDs. All my CDs are currently in stacks inside the cabinets, which makes them not accessible!

  • I agree Caitlin, it’d be great to know upfront so I didn’t get halfway through the project and figure out it wasn’t worth it.

  • I’ve seen this on Pinterest, but I never really thought it was something I could put together myself. Thanks for showing us the steps!


  • I think part of why I appreciate DIY projects in general is the vast variety of projects that are shown. I know someone else mentioned the YoungHouseLove post that was like this one, and one of the things that they do that wasn’t included here was a budget for the project. They always list what they owned previously, what was left over from other projects, and what they had to purchase for this specific endeavor, along with prices for everything. Because of this information all being unavailable for your post, I felt like this was a bit of a bait-and-switch. As an apartment dweller, I can’t store lumber, so though I do have all the tools you listed I couldn’t easily store up the other supplies used. I think it would have been a much stronger piece if you’d divulged how much you ended up spending; most DIYers would appreciate that kind of information upfront. For many people, this would be an at least $75 project to DIY, and a $50-90 project to purchase a solution. Like you said, you have to know yourself and your needs, but without more information about your budget, beginner DIYers might know how much they would spend until they’d already purchased all the supplies.

  • What a cool idea! If I didn’t live in a rental this would totally be on my to-do list. Sigh, I can’t wait till I actually own my place and am allowed to do all these awesome ideas! I also wanted to say that I appreciated your comment to Caitlin, some great ideas on how to save money over the long haul. I think it would be a great idea to do another post on how to save money on DIYs (like buying that gallon of wood glue)! I know I would enjoy it. 🙂

  • I need this in my house! Our garbage sits outside of the cabinet because there are 6 people and someone is always throwing something out (when not recycling, of course). This would be so useful!

  • You have some serious DIY skills!

  • I know what you mean! We had our trash can sitting out in our small apartment kitchen and it killed me that I couldn’t put it inside a cabinet, but then again… if I could’ve done this project in a rental, I wouldn’t have, because I didn’t have the cabinet space. Sigh. Renting was honestly pretty great, though, because I miss being able to call the landlord when we had a problem with the furnace or water heater.

    Our trash can in our home was actually sitting in our dining room (that’s open to our kitchen) because there was literally not one foot of open floor space since the previous owner was really zealous about under cabinet storage. I can appreciate that kind of zeal, though! 🙂 Anyways, we’re just glad to not have our trash can sitting out in the dining room being an eyesore.

  • The cost definitely varies depending on if you have scrap lumber or not. The drawer slide hardware runs about $15. You may be interested in reading my (very long) response to Caitlin just a bit above your own comment. 🙂

  • You know it’s interesting that you mention flimsy, because when I was originally looking at the palstic pull-out trash can kits (the kind that have trays) from the hardware store, I thought they looked pretty flimsy, which is one of the reasons I wanted to build my own. The plywood is extremely sturdy. Hygiene actually isn’t a problem because we don’t store anything in that cabinet expect the trash bin, and the door closes to contain the trash, just as a trash can lid would close to contain trash.

    If you are interested in cost, you may want to read my (somewhat long) response to Caitlin’s comment a bit above your own. It might help you decide if this project fits within your budget or not.

  • You know, honestly, it looks fine, but the problem we’ve realized is that we’re so lazy and hate the extra motion of having to open the door and pull out the trash can! haha! So, we’d like to rig it this week so that you just pull out the door and trash can in just one motion. 🙂

  • My trash bag is in place now and I can promise it works just fine. 🙂 I thought the plastic bag didn’t look as pretty in pictures, so I didn’t include it in the photos. To use a trash bag in your can, you just pull out the trash can, put the bag in it, and slide the trash can back into place. The weight of the trash can keeps the bag into place, because the bag slips between the lip of the trash can and the hole in the platform.

  • The reason I chose to build my own is because the kit at the hardware store cost around $60 for the size cabinet I have- and the prices went up to even $90 for double trash can kits. This project cost me $15 for the drawer slide hardware, and maybe a total of $30 if you count the division of cost from scrap lumber, glue, and sealer which were leftover from previous projects. A door mount kit is unnecessary for this project because if you want to mount the door to the rig (which I mentioned I’ll probably be doing this week), you just remove the hinges from the door, fill the holes from the hinges in the wood, and then use a few screws to connect the door to the apron of the little trash can platform I quickly built.

    A Beautiful Mess shares projects for all kinds of crafters- we share sewing projects, scrapbook projects, food projects, and a wide array of traditional craft projects. This project is definitely more geared towards someone who enjoys small scale carpentry projects, or for someone who knows they want to try doing more of that kind of craft. When you undertake multiple carpentry projects, you’ll learn that small-scale projects like this are actually rather inexpensive because just one piece of 8′ plywood (or an 8′ length of 1×3, etc.) will get you through lots of projects, spread out the cost and saving you lots of money by doing it yourself.

    I know not everyone has time for multiple projects back-to-back, which I don’t either, so it’s a good idea to store the leftover lumber until you need it for the next project. This time around, I didn’t actually have to buy any lumber, because I got into my stash from earlier in 2013. My dad taught me trick to save money on items like wood glue also by purchasing a large gallon size of it and then filling leftover containers (like from syrup, ketchup, etc.) so that the gallon supply doesn’t dry out before you use it. I can buy one gallon of wood glue and use it over the coarse of several years, even! I also buy a big box of sheet metal screws and store them in a small drawer cabinet so I rarely ever need to buy screws for projects like this. Some people prefer to just buy a small bottle of glue or a few screws at a time because they don’t do many wood projects, and that’s fine. But if you’re someone who’s into the DIY lifestyle, learning tips like saving all of your lumber pieces and buying wood glue in bulk will really make projects like this extremely inexpensive.

    Regarding your concern for the trash can- I can’t say for certain how long this particular trash can will last, but my parents have this setup in their kitchen (where I got the idea) and theirs has lasted 15 years so far. I’m sure it would be different if a larger utility size bin was used instead of a standard kitchen trash can, and then it was filled it with heavy things. But most kitchen cabinets wouldn’t have the space for something of that heft anyway.

    I guess the point is, if you’re never going to do another wood working project again, then yes- this project will look nice, but definitely be more expensive and create more waste than the tray-style kit sold at hardware stores. But if you enjoy DIY projects and weekend home improvement projects, then buying the lumber and spreading it out across several projects will save you money in the long run. You just have to know yourself and your needs before you decide if it’s worth it! 🙂

  • Taking over the world, one household at a time!

    Sophie x

  • This one of the best blog on DIY, very detailed. Anyway, that DIY trash can compartment is very organized, love it, how much does it cost to install such DIY?

  • I agree, putting the cabinet drawer of the front would look much better. I would love to see how that looks! Keep on keeping on guys.


  • nice idea but seems expensive, flimsy and not v. hygienic without a lid on the bin

  • Really great idea. I am doing now my kitchen so this idea is perfect. If you have more ideas.. i am waiting. xa

  • Wow, you are way more DIY’able (pretty sure that’s not a word) than me! That’s awesome! It took a remodel for me to get my trash can in my cabinet. I didn’t have any cabinet space to spare, but it was well worth it!

  • The Young House Love blog recently did a post featuring this same DIY – They bought a store bought kit for the slider part (I love that you made yours yourself!) but at the end of the post they cover attaching the door to the slider. Good luck! One day I hope to have my own kitchen and not a rental so that I can do the same!

  • Great DIY!
    You found a perfect solution! I love it!
    A fashion & DIY blog…

  • How do you fit a trash bag over the top? Looks like there’s nowhere to pull the bag over the lip so it doesn’t fall down into the trash can.

  • Simply genius. Such a must for every kitchen if you don’t have space for a floor bin

    tsiou, from

  • You ladies are so freaking awesome! I have a pull-out trash bin, but I bought mine from Bed Bath and Beyond! I made the hubby drill a few holes into an empty cabinet and voila! I love these type of trash bins. So easy and convenient!
    Carla @ Love Cartista

  • Having the trash in a cabinet is a big advantage, if you have the space. It minimizes odors and keeps the trash tucked away from pets and little ones. Beautiful job. I also really affirm the process you went through. When we first move in we often put items away just to get “livable”.. but if we find out later that we aren’t loving it, we shouldn’t be afraid to unpack and rethink!!

  • I’m a little confused. Even assuming you have all of the power tools required (let’s say you even get rather inexpensive ones and get out of a store for about $100 for the jigsaw, drill, drill bits, and the level), you have left over plywood, wood slats, screws, wood glue, sandpaper, wood stain/paint (easily another $50-75) you’ve built a trashcan that will be prone to breaking because you’ve put all of the weight on the fragile lip around the edge of the top…and made it difficult to replace the bag without getting completely tangled up. So let’s say you buy the least expensive 22 inch ball bearing slides (~$15 from Home Depot’s website), you still have to purchase a door mount kit or make one yourself (again, assuming you have all the supplies).

    Or for about $50-65 you could buy a door mount kit and a frame that supports from the bottom instead of the top, and have it installed in 15 minutes. Why is this a DIY if it doesn’t improve on what’s commercially available or provide for a smaller budget?

  • We have had a similar set up, but with two cans (trash and recycle) placed on a pull out attached to a drawer face. One big issue, especially with kids, is that it is difficult to keep the door and bottom clean. Yours should be easier with the top, but I would recommend painting it with a actionable paint.
    You did a great job and I wish ours hung like yours.

  • great DIY! so handy when there’s no space for a bin!

    xx Milly

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