In this day and age, we are all about hiding the ugly things and only showing the pretty and aesthetic things. One of the ugly things I have always wanted to hide in my house was the trashcan. It finally happened, so read on to see how we planned to convert a kitchen cabinet into a trash drawer.
I asked my husband to do this for my birthday. He agreed because while it makes the kitchen cleaner and prettier, it is also very functional. What is it about guys always thinking of resell?
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While you can absolutely build you own pull out trash cabinet, there is an easier way to convert a cabinet into a pull out drawer. I’ll cover both options and share the one we went with.
The Easiest Way To Make A Pull Out Trash Drawer
The easiest way to convert a cabinet to a trash drawer is to add a custom pull out shelf. But should you build it or buy it?
When you are going to add a pull out trash can to a cabinet, you have to have a place in mind. Luckily, we had ONE cabinet that had the right depth, position, and only one cabinet door, making it the perfect spot.
We were initially going to build one from scratch, but ultimately researched pre made trash pull out drawer systems because it sounded easier. I found one that fit my cabinet perfectly. Bad news was it attached at the bottom of the cabinet with flimsy wire racks for the trashcans.
I wanted something more sturdy, so we found this system from rev-a-shelf that attached at the top and to the door with a strong piece of wood at the top for the trash cans to sit in. The problem with this one was it wasn’t quite a perfect fit, so we had to get creative to make it fit just right.
Installing a Pull Out Trash Can
Materials Needed To Convert Cabinet To Trash Drawer
- Trash Drawer Kit
- Tape measure
- Scrap wood pieces (you’ll see what I mean)
- Table Saw
Step 1-Measure Your Cabinet
First you want to measure your cabinet so you order the right size to fit your cabinet. My cabinet was 17 1/2″W x 20 1/2″H at the opening and 23 1/2″D. The closest we could find was a premade shelf with measurements at 15″W x 22.75″D x 17.88″H.
There was plenty of height, but we needed to a add bump out to each side. We did this with some scrap wood ripped down on the table saw to 1 1/4″W. I got this measurement by subtracting the width of the shelf (15″W) from my cabinet opening (17 1/2″W) which gave me 2 1/2″W and divided that in 2.
Then we attached them with screws to the back side of the cabinet face frame.
The depth was a little short as well, so we measured, marked with a pencil, and added another 3/4″ bump out to the back to make everything fit nice and snug.
Step 2-Assemble Your Shelf and Install Drawer Slides
Next, take your shelf out of the box and organize all the pieces. This kit has the wood shelf that holds the trash cans, the cans, drawer slides and the brackets to attach to the cabinet door.
Attach the drawer slides to the sides of your cabinet face frame and the back of the cabinet. If you had to add bump outs to the sides and front like we did, attach the slides there.
Remove the door and the hinges. Measure and install the drawer slides at the side and the back. Insert the shelf and the two trash cans. Test the tracks. We made the opening pretty close to the width of the shelf so that when the trash drawer was opened and closed, it could be smooth but not slammed shut.
Step 3-Attach The Door To The Pull Out Shelf
Finally, measure and attach the door to the shelf. You’ll want to make sure the height matches the other cabinets and it is centered on the cabinet opening. Attach with the screws that come in the kit.
Make sure before you screw the door to the shelf, make sure the length of the screws won’t go through the front of the cabinet door.
Building A Drawer From Scratch
If I had build my trash cabinet myself here is the steps I would have taken to do it. The perk for me is I would have used only scrap wood and saved a little money. Time spent would have been about the same.
Assemble Base Of Trash Can Drawer
First, Assemble a base out of 2x4s. I would use 2x4s because they are sturdy, cheap and widely available. Take measurements of your cabinet, mine are above. Make the base at least a 1/2 inch smaller than the width of the cabinet to accommodate for the drawer slides.
Next, Secure the base of the trash can drawer base with screws. You can use pocket holes if you have a kreg jig, but I just used 2 inch wood screws to make sure it was sturdy. Do this on all for corners.
Measure For The Shelf and Trash Can Cut Out
Then, get a flat piece of wood of some kind (I have 3/4 in plywood here), and start measuring. I measured my plywood piece to be the exact width and length of my cabinet to make it snug and not slam shut on use and to use every inch of space.
Cut to size. This can be done with a table saw, circular saw or jig saw.
Draw a hole where the trash can will fit. I used the 14 in wide trash cans that can in the rev-a-shelf kit that I bought. My idea would be to use a 16 inch trash can and only have one in the center of the pull out trash drawer.
The rest of the shelf behind the trash can will be able to hold extra trash bags or maybe where I’ll hide the candy from my kids….
Final Steps of Building a Trash Drawer From Scratch
- Cut the hole out with a jigsaw.
- Sand the inside so the edges are smooth.
- Nail the shelf to the base making sure the front is flush to be able to reattach the cabinet door, the sides have a 1/2 in over hang to slide on top of the drawer slides, and the shelf for extra trash bags is in the back.
- Install bump outs behind the face frame so they are flush with the inside edges. This is where you will part attach your drawer slides. The other part goes on the side of your trash can base.
- Center the door and reattach from the inside of the base.
- Enjoy your trash can that I imagine would look something like this below except one trash can!
This is a super simple project that anyone can do. I love that we were able to convert a cabinet to a trash drawer that was already in the kitchen. It totally makes sense, gets the ugly trashcan behind the door and adds a great feature that will help with resale. That is music to my husband’s ears.
I love any chance I can take something we already had and make it pretty while keeping it functional like when I spray painted our door knobs.
The best part of all of this is it was less than $200 and an hour of work. I love when function and aesthetics meet. What do you think? Would you make this change?