How to Make a Trash Can
This trash container, built in two parts, is easier than it looks.
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Building projects like this trash container are really fun for me. Not only do they help me practice my building skills, but projects like these can easily become birthday or holiday presents. So it's practicing and practical. Just ask my buddy and co-host Shari Hiller. She has about 10 of these things. (Either I'm cheap, or I have a short memory).
The container itself is built in two parts, the main body and the lid. I start by building the body. Cut two boards to measure 12 inches by 24 inches.
These two boards will be the front and back. Cut two other boards 11-1/4 inches by 24 inches to make up the sides. Once the boards are nailed together the base will be a perfect square.
At the bottom of two of the boards, which will become the front and back for the base, I created the leg design by placing — and I know you're not going to believe this — a plastic cup lid. Place the lid in from the side about 1-1/2 inches. Line the straw cut out along the edge of the board and draw the curve of the cup. Repeat this same step on the other side and connect with a straight edge. This may not sound very technical, but it really does work and the lid was handy at the time. Cut the leg out using a jigsaw, leaving the line; sand the edge smooth using 120 grit sandpaper sanding until you have removed the line.
Repeat this process with the other two sideboards but measure out only 3/4 inches. Once the boards are placed together the legs will be evenly matched all the way around.
Assemble the base using wood glue and 1 1/2 finish nails. Fill the holes with spackle and sand smooth.
For the lid, cut two side pieces to measure 5 inches by 12-1/8 inches. The extra 1/8 inch will allow the lid to easily slide onto the top of the body. Cut the back piece to measure 5 inches by 12-1/8 inches.
To give the lid the slope, measure over from one edge of the side board 13/4 inches, and place a pencil mark, then on the other edge measure up 3 inches making another mark, draw a straight line, and cut out the angle using a circular saw. Repeat this step for the other sideboard. Assemble the two sides to the back using wood glue and finish nails. Just make sure that you drill pilot holes so the wood won't split.
For the front board you need to allow for the angle of the sides. Place an edge of the board against the side and transfer the angle line to the front board. Make the cut by adjusting your circular saw to match the angle.
The door of the lid is actually two sections. The first section is a smaller cross piece that secures directly to the body of the container, the larger portion is attached to the cross piece with hinges to create the door of the container.
The cross piece measures 13-1/2 inches by 3 inches; the extra length is so the door unit will have a 1-inch overhang from the lower lid unit. The front edge that the larger door unit will be hinged to should be cut with the same angle as the front of the lower lid unit. This edge will be cut using the same angle already established on your circular saw while cutting out the front board of the lid. Once this piece is cut out attach this portion of the top door to the lid unit using wood glue and finish nails.
The door portion of the lid will measure 13-1/2 inches by 10-1/2 inches. Cut the board to length and attach to the cross piece using cabinet hinges. The door should open and close easily.
Well that's about it, a trash container that's easy and fun to build. It may seem confusing as you read the instructions, but as you start working with the project it becomes very logical. Oh just remember, if you start making these as gifts, make a list of who you gave them to. One container per person is quite enough.
Matt Fox writes this column with Shari Hiller. They also co-host the Home & Garden Television show Room by Room.
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