How to Build a Pull Out Trash Drawer

In: Kitchen Tutorials

How to build a pull out trash drawer from your existing cabinet!
I’m about to answer that age old question, “Where do you put the trash can?”
Sure they make all kinds of fancy trash cans, stainless steel, fingerprint proof, ones that open with a wave of the hand and the list goes on and on.  But, that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s really just a can of trash.  Do you really want that sitting out in your  brand spankin new kitchen?

That was a rhetorical question so I’ll just answer it for you:

“N-O- NO, NO, NO!”

Well, if your fortunate enough to be able to purchase a brand spanking new set of cabinets to go with that kitchen, (take your kitchen and stick it…good for you, but your probably reading the wrong blog…) and you have an issue with trash placement, you more than likely already bought the custom pull out trash cabinet.  But, if your not as fortunate, please read on.

If you read my previous posts, you will have already known that I have no kind of money for custom cabinetry or custom anything unless I build it myself.  Also, I have no knowledge of building anything, so to say that I’m winging it is an understatement.   But folks, I did it!  It may not be all that pretty on the inside (everyone knows it’s the outside that really counts anyway…), but I built a custom pull out trash cabinet for free.  That’s right, let it roll off of the tongue… free.

This was another one of those projects that when I showed up at Dad’s, he looked at me like I had an arm growing out of my forehead.  
“Just tell me where to cut.”  he grumbled as he shook his head slowly from side to side.
He’s the type that likes to go buy all of the best wood and blah, blah, blah…  He’s too good to find materials in say, dumpsters, or the back of the garage, or his neighbors trash…

I’m not.

Without further ado…

I will give you a short explanation on how you can build your own trash cabinet as well.  Just click the Paypal button to your right…

I’m just kidding! Here you go!

So I have this awkward little cabinet that sits between my fridge and stove.  It’s 18″wide by 24″ deep.  There is a door on the bottom with a half shelf in the upper back and then a drawer on top.  Here is a photo that I’ve posted before, but at least you can see which cabinet it is.

pull out trash location

I don’t have any pictures of the process, but it is pretty easy to explain.

1.  Take off the door and take out the drawer.  Then use a Japanese saw to cut out the small piece of wood that separates the drawer and door.  Sand and fill the sides to cover the saw marks.

2.  I had a shelf in my cabinet that needed to go, but it wasn’t going without a fight.  I swear an entire tube of liquid nails was holding that puppy in.  After trying to muster up as much brute strength I had- which is not a lot,  I used an age old technique that has worked for generations- I took the counter off, unscrewed the cabinet from the wall, made some cuts through the shelf with the japanese saw and stomped on it.  My boot won.

diy pull out trash cabinet
diy pull out trash cabinet

3.  Now to build your pull out unit.  I simply took the drawer face off of the drawer and built a 3-sided box with scrap plywood inside of it.  (I had already went to the store and found a trash can that was roughly 2″ less than my measurements for my cabinet.  I was the crazy lady with the tape measure in the trash can aisle.  I also borrowed a tape measure from the tool section, but I did return it exactly to where I found it. Swear.)

I had to add 2 small pieces of scrap to the front so that there were not holes between the drawer face and door face.  The wood that I cut out with the Japanese saw filled those in before and now it’s gone.

I made one side of mine shorter so it was easier to change the trash bag.  Your plywood just needs to be cut to fit your drawer, it will fit perfectly width/length wise inside your base cabinet since that is where it came from in the first place.  Just make sure that your height on the front is right on, the sides don’t matter so much, but the front you would be able to see if it were way off.  If you have 1/2″ plywood, that would be best so it is lighter.  I had 3/4″ plywood so I used it, but then on the front I had to add a piece of 1/2″ to make it flush with the front lip of the drawer.  Now it’s a bit on the heavy side, but the kids still have no problem opening it up.  Even the baby.

4.  Take the slides out of the cabinet base that were holding your drawer in the top, and put them in the bottom.  Make sure to use a level for this job.  I’m sure that those drawer slides are not rated for super heavy weight, but I don’t care because they were free.

baby with a drill
I hired a professional for this part.

5.  Make sure it fits!  Once it’s inside your cabinet, take a pencil and mark where your faces should be glued to match the rest of your cabinets.

unfinished trash cabinet

6.  Use construction adhesive on the backs of your faces and stick them on.  Be sure to clamp them on really tight and let them cure over night face up.  I did not do this the first time- As you can see, my door fell off and I almost lost my little toe about 2 weeks after putting it on.  I had only used glue around the edges though and thought that a few Harry Potter books would be enough weight to hold it down.  Dumb.

7.  Now, I’m sure there is probably a better way to do this, but this is what I did because I had scrap and I like to call myself a dabbler.  I use what I have-  See the 2 holes on the sides between the drawer and door?  No?  Here is a close up….

diy trash cabinet troubleshooting

K, well, I just measured out 2 little pieces of 1/2″ scrap then glued and nailed them into the sides.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy.  Filled in the gaps with filler, sanded and painted.  Can’t even tell.  See?

trash cabinet trim

Okay, so it needs a bit of sanding and paint and then you end up with this!!!!

finished diy pull out trash drawer
This beautiful cabinet couldn’t possible by harboring stinky trash could it?

There ya have it.  A super duper free way to hide the unsightly, but necessary trash can. 

 So uh…”Where’s the trash?”

Hidden in the cabinet- Duh!  Custom shmustom. Puh.