cardboard

How to make a nice looking garbage can out of a cardboard box.


I recently moved into a new home and in the process found that I was needing to throw a lot of things away but I only had one tiny garbage can. Eventually I ended up just throwing things away in boxes and realized that a box makes a fantastic garbage can, but they are too big to put a plastic bag in and don't really look all that nice. The simple solution was to make a garbage can that was the perfect size to fit my needs.


To make these garbage cans I used scissors, a measuring tape, a pen, and paper tape. I would suggest using a knife or exacto blade instead of scissors. Also, I love the tape I used; it looks nice and I just prefer paper tape. This is the tape I bought, though any packing tape would would work fine.


To start I measured my bag dimensions. I just used a normal Walmart bag which is probably about the same size as most grocery bags. I found that it was 12" long by about 12" high and 7" wide. My measurements probably are not super exact but that is ok.


I used Amazon boxes and found that the flaps of the box are almost a perfect size; 12" x 6". Because of this, I decided to make my box only six inches wide (though I think seven inches may have been a bit better).


So because I was going for 12" x 6", I measured out and cut a piece of cardboard that was 12" x 36" (12+12+6+6). When you cut, make sure you cut the long side perpendicular to the vertical ridges on the cardboard; this makes things much easier and ultimately makes it nicer looking.


Yay! Cutting boxes is fun! Like I mentioned before, it probably would have looked nicer if I used an exacto blade or something like that.


I just cut off a flap of a pretty standard sized Amazon box.


The box size for the flap I used was 1B2 in case you were wondering.


Now that I have my two pieces ready, I used the bottom (Amazon box flap) to help me know where I needed to fold the box over. You could measure this out but I found it faster and easier just to use the bottom as a template.


This is what it looked like after I folded it and before I taped it together.


This tape almost looks like it is part of the box! Cool beans. I like using cardboard to build random things and I always use this tape because it just looks so much better.


Just tape along every edge.


Lastly, tape the edge on the side of your new garbage can!


You can see how well the bag fits in this garbage can! It stays on well but is still big enough to put trash in it. Added bonus; this is a great size for a dust pan so you don't spill as you are dumping from the dustpan.


You can see that because I designed this specifically for the bag, the bag fits perfectly!


While you can certainly find a nicer looking and sturdier garbage can, I think you would be hard pressed to find anything cheaper! I have found that this size works really well in bathrooms and is nice to have in every bedroom. I don't even think it looks any worse than other garbage cans I have used in the past.

Do you know of another good use for cardboard boxes? Write a comment below and tell me your idea.

About McKay Christensen

After having lived in Oregon, Alaska, and China for the past 10 years doing landscape design and English teaching, I have returned to my home state of Utah and currently work for a growing tech company.

In my free time I enjoy working on my TutorialGeek.net website where I post tutorials and reviews (and anything else I think is geeky) and I also like to write songs for my Super English Kid Youtube channel.

My favorite things to do include anything with my wife and son. Hiking, camping, and photography (or anything else outdoors). Playing Ultimate Frisbee or Ping Pong. Listening to 60s, 70s, or 80s, music. 

Feel free to contact me using my contact page. I would love to hear from any of you!

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