DIY: Paint Can Waste Baskets

There are some things that I'm willing to pay for. For quality, for great design, for no explicable reason other than I love something

Wastebaskets are not one of those things. Don't get me wrong, there are some well designed, quality wastepaper baskets out there, but I'm not willing to spend £35 on a thing to hold snotty tissues. 

But they're necessary right? (Hey, I have them in every room you don't need to convince me of that!) When I first moved into my flat, I started using paint cans left over from decorating (best practice if you're using a lot of the same colour is to empty all the canned paint into a single plastic bucket, with a lid. It means that any variation in the colour between cans is compensated for and you have a bucket of exactly one colour). I washed them out and free wastepaper baskets! And a good size for a bedroom/bathroom bin. Not that pretty though, but if I've learnt anything over the past year is few things can't be elevated with some matte black spray paint. Everything looks classier then, even old paint can bins.


You will need:

  • Paint cans
  • Stanley knife
  • Newspaper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Spray primer (extra Brownie points, i.e. I didn't bother. They sell it in Poundland, do as I say not as I do!)
  • Spray paint of your colour choice (My favorite is car touch up paint from Halfords. Sooo many colour options and great quality finish)
The raw material, my paint can with the handle removed

The raw material, my paint can with the handle removed

1. Take your paint can and cut off the handle with a Stanley Knife. Be really careful not to take fingers with it! Give your can a wipe down to remove any loose or dried paint.

Masking tape the edges

Masking tape the edges

Get the tape right into the fold of the top edge so that it gets a good seal

Get the tape right into the fold of the top edge so that it gets a good seal

2. Run a line of masking tape along the metal edge, to keep this detail to contrast the colour. Run your nail along the bottom edge to get a really good seal. Fold in the tape on the bottom edge, but leave the top bit standing up for the moment.

Using the can to template out a circle

Using the can to template out a circle

Drawn roughly by eye, the masking tape can compensate for a few inaccuracies

Drawn roughly by eye, the masking tape can compensate for a few inaccuracies

3. Cut a circle of newspaper. I fold the paper twice and then put the can on top, eyeballing a quarter of the circle. 

Circle to can

Circle to can

Paper set into the top edge of the can

Paper set into the top edge of the can

4. Put the newspaper circle into the top of the bin, resting on the edge. Fold down the masking tape to seal.

All sealed down and ready to paint

All sealed down and ready to paint

A little to large on the paper cutting is tweaked with a fold

A little to large on the paper cutting is tweaked with a fold

Tah Dah!

5. Take your prepared can outside and spray paint, being sure to keep the spray away from anything you don't want marked. Several thin coats is better, I used two, leaving to dry between.

the finished wastepaper bin

the finished wastepaper bin

And that crisp edge detail I was going for

And that crisp edge detail I was going for

6. Leave to dry thoroughly, and then remove all the masking tape and newspaper protections. Shiney, sleek, and (almost) free.