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Tricked-Out Trash Can

One man's trash can is another man's treasure. Dress up this galvanized garbage can and use it for storing items such as charcoal, fertilizer, and bird feed.

Trash Can

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

Few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Paintbrush


  • 31-gallon galvanized trash can (#94614)
  • 2"x60-yd. 3M blue painter's masking tape (#237158)
  • 1 quart Valspar Duramax exterior paint, Lyndhurst Mushroom #3007-9C, satin (#336702)
  • 1 quart Valspar Duramax exterior paint, Cliveden Sandstone #3007-10B, satin (# 336701)
  • 1 quart Valspar interior/exterior latex primer (#83058)
  • 1 quart Easy Liquid Sander KS (#156590)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Step 1

Prepare the trash can by removing labels and adhesives before washing it in hot, soapy water. The bathtub works great. Dry it thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Step 2

De-gloss with Easy Liquid Sander by following manufacturer's instructions. Simply apply the de-glosser with a lint-free towel and let dry for 10 minutes.

Step 3

Brush on one coat of primer, being certain to not let primer pool in cracks and crevices. Dry for two hours.

Step 4

Brush on a base coat of Lyndhurst Mushroom paint and allow it to dry before re-coating. Let the paint dry overnight before moving on to the next step.

Step 5

Lay the trash can on its side. Then, beginning at handle, use the ribbed undulations in trash can as your striping guide. Tape off the straightest part of every third rib (or create your own pattern). The last stripe you lay out -- ending back at the handle -- won't look perfect; that's okay. You can simply place the trash can so that the front is more visible than the sides to hide any imperfections.

Step 6

Taping can be tricky because of the undulations of the upper and lower parts of the trash can. To make it easier, lay the tape in the middle of the garbage can first, then press the tape into place carefully with your fingertips to get it into all the nooks and crannies. Some paint will still bleed underneath, but you can touch-up as needed later.

Step 7

Paint on one thin coat of the Lyndhurst Mushroom; this color should bleed under the tape and seal it up for the next, lighter stripe color. Let dry.

Step 8

Paint two thin coats of Cliveden Sandstone, allowing it to dry between coats. Carefully remove the tape, then touch-up as needed with a smaller paintbrush.

Step 9

Paint the lid solid Lyndhurst Mushroom in two to three coats. After the trash can and lid have dried, rub the outside of the upper portion of the can and the inside of the lid with an old wax candle to help the lid slip on and off.