How to Build a Hinged Trash Container

Difficulty: Medium  |  Estimated time: 2 hours  |  Help needed: 4 volunteers

Recycling bins and trash containers help you maintain the playspace by providing places for community members to properly dispose of waste. Bins can be placed inside these containers, making for a much more attractive receptacle.

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity: Materials:
2 2x4x12' boards
1 2x4x8' board
2 4x4x8' boards
10 1x6x6' pickets
(optional) Primer and painting materials
1lb 2 ½" deck screws
1lb 6d galvanized nails
2 3" hinges
1 gate latch
(optional) Exterior paint and painting materials
2 80lb bags concrete (optional)
Tools needed:
Miter Saw
Pencil
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Carpenter's square
Drill
Screwdriver bit
Hammer
Sandpaper

Preparation instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Take the [2] 4x4x8' boards. Cut each into [2] 40" pieces, for a total of [4] 4x4x40" pieces.

    If you will be concreting the trash container into the ground, cut 48" pieces instead of 40".
  3. Take [1] 2x4x12' board. Cut into [4] 2x4x31" pieces and [1] 2x4x19" piece.

  4. Take the remaining 2x4x12' board. Cut into [4] 2x4x28" pieces and [1] 2x4x19" piece.

  5. Take the 2x4x8' board. Cut into [2] 2x4x28" pieces and [1] 2x4x31" piece.

  6. Take all [10] 1x6x6' pickets. Cut into [2] 1x6x36" pieces, for a total of [20] 1x6x36" pieces.

  7. Angled Cuts:

    • Because you cut your pickets in half, [10] now have dog-ears and [10] do not. Using the miter saw, match the angles on the dog-eared halves so that all pickets have dog-ears on one end.
  8. Priming:

    • If the trash container pickets will be painted after assembly, prime them on both sides and all edges.

Build instructions

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.

    Quantity: Inventory:
    4 4x4x40' pieces OR
    4 4x4x48" pieces
    5 2x4x31" pieces
    2 2x4x19" pieces
    6 2x4x28" pieces
    20 1x6x36" pickets
  2. Start by attaching [3] of the 2x4x28" boards to [2] of the 4x4x40" (OR 4x4x48") pieces using the 2 ½" deck screws. Be sure the outside edges of the 2x4s are flush with the outside edges of the 4x4s. The top 2x4 should be attached flush with the top of the 4x4 posts. The bottom 2x4 should be attached 4" above the bottom of the posts. For the middle 2x4, center it so it is even between the top and bottom frames.

  3. Repeat this process with the [3] remaining 2x4x28" pieces and the remaining [2] 4x4x40" (OR 4x4x48") pieces.

  4. Connect these two frames using [3] 2x4x31" boards to form a 3-sided rectangle. The top 2x4 should be attached flush with the top of the 4x4 posts. The bottom 2x4 should be attached 4" above the bottom of the posts. For the middle 2x4, center it so it is even between the top and bottom frames.

  5. Build the door frame. Use [2] 2x4x19" pieces and [2] 2x4x31" pieces to build the gate frame as shown. Use the 2 ½" screws to secure each connection.

  6. Attach the pickets: Using 6d nails, start by attaching a picket onto each bare 4x4 post on the side that is getting the gate. Align the pickets here so that the edge is flush with the inside edge of the 4x4. The other 3 pickets can be attached to the gate frame itself. Then continue around the trash container frame, attaching 5 pickets per side.


  7. Secure the gate frame to the posts. Be sure to check that the gate frame does not hit the post when it swings open. Position the gate frame between the posts accordingly so that it swings open freely. Use two hinges to attach the gate frame to the picket/post on one side while the other side will be secured with a latch. Make sure the frame is attached so that the top of the pickets on the frame line up with the top of the pickets that have been attached to the posts. Use the 2 ½" screws to attach the hinges.

  8. It is important that the hinge and clasp points are affixed so that they are driven through the pickets and into the 2x4s on the frame (and not JUST the pickets). You can move the hinges and the clasp as necessary to ensure this happens.

  9. If you will be setting the trash container in concrete, dig [4] holes 8" deep and 6" in diameter.

  10. If you will be painting the trash container, ensure that it is fully assembled and set in place first.