Introduction: Jerry Can Cabinet

A few weeks back I came across an ad of a Jerry can. However, it was not just an ordinary jerry can but it was converted into a liquor cabinet. I liked the looks and the idea of it but there were some design features which I was not a fan of, such as a door that opened downwards. Furthermore the price, a bit over 700 USD, was to high for me. This is why I decided to try to make my own, which I managed to do for about 70 USD.

In this instructable you will be guided to create your own jerry can cabinet with an exchangeable shelve combination. I will provide you with the shelve combination which I have created for my camera equipment but feel free to customize it so it fits your needs. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments and also post the results of your jerry can cabinet.

Step 1: What You Will Need

For this instructable you will need the following:


  • An old cleaned or new jerry can
  • Wood
  • Hinges
  • Knob
  • Rubber lipping
  • Screws + bolts + washers


  • Dremel with cutting blade
  • Angle grinder with cutting blade
  • Band saw (or a jigsaw)
  • Metal file
  • Whiteboard marker, pen
  • Try square (optional, ruler works as well)
  • Sandpaper
  • Plainer
  • (Pillar) Drill + drill bit

Step 2: Decide on the Door Size

Before cutting out the door of the jerry can, it is a good idea to decide on how large you want the door to be. I used a whiteboard marker taped to a try square to mark different door sizes. After having tried 3 different door sizes (25mm, 30mm and 35 mm in from the side) I decided to use the one that measured 30 mm from the outside of the jerry can.

I put tape over the lines to not accidently erase them while cutting as well as to be able to draw a thinner line on top of the thick whiteboard marker line.

Step 3: Cut Out the Door

The door can either be cut out using a dremel or an angle grinder.

I started of using a dremel but quickly came to the conclusion that it would take much time which is why I switched to an angle grinder. Another advantage with the angle grinder was that it created a wider cut, due to the wider cutting wheel, which would have been needed anyway to be able to fit the rubber stripe and still close the door properly. When using an angle grinder, help to hold the jerry can in place is recommended, preferably not by just a foot as in this case but by an extra set of hands. In this case a foot had to do to be able to document the process.

Lastly, the corners of the door were cut using a dremel to be able to create as round corners as possible. As always when cutting metal, sharp edges form which is why one should watch their hands. Use gloves and a metal file to round and remove the sharp edges.

Step 4: Add Rubber Stripe and Adjust

Add the rubber stripe over the edges and test the fitment of the door. As can be seen from the third photo the door did not fit as expected right away, which is why the corners were adjusted and cut to have a larger radius using a dremel and a metal file.

Step 5: Measure and Design Inside of Jeep Can

The next step will be to create the inside shelves of the Jerry can. Depending on what you want to store in your Jerry can you should think about how you design the inside. The design I used is for camera equipment and I decided to use locking joints to be able to remove and add another shelve combination later on if I want to.

Since the measures might vary slightly depending on the brand of the Jerry can, start by measuring the inside of the Jerry can and from this create your design. I used Autodesk Inventor to first cad the whole assembly to better visualize the inside.

To make sure that my measurements were correct, I made a template for the bottom piece to try the fitment in the Jerry can, and luckily it did ;).

The drawings I used to create my shelf are appended below.

Step 6: Build the Shelves (the Inside)

To construct your design, start by plaining the wood for the shelves; in this case it was plained down to 12 mm. Then use the templates to draw the outline of the various pieces onto the wood. Having done this, it is time to cut out the different pieces, preferably using a band saw. Since the Jerry can has an indentation in the middle on the short side, half a 20 mm hole was made using a pillar drill. In each corner, 6 mm in from the edges, a 3 mm wide and 8 mm deep hole was drilled for the support pillars. A tip is to put a piece of wood between the clamp and the wood for the shelf to not damage the planks for the shelf by the pressure of the clamp.

Following was some fine tuning by sanding the edges and the locking joints to make sure that they fitment was perfect. Remember to sand with the veins of the wood for the best result.

Finally, supporting pillars were made with a dimension of 12x12x(the length between the shelves) mm. A 12 mm deep hole was drilled into these, which could then be filled with a 20 mm long, 3 mm in diameter plug.

Step 7: Prepare and Assemble the Doors

The next step will be to fit the door and the door knob. To find good looking hinges took some time, but at last I found chromed hinges at a boat retail store. So if you, like me, want chromed hinges a tip is to look at your local boat store. Measure half the width of the hinges and decide on a suitable height and mark where you want to fit the hinges using a nail or something sharp. I fitted the hinges at 15 mm in from the edge and at a height of 100 and 270 mm.

To make sure that you drill the hole where you want, start drilling with a thin drill bit, preferably 1 or 2 mm in diameter, and then switch to the wider one (in my case 4 mm) which matches the bolts you have bought (M4 in my case).

Mount the hinges and cut the rubbing strip to correct dimensions. From this the placement for the holes on the door can easily be obtained by putting in the door with the rubbing strip mounted on it to get the correct position. Carry out the same drill procedure as presented earlier and Woalah! The door is mounted.

Lastly, but not least, mount the door knob, once more using the same drilling procedure. I mounted the doorknob at 45 mm from the door side and at a height of 180 mm from the lower side of the door.

Step 8: Assemble Shelves

The final step will be to assemble the planks to form the shelves for the cabinet. Depending on how you designed your shelves this may be a very easy or simple step.

Step 9: Fill and Enjoy

Find a nice place to store and more importantly to showcase your new awesome cabinet.

Thank you for making it all the way to the end. I hope you enjoyed this instructable and that you will try to make your own jerry can cabinet. If you have any questions I will gladly answer them in the comments and be sure to post a few pictures if you make a jerry can cabinet in the comments!

Have a nice day, Tim

Box Contest 2017

First Prize in the
Box Contest 2017

MacGyver Challenge

Runner Up in the
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Fix It Contest

Second Prize in the
Fix It Contest