Jerry Can Trash Can





Introduction: Jerry Can Trash Can

Turn a military surplus fuel or water can into a hinged-lid trash can

Step 1: Decaptiate Jerry Can

Warning: This step involves cutting into an old gas can. Even if the can is bone dry, residual vapors could ignite (especially if power tools are used.) Vent the can completely, work in a well ventilated area, use eye protection, etc.

(Obligatory disclaimer: Not responsible for injuries, damage to property, angry neighbors, etc.)

Cut the top section from the can, just below the flange where the top of the can meets the body of the can. I used an angle grinder, but a hacksaw or rotary tool would work just as well.

Step 2: Grind or Sand Sharp Edges

Clean up the sharp edges on the can and lid using a grinder, sandpaper or file.

Step 3: Hinges

You can use whatever you have lying around or choose from the dizzying number of options your local hardware store has to offer. These 'light strap hinges' cost $3 for the pair.

Step 4: Rivet Hinges in Place

I chose to use rivets because they stay tight and look appropriate on military surplus. Apologies for the fuzzy pic. As you can see, I had to trim one of the hinges where I chose to locate it on the 'lid.' The 'barrel' of the hinge faces the outside of the can, and requires that notches are cut in the flange of the lid (see next pic.)

Step 5: Hinges Part 2

I notched the lid flange with the angle grinder, bending the notched sections with pliers until they broke off.

Step 6: Hinge Part 3

Lining up the hinge holes and drilling them for the rivets was the most time consuming part of the build, and even that didn't take very long.

Step 7: Trim the Edge Part 1

Optional Step: The edge of the can was still a bit rough after grinding, so I trimmed it with automotive door edge trim. Purchased at Wal-Mart for less than $3, it adds a nice smooth edge.

Step 8: Trimming the Can Edge Part 2

This door edge trim goes on easy and cuts with scissors.

Step 9: Finished Product 1

And that's all there is too it.

Step 10: Finished Product 2

(Apologies if this Instructable is amateurish; it's my first.)



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    15 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Thank you. I think I'm going to just hit the surplus store and see what they got. I might add a limiter to it to keep it from tipping over. Making one for my dads upcoming birthday. Thanks for the great instructable

    1 reply

    No problem. Good luck with your project!


    1 year ago

    So I know I'm coming at you with this question a few years after you posted this and even a few years after the last comment. What year of can did you use for this project?

    1 reply

    I picked up this can at an antique/junk store --welll used-so unless there's some kind of marking that would help to identify it, I don't know it's vintage. Still have it, albeit retired for use as a trash can. When empty, the weight of the lid makes it prone to tip over, so I kept a brick in the bottom, which ate into interior space. Instead, I added a pair of toolbox clasps and my wife uses it for chain and tow strap storage, in her Jeep.

    Excellent ible, well done great pix. Thanks for sharing.

    nice job. however, i think it would have been better to put the hinges opposite the "nozzle" or w/e. and i think it would have been easier to open.

    2 replies

    That was my original plan, but since it sits under my desk, lifting the lid with a rear hinge would have been awkward, and probably not left much clearance. Also, there's less weight stress on the side mounted hinges, and since I snugged the 'barrels' of the hinges in the recesses I cut in the flange, the hinge action is snug (as opposed to being loose and floppy, if that makes any sense.) That said, I think if you didn't have those limitations, not only would it work well but the hinges would be in the back, where they'd be least visible.

    thats a really sweet idea. jerry cans are awesome, and this would be a great project if a can had a whole in it , or a rusted out bottom. keep up the good work

    1 reply