How To Decoupage A Garbage Can To Match Your Decor

How to Decoupage a Garbage Can

Garbage cans are one of those things that we don’t really want to need to have, but we all have garbage and we need a place to put it.

There’s no reason why your garbage can shouldn’t be pretty to look at. When you decoupage a garbage can you can make it fit in with any decor style or colour scheme.

When I posted my china cabinet makeover of a makeover I mentioned that the replaced polka dots that were stealing that show would be showing up somewhere else in the kitchen. So here they are today adding their star quality to a completely different project.

I’m a fan of garbage cans with lids, and I’ve had this stainless steel one in my kitchen for years. I tend to keep things pretty much forever.

It’s been so long I don’t even remember where I got it.

There’s nothing really wrong with it. It’s just missing some much needed personality to make it stand out in the garbage can crowd.

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Stainless steel flip top lid before for how to decoupage a garbage can


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Supplies needed for this decoupage project included:

Wrapping Paper
Matte Mod Podge
Exacto Knife

How to Decoupage a Garbage Can with Gift Wrap

Measuring for how to decoupage a garbage can

I measured around the garbage can with my tape measure.


Measuring gift wrap for how to decoupage a garbage can

For my garbage can this polka dot wrapping paper is perfect, but use whatever paper you love… there are endless patterns and colours out there.


Applying gift wrap to the main body of the can for how to decoupage a garbage can

After cutting the size of gift wrap that I needed, with about 2″ extra at the top, I applied the Mod Podge to the can about 6″ at a time.


Smoothing down gift wrap down for how to decoupage a garbage can

I somehow managed to misplace my brayer, so I was left to smoothing the paper out with my hands as I went.


Cutting around the foot pedal for how to decoupage a garbage can

I cut around the foot pedal for the flip top lid with my exacto knife…


back view of can for how to decoupage a garbage can

… and continued the paper under the pedal, patching it a bit. It’s not pretty, but it won’t be seen so I’m not worried about it.


Gift wrapdecoupaged to main can body of can for how to decoupage a garbage can

Here you can see the inside of the top of the can where I mod podged the overlap in place.

TIP: When decoupaging with thin paper like gift wrap what works best for me is to not coat the paper at all, but just the surface to where the paper is being applied. Also I don’t topcoat the paper until it’s totally dry. This worked for this project but also for these reverse decoupaged chandelier crystals and these photos decoupaged on canvas frames.

After the paper is dry I apply 3 or 4 top coats of MP, letting it dry well in between coats.


How to Decoupage a Garbage Can Lid

Stainless steel garbage can flip top lid before for how to decoupage a garbage can

Next it was time for the lid.


Applying gift wrap around the flip top lid rim for how to decoupage a garbage can

I measured and cut, and then dry fitted around the lid with the outside edge piece at the bottom.


Applying gift wrap around the lid rim for how to decoupage a garbage can

Then I thought… hmm… I wonder what the cut side would look like?

And lo and behold it fit… with the polka dots matching up quite nicely.

Sometimes I’m just dumb lucky! πŸ™‚


Measuring the lid top for how to decoupage a garbage can

I applied the piece to the rim of the lid (somehow my picture of this disappeared) with a bit of the paper over the top edge.

Then I measured across the top of the lid.


Using a cake pan insert for cutting round lid gift wrap piece for how to decoupage a garbage can

After measuring almost every round thing I have in the house, I finally found a baking pan insert that was the perfect lid size.


Creating round lid gift wrap piece for how to decoupage a garbage can

I marked around it with a pencil and then cut it out.


Applying round lid gift wrap piece for how to decoupage a garbage can

After putting some MP on the lid I applied my circular piece of gift wrap and smoothed it in place.


How to decoupage a garbage can with gift wrap makeover

After the lid side and top were dry I gave them 3 coats of MP just like the main body of the can.


back view of can for how to decoupage a garbage can

Here’s what the back looks like.

After cutting around the black lid holder with an exacto knife I did have to patch a bit, but I think it looks ok… and it’s at the back so it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect.


Stainless steel flip top lid before for how to decoupage a garbage can

Here’s the before again.


How to decoupage a garbage can with red and white polka dot wrapping paper

And the fun and funky after.

So how many polka dots does it take to decoupage a garbage can?

Oh yes I counted, in a guesstimating kinda way… and the answer is somewhere between 1100 & 1200. Give or take a few.

That’s a lot of polka dots. πŸ™‚


How to decoupage a garbage can with gift wrap makeover

Now I have to fess up here and tell you that there are a few wrinkles. You can’t see them in the pics, or in person unless you look real close, but they’re there… they’re small, but they’re definitely there.

I’m not a perfectionist so I’m ok with a few wrinkles. I call it character. πŸ™‚

If you decoupage a garbage can to match your decor it just might make you smile too. There are so many patterns and styles of wrapping paper out there that the possibilities are really endless.

Now every time I look at my garbage can I don’t think of garbage. The stars of this garbage can are the fun and happy polka dots, and they make me smile.

UPDATE: You can now see my completed Under $100 Aqua and Red Kitchen Makeover.

Thanks so much for reading, and until next time…

keep on keepin’ on!



Don’t forget to pin it!

How to decoupage a garbage can with wrapping paper

I’m sharing this project at these fabulous parties.
Talk of the Town @ My Repurposed Life
Share Your Cup Thursday @ Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olsen
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects @ Funky Junk Interiors
Sweet Inspiration @ The Boondocks Blog
Friday Favourites @ Remodelaholic


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  1. Wow. From the picture it looks absolutely perfect!! Personally, I would do this in a heartbeat….but I live with my daughter and she’d probably have a coronary if I did! Your can was a perfect mirror for other things in your kitchen! Another job well done, girl! Dona

    1. Thanks so much Dona! I know polka dots aren’t for everyone, but maybe you could find a middle ground with a different paper that would make both of you happy. πŸ™‚

  2. Your garbage can is really pretty! You have a winner here, Tuula! I don’t know why manufacturers have not thought to make pretty cans to buy. This is one area they have not jumped on to improve and I wonder why? I guess it’s up to the diyers to do!

    1. Thanks Gail! Now that you mention it I wonder why too. But thankfully we have decoupage to help us make them pretty.

    2. Great idea! I have one of the big rectangle trash cans, I hope someone figures out how to cover it! The polka dots are great!

      1. Tuula McPhee says:

        Thanks so much Ila! I hope so too! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Florence! I think the polka dots are much better on the can too. They almost make me forget that there’s garbage in there.

  3. ColleenB.~ Tx. says:

    WOW. You R Amazing. Your creativity is beyond words. That is so pretty and easy project besides.
    Wish I had thought of that before having someone paint a kitchen scene on my kitchen trash can. Would had been so much cheaper using paper instead of someone painting it for me. Lesson learned; Will remember next time for sure; using paper in place of painting.

    1. Thanks Colleen! I’m sure your painted trash can is fabulous. πŸ™‚

  4. Mary Boger says:

    Snazzyyyyy!! Very clever and cute. Making smiles everywhere!

  5. I like it much better on the can than in the buffet! Both are much improved now with the redo’s! Good ideas can be better even with the imperfections! Well done!

    1. Thanks Linda! I agree with you about imperfections. They’re never deal breakers for me, and they certainly make things look authentically hand crafted.

    1. Thanks Sharon! They do make me smile.

  6. I love it. It made me smile, too! I’m bummed that I have a tall, ugly, old plastic kitchen waste basket, but it is easier to do it that way. I have jazzzed up small waste baskets in other rooms, but yours is #1!

    1. Thanks so much Kathy! Good for you for jazzing up some of your waste baskets. There’s no reason why practical can’t be pretty.

  7. Another great project and I think I finally figured out how you can do these projects, making them look so easy and effortless. Confidence! You put your mind to it and just get it done. I don’t have enough confidence to even think half this stuff up. Just amazing!

    1. Thanks AnnMarie! I guess I do have confidence, but I think for me it’s also about not sweating it when something doesn’t turn out perfectly. That used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore so I feel much freer to just go for it and see what happens.

  8. That is the cutest garbage can EVER! Love the polka dots!


    1. Thanks Tania! I didn’t realize how many times a day I saw that garbage can until now that I actually enjoy seeing its polka dot version. I think garbage cans everywhere should be prettified. πŸ™‚

  9. Well if that isn’t the cutest thing. I never would have thought to spruce up the garbage can. It looks fantastic.

    1. Thanks so much Debra! I can actually say that I’m enjoying having a garbage can in my kitchen now. Never could have said that before. I think all the other garbage cans in the house are going to be in for makeovers over the winter.

  10. Tuula , this is so cute and creative! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!

    1. Thanks very much Cecilia!

  11. Thanks! I have the same garbage can. It is impossible to keep the outside looking good so mine was long ago moved to my sewing room hidden behind the door. Now I can make it beautiful enough to occupy any space in my room.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      I know what you mean Karen. Mine always needed cleaning. The wrapping paper really hides everything and the outside of my garbage can always looks clean now. I’m so glad my project has inspired you! Why should garbage cans be ugly, right? πŸ™‚

  12. Omg I have the same garbage can and you are so right about trying to keep it clean. What a great idea, I’m going to do this soon. Love the idea thanks

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      You’re welcome Cynthia! I still love my garbage can. It’s so easy to keep clean.

  13. You have inspired me!!! I have a can very similar to yours and it always looks messy to me! I have already ordered some very Heavy wrapping paper Online. Can’t wait til it gets here and then I will be HAPPY , like you are! It’s such a great idea. ❣️THANKS

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks Helen! I’m so glad my project inspired you. I’m sure you’ll be very happy with your garbage can when it’s finished.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      Thanks very much Pat!

  14. I have been looking for something to make my can more appealing. Thanks for this idea because I was thinking of painting it. I am on the hunt for paper that match my kitchen.

    1. Tuula McPhee says:

      I’m so glad my project has inspired you Vicki. I hope you find some perfect paper soon. πŸ™‚