Nautical Rope Trash Can Tutorial


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I’m insane.  Really.  WHO needs a trash can that fits the theme of a nursery?

I do.

Once I got the idea in my head of what I wanted, I had to do it.  Since I’m going for more of a sophisticated nautical look as opposed to the Dolphin Den aesthetic*, I wanted something classy that could be used in other rooms once we get tired of the nautical thing.

Originally I was going to grab a cheap trash can at the Dollar Store for this project (just $1, HOLLA!) but found this larger one at IKEA for $1.99.  Just remember that larger can = more rope.  Also, choose a color to match the rope– this is an opaque white color so it blends in if there are any gaps in the rope as you wind it.

Time: about an hour for all that winding/gluing

Cost: about $6, or less if you already have the rope and/or trash can

cheap trash can
coordinating trim (optional)
glue gun

1.  As I took the rope out of the package I realized it was a hot mess of tangles.  I carefully re-wrapped it into a ball which made it much easier to work with.

2.  I started with the can upside down, and glued a few rows with a straight line of hot glue around the can.

3.  After I’d established a “base”, I used dots of hot glue randomly around the can (about 6 dots per row).  I made sure to continue to push upward on the rope to keep the lines straight and tight.  Once halfway through I moved the project to my chair and just spun and glued from my lap.

4.  There wasn’t enough rope to cover the entire can, and I was going to leave it with the top part exposed because the can underneath looked fine.  Then I remembered a few yards of braided jute trim I’d bought for 75% off at Walmart a few weeks ago.  It worked PERFECTLY.  It also matches the mirror in the nursery.  You could use the same trim, or even just plain twine for a super-cheap fix!  I glued it over the ugly end of the rope (it came with the ends sealed this way) and wrapped it like the rope.

5.  The last step will be to hit the other ugly sealed end with some glossy white paint.  SOMEDAY.

I had a funny thought as I glued the rope to the can: In 20 years, I wonder if someone will buy this trash can at a thrift shop to repurpose the rope.  “Look, mom, I made rope from a trash can!”  Since I turned rope into a trash can, it’s not out of the question someday some eco-minded person will turn the trash can into rope!

When all is said and done, the can looks just how I hoped it would and it has “heft” to it.  Much sturdier than what I began with!  Yes, I could have been happy with a $2 trash can.  But a fancy trash can purchased from a large Bed and Bath type store would cost upwards of $20, so I think my $6 project is a good compromise.  Since the inside is plastic, it’s a cinch to clean while still stayin’ classy on the outside.  Goal achieved!

*NOTE: The Dolphin Den is my absolute favorite place to eat in the Outer Banks, for the decor as much as the key lime pie.  Picture fishing nets, heavily laquered tables, strings upon strings of white lights, starfish and plastic fish everywhere you look– just the kind of thing that lets you know you are at the BEACH.  I love it there, but I think we all agree what goes on at the Dolphin Den should stay at the Dolphin Den.

What do you think?  Am I fooling myself that it looks sophisticated, or should it be relegated to the Dolphin Den?  Don’t hold back– I can handle the truth.  😉

If you missed the latest progress on the nursery, you can read about it here.  Getting close! 

Linked to:

Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Categorically Crafting @ Someday Crafts
Saturday Night Special @ Funky Junk Interiors

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  1. What a great idea! I’m not into nautical, but really love the texture and redo of something that is bland! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am on pins and needles to see how the new nursery will look! You might get me to work on a nursery for my 5th before she comes in July!

  2. This would look soooo awesome here at COASTAL CHARM!


  3. Hey,
    Stopping by from SITS Saturday. I’ve got your blog in my google reader but thought I’d say hi anyway since your comment was right before mine on the SITS page. Cute transformation of a trash can!


  4. Thanks for stopping by to visit me. Glad I found your blog! The trashcan is just adorable. I wish I was even half this crafty!

  5. I really like it! Love the jute trim at the top. Very cute!

    Happy Saturday Sharefest!

  6. Thanks so much, everyone! I know it’s crazy to work on a trash can for an hour, but I just love the way it turned out. So glad ya’ll approve!

  7. carrie-
    that is too cute! i could never do it, though. i am so UN-crafty it’s insane. i am pathetic.

    on another note, thank you again for coming over ot my place and i’m about to become your newest follower!


  8. Such a clever and creative girl. My heart is going pitty pat.

  9. That is so fun! I am in the process of decorating a nursery and am trying to find ways to diy the pricey styles I love!

  10. Nice – it would make a great planter, too.
    (sorry, slightly container-garden obsessed at the moment *lol*)

  11. LOOOOOOVE!!! Great job.

    I used to live in the Outer Banks one summer during college! Ah, the good old days. 🙂 Very beachy basket. 🙂

  12. What a great turoial. I love this idea – and I guess you could use all kinds of rope if you wanted it to fit in with a different look.


    I’ve heard other people talk about Silver Sage but we can’t get Restoration Hardware over in England (Grrr…I’m SO jealous. They look JUST up my street.) so maybe we can just admire each other’s lovely colours from afar!!


  13. Such a cute makeover! Coming over from the Ditto DIY Party.

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