No-Sew Fabric Covered Paint Bucket Waste Can

On Fridays I post a project over at Momtastic and like to share them with you here, too. The latest is an updated project taken from my book, Instant Decorating – a waste can made from a plastic paint bucket that you can buy at Lowes for $3.00.  They sell them in the paint section.  I like using them because the inside is shiny white and goes with any fabric.

With some hot glue and fabric it can become a very FUN, CHIC, and COLORFUL waste can to use in your home. You are only limited by the choice of fabric – which of course is limitless!  Use your imagination and visualize one with your favorite fabric on it.  It takes less than one yard of fabric so it is the perfect way to use up a leftover piece you may have from a previous project.  The best part – no sewing involved!!!

The fabric I used I picked up at Walmart. It was in the pre-packaged fabric they just introduced.   I love it because it is so colorful, happy, inexpensive, and perfect to use to decorate a child’s room or bath.

Paint-Bucket-and-Fabric-Covered waste can

To see the full tutorial, you can click here for more over at

Here is a photo of the 1994 version from my book.  I made it with a 5 gallon paint bucket.  So if you create a lot of waste – a larger version is just as easy to make. The directions are the same as covering the smaller 2 gallon size – you will just need more fabric.  Instead of using ribbon, I made cord to wrap around this one by braiding fabric strips together.


How To Make Braided Cord from Fabric:

1. Cut 3 long strips from fabric 3” wide and triple the  circumference you want to wrap the finished cord around for the length.

2.  Place one strip right side down.  Fold long edges to center overlapping slightly to create a approx. 1” wide strip.   Press with iron.  Fold short ends under 1/4”. Use fabric glue to create a finished edge on the short ends. Use an iron to press the entire strip.

3. Repeat the process on the other two pieces.

You now have 3 finished edge strips of fabric. Braid the strips together so the  overlapped seams of each strip are at the back.  As you braid, you may have to twist each strip to make sure the seam side stays to the back.

Pink-CircleTo make braiding easier. Clip (paperclip or binder clip) the three pieces together at the top of each strip.  Place  the clipped top section behind the top of a cabinet door and close the door. This acts as an anchor.  Anchoring holds whatever you are braiding in place and lets you pull on the fabric to keep it straight and smooth as you work.


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  1. I love your wastepaper basket. Ran out and bought the two gallon paint bucket. Bought one yard of fabric as you stated in the instructions. It is suppose to be 51 inches long. My question is how do you get the 51 inches out of a yard of fabric that is 44-45 inches? I am very disappointed.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy –
      After reading your comment I went to check the directions over at Momtastic. I see the mistake and am sorry that I didn’t catch it when I wrote the tutorial. It should be 1-1/2″ yards of fabric if you want one continuous piece. If you only have one yard, you can piece sections of one yard of fabric since any ending and starting points will be hidden in the gathers.

      Where are you on the project? If you have one piece already on the bucket. Cut another piece the same height x 36″. Fold over the end like you were starting a new piece and slightly overlap this where the first piece ended. Use glue to attach the top and botto. Then start gathering again until you get around the bucket and back to the starting point. Cut off excess fabric length if there is any and fold over the excess fabric to neatly hide where the fabric starts and stops. Place glue along the folded edge and layover the unfinished side to hide it.

      Does this make sense? I have covered many cylinder cans using this method so I think if your fabric is 44-45 wide you can get two cuts to create the length you need. Let me know if you need any clarification, and again I am sorry that I did not catch this. I will contact Momtastic and have them edit the post.

  2. MelissaJane says:

    I love you, Diane. I tracked this photo down through Pinterest where it wasn’t linked to your blog, and when I realized it was yours I laughed out loud – OF COURSE my favorite home blogger had already solved my how-to-cover-a-wastebasket-interestingly challenge!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Melissa Jane-
      :) you just made my morning! Thanks for taking the time to tell me about the waste can. I first wrote about how to cover a paint bucket in my book, Instant Decorating. I used a 5 gallon trash can then. I write a DIY column for the website and remade it for them. I am happy that you searched for the source and came back to me. XO I hope the rest of the holiday weekend is enjoyable for you.

  3. Now that Home Depot has “Designer Buckets” in various hues, sans words or logos, you could cordinate inside with fabric outside…
    Really cute idea.
    Via Stories A-Z

  4. Barbara Rosenzweig says:

    Wonderful idea – especially with the colorful fabric!! Thanks!

  5. What a cute and simple waste basket. I’m having a party today and every Monday at Would love for you to stop by and link up this project and any other projects.

  6. Laura Ingalls Gunn says:

    What an absolutely adorable DIY! Well done.

    I hope that you will stop by and enter my giveaway.

    Happy Monday!

  7. I have your book – Instant Decorating….I LOVE it. It would make a fabulous series. Hint. Hint.

    1. Hi Cathy-

      Wow – how sweet. xo Have you had it long or did you buy it recently at a used book seller? I do have a category – Instant Decorating, but it is under ” Decorating”. When I started my blog this made sense, but now that I have many posts I am in the process of breaking “Decorating” down into furniture, window treatments, no- sew, and Instant Decorating. You will be able to connect to it right on my sidebar.

  8. So cute! I really like the fabric.