Keep Your Car Clean with a DIY Car Trash Can

This post may contain affiliate links

Make it easier to keep your car clean with a DIY car trash can. This beginner sewing project is simple with a free sewing pattern!

Keeping my car clean is always a struggle. With three kids coming and going, a dog, and weekly grocery pick up, I have not found a way to keep the car clean. That doesn’t even include when we go hiking, swimming, or we’re carrying furniture or landscaping supplies.

My biggest hurdle was having a place to put receipts, wrappers, etc. The little trash would just start to gather in little piles. Enter the DIY car trash can to have a place to put all the little garbage! Now I just need to remember to empty it.

DIY Car Trash Can

What fabric works best for a DIY car trash can?

I like to use canvas fabric for a strong and sturdy fabric, but quilting cotton fabric also works if you use a heavier interfacing. This trash can definitely needs medium weight interfacing (or stronger) and fusible fleece the give the box stability and shape.

DIY Car Trash Can

What is a PDF sewing pattern?

A PDF pattern is a sewing pattern designed on the computer and organized so that it can be printed on several letter or A4 size pieces of paper.

I love using PDF sewing patterns because if the pattern gets ruined or if my children or I changed sizes, I can always print it again. It’ll never be destroyed since I have a digital version!

How do you use a PDF sewing pattern?

Open the PDF on a computer and click print. When printing make sure that the scaling is set to 100% or no scaling so that the pattern prints at the correct size.

Once the pattern is printed it can be taped together to get the full size. Then the pattern can be cut for each pattern piece size or individual sizes can be traced so that the pattern can be used again and again.

DIY Car Trash Can

Do you love sewing? Try some of these sewing projects:

DIY Car Trash Can

How to Make a DIY Car Trash Can


  • 1/2 yard of canvas or quilting cotton
  • 1/2 yard of medium to heavy weight fusible interfacing
  • 1/2 yard of fusible fleece
  • Two plastic snaps
  • 6 inches of Velcro
  • Sewing tools
  • Sewing machine
  • Free fabric box sewing pattern – get it at the end of the post
DIY Car Trash Can supplies

I used the fabric box sewing pattern for the DIY trash can, and I added the strap and snaps to finish it off. I used the largest size of the fabric box sewing pattern, but you can make whichever size you want.

Cut out two pieces of fabric using the pattern. One will be the outer box and one will be the lining. Cut out one piece of fusible fleece and one piece of fusible interfacing.

cut out box pieces

Fuse the fusible fleece to the outer fabric piece. Fuse the interfacing to the lining fabric piece.

Optional: add rows of quilting to the outer fabric and fleece for a quilted look. This will also add even more strength to the box.

apply interfacing and fusible fleece to fabric

Match up the straight edges of the cut out corners right sides together and pin. Do this to all the corners to the outer piece and lining piece.

sew corners of the boxes

Sew all four seams of each piece to create four corners. Backstitch when you start and stop.

sew all 8 corners

Cut open the bottom of the seam allowance so that the seam allowance can be pressed open. Cut and press all eight seams open.

clip and press seam allowance open

Cut open the bottom of the seam allowance so that the seam allowance can be pressed open. Cut and press all eight seams open.

boxes boxes right sides together and sew around top leaving hole

Turn the box right side out through the hole.

turn right side out

Push the lining down inside the outer box. Roll the top seam so that the lining is tucked inside. Press the top edge with the seam allowance tucked inside the hole.

press the top edge of the box

Edgestitch around the top edge of the box 1/8 inch from the edge. Make sure the seam allowance is tucked inside with you sew over the hole.

Add another row of stitching 1 inch from the top.

add two rows of stitching at the top

Cut a strap that is 18 inches long by 4 inches wide. Fold the strap in half with wrong sides together matching up the long edges and press.

Fold the two long edges in to meet at the pressed center fold and press. Fold all three folds so that the long edges are enclosed inside and press.

Sew along each side of the strap 1/8 inch from the edge to secure the strap.

press and sew strap

Sew the Veclro onto each end of the strap so that it can overlap.

Place the center of the strap on the center of one of the sides of the box 1 inch from the top. Sew a box or rectangle around the strap to secure it to the box.

sew strap onto top of box

Add snaps to the center front and the center back of the top of the box.

add a plastic snap to the center

Check the Velcro to see if it works. The long Velcro pieces mean that the strap is adjustable to fit where you need it in the car. You finished!

add velcro to the straps

Get the Free Fabric Box Sewing Pattern

DIY Car Trash Can

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

Similar Posts

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments