DiY Trash Can EVE
Years ago I saw where someone had painted trash cans to look like pop culture characters and one of those was WALL-E’s EVE. The idea stuck with me as a huge WALL-E fan and then one day I ran across this…
I do not believe there exists a more perfectly shaped trash can for this project. I’m sorry, I wish I could share a link in case you are interested for yourself, but I found it at a discount store.
I recalled the idea and brought this waste bin home with me, though it sat in the top of my closet, forgotten, for at least a year. Finally I told myself to stop buying things for new projects and do the ones I already have. I just don’t enjoy painting. In fact, I find it pretty stressful. There are the fumes, the sanding, and the mess, but it’s really all the weird rules about what will work or not under what specific circumstances that really frustrate me. This project was no exception.
At first I tested by just painting on some acrylic paint with no surface prep when I was bored one day. Of course that just peeled right off like I thought it would. So I sanded the surfaces with some very fine grit sandpaper.
Afterward I cleaned it to remove any dust or residue and allowed it to dry. I taped off the areas I did not want painted (the bottom and the interior). I ALWAYS use a respirator when sanding or spray-painting.
EVE is a bright, sleek white, so I chose Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer in Bright White/Satin. It took many coats to get complete coverage over the black and I used almost the entire can.
I had hoped to just paint the black part of the face on the swinging part of the lid, but it quickly became apparent that it was way too small. I slowly grew the size of the face until I was pleased with it, then created a stencil to trace so that I could clean up the edges and make it symmetrical. I used black acrylic craft paint.
My plan was to paint on the eyes and not include the plant symbol, but when I placed the stencils on, I thought the slit for the lid made it possibly look too much like a mouth. Realistically I had two options. First, my husband suggested painting over the whole black part and painting the face on the side of the bin instead. While that certainly would have fixed the issue, it just felt too weird to me, to have the lid swinging out from the sides of her head. My second option was: deal with it, you’re being ridiculous.
Maybe I would have gone with one of those two options, but I had a different idea instead, and fell too much in love with it to do anything else…
To recreate this scene from the movie! I still debated moving the face to the side, but decided against it. I found a picture of EVE’s plant symbol online and created a stencil from that to trace for her chest.
Though the painting was finished, I was disappointed with how things had turned out texturally. The acrylic paint built up to create ridges and lines and the texture underneath the spray paint was still very scratchy from the sanding. In retrospect, I probably should have sanded the surface with even finer grits of sandpaper after the initial sanding. My husband suggested I try wet sanding over the top of the paint. I bought some extremely fine automotive wet sanding sandpaper and gave it a shot. This did NOT get along well with the acrylic craft paint. It did help some with the spray paint, but I had to apply more coats after and buy ANOTHER can of spray paint. From my personal experience here, I suggest you get your texture how you want it before you paint. I had to touch up everything again.
Since EVE is super glossy, I used Krylon Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze for the topcoat, applying several coats to get it nice and shiny.
I decided on the idea with the lights in early November, so I had a prime selection of Christmas lights to choose from. Target had this set of “30 count LED Dewdrop String Lights,” battery operated and with a timer, in the old style of those adorable fat bulbs. This most closely matched what is used in the movie so I ordered those. The string measures over 10 feet in length.
I placed the battery pack in the bottom of the can and ran the string out the lid slit in the back, then wrapped it around her body several times. No additional anchoring for the string was required in my circumstance.
The only problem is, now it’s just too cute to use as a trash can! I planned to use it as a recycling bin before I added the lights. Maybe one day I will strip off the lights and add the eyes, but for now it’s just a cute top shelf accessory in my office. I had to let that sink in: I’ve decorated….with a trash can. But hey I could always put something in it I guess. Maybe some yarn balls? Are battery packs any type of fire hazard? I guess it would depend…
Anyway, there she is: my fun EVE. I love her! I have the lights set on timer function so she lights up my office corner every night. And this way she’s not too far from my LEGO Wall-E.