DIY Borderlands Claptrap Trashcan

Borderlands DIY Claptrap

You read our blog. Which means that you may know about our unending love for the videogame Borderlands 2 (and Borderlands, before it). Well, Ultimate Vault Hunters that we are, we made a DIY Claptrap trash can. Don’t play Borderlands? Read on anyway, and we’ll explain.


THIS is Claptrap (video link). He’s a robot, good at beat-boxing, fancies us his minions, and sends us on missions throughout the Borderlands world of Pandora. He’s pretty useless, but thinks of himself as the hero (and us his side-kicks). Oh, and he’s cute, says Allons-y, and likes breakdancing, thus we like him.

We wanted something Borderlands-themed AND useful for the house, and seeing a step-open trash bin on one of our supply runs lit the ol’ inspiration lightbulb. This project took a couple of days (spread out over a couple of weeks), but in the end we got our own DIY Borderlands Claptrap, so we’re happy. Bonus points for him being a functional trash bin for our geeky home office.

Borderlands DIY Claptrap Trashbin

What you’ll need (yes, a lot of supplies. At the bottom of the post we’ll give tips on how to simplify this):
-Step-On Trash Can
-LED Puck Light
-8” Solid Rubber Tire
-PVC pipes and attachments
-Coaxial cable (you could use painted rope/bungee instead)
-Plastic vent cover
-Metallic Spray Paint
-Acrylic paint
-Painters tape
-Small hinges
-Eyebolts with washers and nuts
-Extending antenna
-E-6000 / Goop type glue

In the game, Claptrap has been beat up and kicked around and some of his paint has been scratched off. So we first spray-painted the trash bin with metallic spray paint. Don’t be precise, and this step is optional. The reason for the metallic paint being that after we painted on the yellow and white acrylic paint, we sandpapered some of it away and the “metal” peeked through. Here’s the white/yellow paint (we didn’t do the middle part since we knew it would be covered):


Using painters tape, we marked off and painted the different parts of his chassis.

DIY Claptrap

We drilled holes for the arms and the wheel attachment and disassembled the step-open lever (easier than it sounds).

Claptrap’s arms are made out of PVC plumbing pipe and attachments, which we found for cheap at the Habitat-for-Humanity ReStore (<3). Home Depot/Lowes are also good for this, and the PVC is only a few bucks. His hands are made out of cardboard, glued to a pipe attachment. The (optional) forearm wire is a cut-up coaxial cable. We spray painted it all the dark metallic color:


Once dry, we assembled the arms (shown below pre-assembly). The cable was cut and taped to the elbows and wrists, and his hands glued to the end of the arm.


A small piece of PVC pipe attaches the arm to the shoulder and holds poses pretty well.


We got the LED puck light at Harbor Freight (another <3), it rotates and pivots in the socket, mimicking an eye. That was painted blue and glued to the body.

DIY Borderlands Claptrap

His mouth grill is the underside of a random plastic container which we cut/painted/glued. A piece of cardboard would work instead. The warning sign and blue meter are painted cardboard. The top of his “head” is a plastic vent cover, spray painted and glued to the lid.

Claptrap’s eyebrow and arm/ear flaps are scrap pieces of cardboard (painted black). We attached them with small hinges, glued on with E600. That other little decorative piece shown below is also painted cardboard.


We attached the wheel with eyebolts/bolts/nuts, using the holes we drilled earlier. Finally, the antenna was attached to the lid by making a small incision and pushing the end through.

[High five] “You’ve earned it!”.

DIY Claptrap Trash Bin - Borderlands 2

And…. OPEN!!

DIY Borderlands 2 Claptrap

Getting the mail

This DIY Claptrap’s only two functions are looking cool and being an actual trash receptacle, but he does those well! We may get a cheap little voice box for him as well so he can annoy us with his witticisms as we try to throw things away. We spent about $40 on making him (we already had the spray paint, paint, cardboard, tools). Worth it.

DIY Borderlands Claptrap

Who’s that handsome devil?

If you want to go a MUCH easier route (though far less detailed), just get the trashcan, LED light, and paint. When Claptrap rests in the game, he tucks his arms and wheel in, so you can just go ahead and say you made a sleeping-Claptrap. :)

What do you think of him? Like our DIY Wall Mounted Wampa Head, this is a pretty in-your-face piece of geek decor, so we’re planning a few bits of subtle geekery for the next couple of posts.

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46 Responses to DIY Borderlands Claptrap Trashcan

  1. Lisa says:

    Your Claptrap looks very cool and very authentic … but I found him too annoying to want to have him in my home! ~___^ I’m kinda glad yours doesn’t talk (yet?)!

  2. Joie Fatale says:

    So great! I love this tutorial, and I know a few people who would love this as a gift! Thank you!!!

  3. Haley says:

    Beautiful execution! I bet it will hide dirt well too.

  4. latinrocker says:


    • ournerdhome says:

      If we wind up with extra time on our hands, we’ll make a couple more to sell!

      • Echocookie says:

        I would love it if you made some to sell… Also, I have a suggestion that could be pretty cool. My idea is that when you open the trash can, it triggers a recording of Clap Trap himself and has a couple different quotes of him. Of course, you could turn that off, he can get a little annoying at some times :P

  5. Pingback: Make Your Own Borderlands Claptrap Trash Can

  6. ok but how will the trash truck ever pick it up now though

    • ournerdhome says:

      He’s made from the type of kitchen trashcan that you only keep indoors, with a trash bag inside (so when it’s full we go put the bag in our outdoor trash can for pickup). :)

  7. Lori says:

    I LOVE THIS TUTORIAL! and Borderlands. And the Claptrap. And your blog <3 :) Thank you for sharing this awesome tutorial! I will definitely be making this!

    • ournerdhome says:

      Yay! And thank you! We seriously cannot stop playing Borderlands. And now Poker Night 2 (even though we don’t play poker), just because Claptrap and Moxxi are in it, haha.

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  9. Pingback: How to make a Clap Trap tashcan | My Nerd Blog

  10. Rebecca says:

    OH Y GOD I must do this. We are having a borderlands themed wedding :) I love this blog, i want to live in your house

  11. Pingback: Borderlands Claptrap Trash Can: Please Don’t Shoot It!

  12. Kristy gd says:

    Ok, this is just too cool. Love the idea, the execution, and the easy to follow instructions. Love it!

    • ournerdhome says:

      Thank you! We were worried that the instructions weren’t as clear as we wanted them to be (it’s hard to know technical terms when talking about PVC pipes and random plastic bits from Home Depot, haha), so we’re glad it made sense!

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  14. ournerdhome says:

    Thank you! :D Claptrap is happy for all of the attention he’s getting, haha.

  15. fred says:

    get a borderland soundboard on you phone, bluetooth speaker on the inside and bam. i am going to be making these for xmas.

  16. Abril Santos says:

    This is great, i love claptrap and my brother does too, so it will definitely be a good addition to our home.

  17. handsomre jack says:

    Can i just buy one from somone who made one? Message me on twitter if youre interested


  18. Nikki says:

    Please just take my money already!

  19. This is amazing! 100% fell in love with this straight away and I think a voice box would be a lovely little addition. Me and the boyfriend are currently replaying Borderlands 2 and forgot how amazing this little guy is. Thank you for the guide as this is a MUST for my future home.

  20. Wow, this is really amazing! Most awesome trash can ever!

  21. Jordan says:

    This is so cool if you make any more
    I will buy one

  22. Brian says:

    Is there a way to get a voice modulator for Clap Trap so he talks? Like certain thing cue him and he says something funny? If there is one can you post a link? I’m 17 and my dad and I are going to go hard on this project. I love this btw :) :)

  23. YabbaCam says:

    Is the lid still step on or lift up? Thinking of making my own and want to know if I need a step on.

    • ournerdhome says:

      We used a step-up-lid trash can and removed the step mechanism. That left a depressed area in the front where ‘Trap’s wheel could live. Good luck and send pics when you are done!

  24. michael zeitvogel says:

    I want to do this 2 for my friend its kinda the best birthday present idea ever i guess he will love it

  25. Giselle S. says:

    I loved this project and am working on my own claptrap now. For future reference, more pictures of the side/top to see paint detail would be a good idea.

  26. Chuck says:

    Think I will make a Jacobs themed one.

  27. Nathan says:

    What is the plastic container you used for the mouth grill?

    • ournerdhome says:

      That was just a random plastic container we had lying around – it might have originally held grass seed? Or laundry detergent? (we obviously hold on to way too much “junk” for DIY projects) :) You could definitely just use cardboard or a paper plate though, painted black with dark gray lines painted on.

  28. Phylania says:

    What kind of drill did you use to get the holes in the side of the trashcan?

  29. Megan says:

    I am making this for my husband for Christmas! =) I am having a bit of trouble finding a few of the fittings for his arms though. I can’t figure out what the one is that attaches the arm to the body (the circular piece with a hole). As well as the circular piece that you attach his cardboard hands to. I think other than that I was able to figure out the all thanks to your amazing tutorial! =) I really can’t wait for Christmas! My husband is going to love it! Thank you so much!

    • ournerdhome says:

      Hi Megan! That’s awesome that you’re making one for your husband! We’ll take some close-up pictures of the pieces later today and post them here for you. :)

      • Megan says:

        Thank you so much! I am almost done! I just have to do his arms and the wheel! He looks so awesome! =) We love claptrap! Thank you so much for sharing! I wouldn’t have been able to do it without your wonderful blog!

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