How to Make a Garbage Can Punching Bag

How to Make a Garbage Can Punching Bag

If you want an inexpensive and durable punching bag, a garbage can punching bag is a great option. I’ll walk you through the full process of making one, from choosing the right garbage can to filling and hanging your finished bag. With a few simple materials and tools, you can build this useful workout equipment right at home.

Selecting the Garbage Can

The most important part of a DIY garbage can punching bag is the can itself. Here are the key factors to consider:


Plastic garbage cans are lightweight and inexpensive but more prone to cracking over time. Metal cans are very durable but heavier. I recommend a heavy-duty rubber can as the best option since rubber is durable yet has some give to absorb blows.


The most common sizes for punching bags are around 4 feet tall. For a garbage can, look for one around 32-40 gallons to get the right height. Anything much smaller will be too short for an adult.


Cylindrical cans work better than ones with a tapered shape. The even width gives you a consistent surface to strike from any angle.


Get a can with a removable snap-on lid. You’ll secure the bag by attaching ropes to the lid. A lid also contains the filling better.

Based on these factors, a 32-40 gallon cylindrical rubber trash can is ideal. Make sure the lid fits securely.

Preparing the Can

Before filling your can, you need to prep it to become a punching bag:

Drilling Drain Holes

Use a power drill to add 6-8 small drain holes around the bottom rim of the can. Space them evenly apart. This allows water to drain out if the bag gets wet, preventing mold and mildew.

Adding Rope Loops

To hang the bag, you’ll need 4 rope loops attached to the underside of the lid. Use a drill to make small pilot holes and attach heavy-duty bolts through the lid. Make sure they are spaced evenly apart. Secure a carabiner onto each bolt, then tie a length of braided rope through the carabiners to create loops.

Lining the Inside

For added durability and water resistance, you can line the inside with a garbage bag. Make sure it fits snugly from top to bottom before closing the lid.

Filling the Garbage Can Bag

Now you’re ready to fill up your punching bag! Here are some effective filler options:

Rags and Clothes

Old t-shirts, towels, socks and other soft fabrics make great filler. Make sure to pack them in tightly. You want the bag very firm, not squishy.

Plastic Bags

For a free option, stuff plastic shopping bags into the can. Wadded up bags fill space efficiently. Just be prepared for noise as they shift and crinkle.

Shredded Paper

Simply shredding newspapers or office paper creates fluffy filling. Compact it down tightly to reduce noise.

Polyester Fiberfill

For a lightweight and weather resistant filler, polyester batting is a smart choice. It’s the same material found in pillows and stuffed animals. Buy several bags for a full can.


Pouring dry sand into the bottom third of the can gives weight and stability. Top off the rest of the space with fabric filler. This combines durability and shock absorption.

I recommend using a combination of rags and sand for the ideal homemade punching bag.

Hanging the Completed Bag

The final step is hanging your filled garbage can punching bag:

  • Use a stud finder to locate ceiling joists and identify the best anchor points.

  • Install two heavy-duty eye bolts spaced about 4 feet apart using lag screws.

  • Run a steel chain through each ceiling bolt and connect it to a carabiner rope loop on the can lid.

  • Position the bag at your desired height. For best results, hang it approximately around chest to head level.

  • To stabilize the bag, attach bungee cords on either side connected to eye bolts in the floor or walls.

Now your DIY garbage can punching bag is ready for action! Wear hand wraps for punching protection and you’ll enjoy this inexpensive training tool for years to come. With the right materials and proper filling, a garbage can makes a surprisingly durable, high quality heavy bag.