R2D2 from a 3 gallon Sterilite wastebasket - tutorial and Silhouette cut files

Our Cub scouts had their blue and gold celebration this week. I was asked to turn a 3 gallon Sterilite wastebasket into R2D2. The Primary 2nd counselor's parting words were "Don't go to a lot of effort we just need something simple" - ummm, does she even know me?

Here is the wastebasket from Sterilite's website

This project starts with a black swing-top 3 gallon Sterilite wastebasket painted white. A white wastebasket would have worked better in my opinion. I found this on Amazon. If you are adventurous and want to paint one white, I found the black version at Walmart.

I didn't take into account the taper of the wastebasket. I had to reposition a few of the vinyl pieces and when I attempted to, the white paint came off along with the vinyl. It wasn't hard to cut and assemble new pieces of vinyl, but I ended up hand placing each piece.

R2D2 all files cut and assembled.

The image above is what all of the layers of vinyl put together will look like. I used seven colors of Oracal 651 vinyl; 073 dark grey, 090 silver grey (metallic), 072 light grey, 086 brilliant blue, 031 red, 022 light yellow and 070 black. I usually usee Oracal 631 for my projects but Oracal 651 works better for this project because the wastebasket has a texture the 631 does not like.

The image above shows each individual piece. The red lines are weeding lines. The numbers indicate what pieces are assembled together. In other words the three parts that make up the octagon venty-porty thing just a little left on center at the bottom of R2D2 are numbered with a 6. The bottom layer is a blue octagon. Centered on that is the black octagon. The top layer would be the medium grey web looking octagon with the ring in the middle.

I am no math genius but I was able to measure and mostly figure out what scale everything needed to be. I ended up foregoing the dark grey file 2 because I ran out of time and space on R2D2's body. This was poor planning :)

R2D2 Head placement map
R2D2 Body placement map

After I figured out the scaling I made the placement maps for the head and body and then tried to make each part with it's layers to scale.

Using "select by color" then "by fill" I copied and pasted each layer (fill color) into a new Silhouette Studio file paying attention to the page size and cut borders. After each vinyl color was cut out and weeded, the placement maps were used to assemble the pieces and place the pieces onto the Sterilite wastebasket.

The body of the wastebasket was a piece of cake! The head was a little more difficult. The problem was how the vinyl would adhere to the complex curves of the wastebasket top. A quick search of the web provided the answer. Little bursts of heat with a hairdryer did the trick. The vinyl was put in place and just a few seconds of heat and a little tugging and rubbing down helped the vinyl conform to the lid of the wastebasket. The image above shows the before and after. The lower circled part was before the hairdryer tug and rub. The top circle shows how well the vinyl lays down after.

There he is behind the cutest Death Star centerpiece ever!


Click here to download Silhouette Studio cut files for this project.


  1. Hello!
    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your (incredibly detailed and accurate) R2D2 Silhouette files. I was able to make an artoo popcorn tin thanks to you!
    Here's a link to some images if you'd like to see: https://flic.kr/s/aHskAZnEf7
    Cheers, and may the Force be with you!

  2. Thank you for your time, effort, and for sharing! I'm doing an R2-D2 costume for my daughter and will adjust the cut files for glitter HTV!

  3. Do you have an opinion on whether these will work on a silver crockpot? I am gifting a crockpot to a serious fan and thought it would be cool. She lives in an apartment, so she can't turn her fridge into R2...this is the next best I hope.