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The Tin Can Cabin: A Shipping Container Tiny Home

I’m so thrilled to show you this tiny home that was built using three shipping containers.

Steve, the owner/builder, has been collecting ideas for this project for years.

He’s a computer programmer who loves designing and building. His website is awesome because he shows you how he did it, too.

Containers to Cabin Conversion


Images: Steve at Tin Can Cabin

I encourage you to enjoy the rest of tour of this awesome shipping container cabin below:













Images: Steve at Tin Can Cabin

Learn more about Steve.

Check out his frequently asked questions page.

Learn how he designed and built his shipping container tiny home.

See more photos of his project.

Check out his latest finished photos of the cabin shot by Dan Meinhardt.

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Thor December 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

    This is pretty cool, but there are some other ones that are a little nicer and bigger.

  • jerryd December 18, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Very nice but why the middle container? And I’d make the middle room them 10-12′ wide and give access to the attics above the outside 2 .

    Still a lot of building needed to insulate the containers makes their economics not as good as it seems because they get too hot, cold.

    Container’s best use is likely underground or piled earth over it since the ground will keep the temp reasonable in many places with little, no heating/cooling costs.

    • Steve December 18, 2013, 8:43 pm


      It’s all about the security. That’s why everything is built with containers rather than a hybrid with conventional mixed in.

      You’re correct about the economics, it’s much more expensive to build with containers than conventional . BTW, my containers are neither too hot nor too cold. My roof was designed to keep the cabin cool in summer and also allow the winter sun in to help warm it in winter. I have 2″ of closed cell spray foam around the shell which has made it comfortable down to -10F – the coldest it’s been while I was there.

      And this is important. NEVER bury a shipping container. Shipping containers cannot handle the lateral stresses when buried and will collapse. The few containers that have been successfully buried have been properly reinforced. You’re much better off using concrete for any type of underground structure.


    • Sandi B November 1, 2014, 4:29 pm

      Having Dirt against the top or sides of the containers will cause them to rust out — you would need to coat them somehow to keep the dirt from causing the rust. Also to insulate them — you can get a spray on insulation that coats the outside of the container, but you can insulate the inside as well. I think it was very interesting how he put the 3 containers side by side.

      • Peter April 15, 2015, 8:09 pm

        Rust, or corrosion, is not an issue with the correct anode material connected to the container with a good electrical connection (wire). This method is utilized all over the world to protect underground gas pipelines from corroding and springing leaks. Basically for steel they use a copper anode. The size of the anode will determine how often it needs to be replaced.

  • Lisa December 19, 2013, 8:49 am

    Wow. This is impressively nice. I’d have no problem living here. What about a shower?

    • Steve December 19, 2013, 10:35 am


      The floor plan shown above is a pre-construction one that has changed considerably, and one of those changes was a shower. If you look through my blog posts there’s one specifically about the bathroom.


      • Lisa December 19, 2013, 5:46 pm

        Thanks, Steve. I’m always interested in TH anything.

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar February 16, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Nice job Steve! I designed one of these container homes using straw bale insulation and stucco. Gets rid of the container metal look and adds R27 to the walls so very efficient for heating and cooling. I like that you left the doors on for security if this is a remote cabin and also can block harsh sunlight. Good floor plan layout though I would maybe put in a master bedroom with just a pull out couch bed for kids or guests.


    • Jean April 18, 2015, 12:38 am

      LaMar you share great advice. Thanks!

  • Brian May 9, 2014, 6:38 pm

    Great job Steve. Its real eye-candy to me and a keeper for sure.

  • Craig Browning May 10, 2014, 1:38 pm

    I am hoping someone does a piece on basic elements relating to building Tiny Houses from Shipping Containers, Adding Wheels vs Foundationd, Adding Cielings (removing Top of container for Sleeping Lofts, Etc) and other modificatios, making them Road Legal, Etc.

  • GB June 6, 2014, 2:21 pm

    Nice! Looks like it may be Zombie proof.

  • Glema June 9, 2014, 3:07 am

    Nice job Steve, ty for sharing. Is there no way others could lock you in while you are sleeping? hmmm Alex thumbs up buddy! God bless all of you and keep you safe. Happy Trails!

    • Rev June 16, 2016, 11:38 am

      Ha! To lock you in, “the others” could bury you. To escape, just wait for the rust! Easy peasy!

  • Jean April 18, 2015, 12:36 am

    Love this shipping container home. This design is super. Wish I could find a cheap shipping container here in Georgia. 🙂

  • Samantha February 10, 2016, 11:34 am

    I just wanted to say that your cabin is beautiful. After researching many different sources, I am considering building my own shipping container home. It would be a residential home that I would live in full time. If you have any tips for me, other than this lovely post, please let me know.

  • Graham June 17, 2016, 6:49 pm

    Is that a Fold down Couch for adults Bed? as Bunks for adults and Child in same room would not be that Good. The Hidden Bed or Wall hanging Folding Bed ideas would Be Great to Add room during the Day and Fold away Bed to leave a Desk .It would Be easy to Add on another Container to extend the Width or create More Room. the Area Above in Roof Cavity Could be a Storage Space … and Under neath . What about Gutters to Collect Rainwater and Have a Water Tank nearby ..for Shower, Kitchen,Drinking water, Where i live All Our Water is Rain Water .and we only Buy extra water Ifwe have a Long Drought or waste our water..Front Loading washing Machines Use Less Water .

  • Erin September 6, 2016, 11:00 pm

    I’d like to compliment the decorator. The choice of the pale banana color along with the placement of wood parts & the curtain print, really does give me a warm, pleasant feeling. I normally go for the natural, rustic, raw look, but this. …..I do like. Great job. ♡

  • ZACHARY E MOHRMANN April 15, 2017, 8:31 pm

    I have actually seen this build on line from start to finish, and they did an awesome job transforming the containers into a beautiful tiny house…!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee April 17, 2017, 7:37 am

      That they did!

  • Peggy Fallwind May 20, 2017, 7:09 am

    Problem, how to install Windows and doors into the uneven sides of a shipping container, and not have leaks? Without an additional roof over the container, how to have windows open during rain?

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