Make Your Own Compost Bin

MMake Your Own Compost Bin
Make Your Own Compost Bin

If you have decided to try your hand at compost making, you may want to make your own compost bin.

Compost bins are handy because they keep your compost heap contained in one area. Also, the keep the neighborhood critters out of your organic waste.  Why not make your own compost bin?

Building a compost bin is not difficult at all.  All you need are some basic carpentry skills, lumber and a Saturday afternoon.

I made my New Zealand styled compost bin for under $100.00, and I wanted to share my experience.  I hope you find this article helpful in your composting endeavors!

Make Your Own Compost Bin – Design

Most compost bin plans call for making the bin 48″x48″x48″, but I had a smaller area, and I decided to make a small compost bin, which is 36″x36″x36″.

Again the style is very similar to a New Zealand compost box or bin.The wooden compost bin is made out of treated lumber from my local Lowes store.  I actually had a few pieces left over from a deck project last summer, and I went and purchased the rest before I started making my homemade compost bin.

Make Your Own Compost Bin – Materials

You can purchase new lumber, use scrap or discarded lumber from a friend’s deck project, or how about using reclaimed lumber from pallets.  It all depends of how creative you are.  In fact, you can use just about any kind of lumber as long as you plan to put some kind of protectant on the lumber to prevent it from rotting.

Get Plans with Materials List and Detailed Assembly Instructions for only $3.97

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A word about protectants:

There has been much discussion as to whether it is safe to use wood protectants on lumber used in a compost bin.  In times past, arsenic was used in wood preservatives, and obviously we don’t want to be using compost tainted with arsenic on our home grown veggies!  From what I have read, arsenic is no longer used in wood preservatives, so we have far less to worry about.  The ideal preservative to use is linseed oil.  I actually found a wood preservative by Olympic that contains linseed oil.

Compost Bin Materials
Compost Bin Materials


Make Your Own Compost Bin – Assembly

As with any project, you may want to get an extra board or two just in case! I don’t know about you, but I have been known to make a bad cut or two. 🙂

I started by cutting the pieces for my two side frames, and I assembled the pieces with screws for greater stability.

Compost Bin Panel Frames
Compost Bin Panel Frames


Next, I cut the lumber for my sides.  I cut 6 boards for each panel and nailed the top and bottom boards and spaced the rest around a 1/2″ apart.  The gaps allow air to flow through your compost bin.  Good air flow is important for a healthy compost pile.

Compost Bin Side Panels
Compost Bin Side Panels


I then cut the lumber to be used to create the slot on the front of each compost bin side panel. The slots allow the front boards of the bin to slide in and out. 

Compost Bin Slots for Front Boards
Compost Bin Slots for Front Boards


Next, I cut a couple of pieces of lumber to join the 2 panels together on the bottom.  I left the wooden compost bin open on the bottom to allow earthworms to come up into the compost pile to help the composting process.  Some compost bin plans call for making a bottom as well, but the open bottom is better if you want worms to help you in compost making!

Compost Bin Bottom
Compost Bin Bottom


I then cut 4 pieces of lumber to frame out the top of the compost bin

Compost Bin Front View
Compost Bin Front View


Finally, I cut 6 boards to fit in the slots of the front of the wooden compost bin to complete the project.  These boards are easily removed so that you can manage your compost pile, as well as harvest your finished compost.

Finished Wooden Compost Bin
Finished Wooden Compost Bin


I waterproofed my homemade compost bin with a sealer by Olympic that has linseed oil in it.  There you have it.  Now go make your own compost bin!  For futher information on composting you many want to look at the articles What Can You Compost and How to Make Compost.  Remember, don’t throw it away, compost it!  Happy composting!

Get Plans with Materials List and Detailed Assembly Instructions for only $3.97

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8 thoughts on “Make Your Own Compost Bin”

  1. Do you have the materials list for what size lumber and the amount of lumber you need for the wood compost bin posted by Macky?
    Thank You, Scott

  2. I really like this plan- how it looks and how easy it looks to build! Would you suggest adding a lid now that you’ve had it ‘in production’ for a couple of weeks?

    Thanks!
    Charlene

  3. How about incorporating lumber box (the one that is used to transport things for hardware stores), that the store usually throws away? usually, you can have them for free (just ask your store).
    Or how about the unused garbage bins, or at the very least simple garden plastic bag???

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