How To Build A Compost Bin

As you know, I am all for making things for free if I can.  It is not for everyone but I thought I would give everyone the quick and easy way to learn how to build a Compost Bin at home.

Searching the Web I am surprised that the Garden Composting Bin Plans that I could find all seemed so complicated to follow.  Well, I will be keeping it as simple as possible.  Compost Bin Plans should be so easy to follow that people will be inclined to build one themselves, not be put off by technicalities.

We have built quite a few over the years and the one thing they all have in common is that they were simple to construct. Sometimes we use Pallets and sometimes we use whatever bits of scrap wood we have available. Lets take a look at the best composter for free.

As you can see from the photo ours are not the tidiest things in the world.  The instructions that follow will leave you with something that looks much nicer and should last for years.

How To Build A Compost Bin

If you want to make a Compost Bin at its most basic then here is what you will need.

  • Five Wooden slatted boards of the same size (if possible)compost-004
  • A Handful of Screws
  • A Screwdriver

Told you it was simple!

I don’t like to over-complicate things if I don’t have to! Of course, there are a million variations on how to build a Compost Bin.  What follows are instructions for building the simplest one possible.  You can use your imagination and change it however you wish.  Adding a hinged lid for example is what many people like to do.

Free Compost Bin Plans

How To Build Wooden Compost Bins

What you are doing is making a wooden box that one of your boards will then act as a removable lid for.  So, the only thing you need to remember is that the Compost Bin must be smaller than the lid so it will sit on comfortably.

  • Find a nice flat surface to work on.  This will make construction much easier.
  • Stand one slatted board upright. Face it away from you so you are looking down its length.
  • Stand another one upright this time with it at 90 degrees to the first.
  • Butt them all up to each other.  You want the first one to be on the inside edge of the second.
  • Screw them together.
  • Repeat on the right hand side.
  • Place the fourth  at the back and screw it to the other two.

Simple and quick.

Building A Compost Bin Is Easy

The last slatted board will now sit on the top.  This is optional and really is just used if you have a problem with animals trying to get in etc.

The five slatted board Compost Bin really is the easiest design there is.

You should put all manner of materials on your compost bin. You can put all kinds of animal manure on there. If you have chickens then the spent litter is ideal. Rabbit droppings and the straw can go on and so can the bedding and litter of indoor animals like pet hamsters.

Many children have pet hamster and pet guinea pigs and all this is ideal for composting. Unless of course your childrens pet hamster is a Zhu Zhu Pet hamster. Get a cheap real pet hamster or better still a rabbit for great materials to compost.

Learning how to build a compost bin really can be that easy. I know it is not for everyone. Some people want an extremely tidy garden composter. The best composter for us is a cheap one.  Don’t forget though, if you want a very clean and ultra efficient composter then see the new post about the compost bin tumbler. The tumbler compost bin is quite an exciting prospect, especially for those who want the best composter and compost that can be made very quickly.

Use it until it is full, wait a few months, and then you should have some of the finest Compost there is.  To get to your fantastic Compost simply unscrew the front and empty it out.  You are now a home garden composter!

So, what are you doing this weekend?

Nicking (um, finding) Pallets hopefully!

For a more self sufficient future

29 Responses to “How To Build A Compost Bin”

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  1. Excellent post, it is soooooo true that composting needed be complicated or expensive.

    Helen O’Grady’s last blog post..Stunningly pretty new eco friendly product

    • Hi Helen. Exactly. If you can do it for free why pay. I know not everyone wants to build things but if people give it a go they may be surprised at themselves.

  2. steph says:

    or, in our case, three huge piles! whatever works 🙂

    (and believe me! this does)

    steph’s last blog post..#24 & #9

  3. Thanks for the great article,

    I’m one of those “do it yourself” guys, so these instructions are great. I’m going to build one as soon as it gets warmer outside.

    Green Business Guy’s last blog post..Cel na lipiec: 100 wpisów

  4. Cara says:

    This is great! I like that you incorporate repurposed materials into the structure of your compost bin– uber green! I’ve been wanting to build a compost pile for a while now, but didn’t want to have to buy anything. We have a bunch of extra wooden fence posts that could easily mimick the structure of wooden pallets.

    One question– do you have to rotate the compost every so often to mix it up?

    Cara’s last blog post..When is “green” too much of a good thing?

  5. Cara, if I can do it for free then I will! May not always look as pretty but if it does the job…..

    I get the question about turning th ecompost quite a lot and I will write a comrehensive post on it soon. I don’t bother though. If the container is slatted like pallets are or has a plentiful air flow I don’t think it is necessary. Just keep a good mix of things going in and it should work fine, and save your back!!!

    Use that saved labour for some Double Digging instead!

  6. Louis says:

    I have 2 compost bins. One is made of old fence wire and the other out of pallets. I also made, for lack of a better word, a collender. It’s the same size as my wheelbarrel and is made of hardware cloth and on a sturdy frame. Simply put a couple shovel loads onto it, shake the heck out of it and what falls thru goes in the garden… what doesn’t goes into the other compost pile for next year..
    talk about simple…………..

  7. Louis says:

    Is there a great advantage to watering the compost bin? Seems to help it rot quicker and the WORMS,
    thinking about boxing them up and selling them to the fishermen.

  8. Louis, sounds like you have some good ideas there. As for watering, we need at least a bucket a day here on each pile as the weather is normally so dry. There is always a fine line between keeping the compost bin moist and letting it get sodden.

    We have found best results by ensuring that all the contents are just moist. If there is a lot of rain for a long time then it seems best to put a pices of old carpet or something similar over the compost heap so it doesn’t get too saturated.

    Louis, I like your ideas of keeping it simple. And if you can get results with free stuff then why pay for anything?

  9. This is a great post. Where I live we were actually given free compost bins as part of a Government initiative, but they’re big, ugly plastic things which don’t really fit in well with the garden. Now you’ve got me inspired to build my own – now where did I put my tools…

  10. Very great post and informative as well. This can be a good idea on how to create a compost bin. I would try to create a compost bin using the idea presented here.

  11. My sister has one of those tumbler compost bins and really loves it. This year I bought some compost worms and thats how I compost now. You can buy specific worm bins, but I made mine out of rubbermaid tubs. No need to rotate with worms, they do it for you! I am a big fan of compost worms.

  12. Clint @ Pet Hamsters says:

    These are some great tips. I never thought about using wooden pallets to build a compost bin. We just started our own vegetable garden this past summer and knew nothing about gardening at all. In our searches for information on what types of vegetables we wanted and which would do best in our part of the country, we found that with a lot of the plants we wanted it was recommended to use compost in the soil and mulch to be used when planting. So we decided to build our own compost pile instead of having to purchase it from some of the local suppliers considering what they were charging for it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much information online for doing so unless you wanted to purchase one of the “pre-fabs” or use chicken wire and we weren’t crazy about either. So I created my own based on several of the designs we came across and built it using mostly scrap wood from the trellis’ we constructed for the garden. I only wish I had come across your site sooner. It would have saved me from a lot of the trial and error I experienced while building it. I think the next time I’ll try yours. Thanks.

  13. Clint @ Pet Hamsters says:

    I failed to mention that when we constructed our garden, we did so in four (4) 3′ x 12″ raised beds. I did mention that we built trellis’ and used them for the vine cucumbers and to help wrap the tomato plants as they grew taller to keep them from getting top heavy. We did not, however, use any stakes or trellis’ for the tobasco pepper plants we grew and had no idea what we were in for. I was wondering if you have any experience in growing these types of plants because these things got huge and none the information we gathered on growing them said anything about needing supports for them. By the time we realized it we were worried about damaging the roots if we put them in at that time and they were so big that just a single stake wouldn’t have done the trick, anyway. Any suggestions?

  14. Just wanted to let you know I gave your design a try and, much like yourself, I love to not have to spend much money when I can do if for less myself. Works like a champ. Thanks for the idea.

  15. I forgot to mention – What the heck is that little picture of next to my name in the post? Pretty weird:)

    • Clint, if you don’t have a gravatar (a good idea) from then wordpress automatically gives everyone an image. I set it to monsters, for no reason apart from I like them!

  16. jo swain says:

    Hi there, I am about to install a ‘composting’ loo at our barn in france and want to compost the waste. You recomend the manure tumblers but are they suitable for humanure? I’m just worried about the temperature in that plastic, but it would be a great way of making sure it’s out of the way of the kids! Have you any experience of putting human shit ( sorry) in these? Cheesr Jo x

    • Hi Jo, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work but am guessing it might be a little messy in there until the compost is rotted down. Because the humanure makes for a hot compost bin that rots quickly I would be inclined to save the cash and buy or make a plain old cheap static compost bin (with a very secure lid) though, since the compost tumblers are great at speeding things up and you won’t have the problem of slow compost due to all the shit!

      • jo swain says:

        Thanks for getting back to me. To be honest I wasn’t too keen on laying out the cash and would rather make something in the long run. However we are all going over there on mass with kids to start work on the place in August and obviously the loo is going to be first thing to go in! As our local council offers very cheap deals on the plastic bins ( the ones that look like black plastic daleks!) I wondered if one of those would do till we can costruct something else. They are also so inaccesable to kids! When we were little my brother and I spent all our time trying to find ways to get in compost heap at my Grandparents. It was such a great place to hide!
        Can you forsee any problems with these for humanure? Efficiancy? Smell. We would be leaving it for quite a while after August untill we can afford to go over again.
        Thanks for your time x