How to Build Your Own Inexpensive Compost Tumbler


A compost tumbler is a viable alternative to manually turning waste while suffering unpleasant odor and pests. It is a closed bin elevated and supported by frames. To mix the contents, you turn it several times a day, using a handle. You can fill it with garden, kitchen and yard scrap, and mix it to create organic matter that enriches the quality of your garden soil and reduces the amount of garbage that goes from your house to the landfill.

Things You'll Need

  • Garbage can, at least 25 gallon
  • Measuring tape
  • Masking tape
  • Drill
  • Galvanized screws
  • Galvanized metal pole
  • 1/2-inch metal rebar
  • Two 8-feet-long 2-by-4s
  • Saw
  • Kitchen and garden scrap
  • Bungee cord
  • Select an area in your garden or yard where you want to place your compost bin. It should be far enough away from well-used areas that you don't have to worry about odor.

  • Measure the exact center along the length of the garbage can on one side, and mark it with masking tape. Do the same to the other side.

  • Drill two 7/8-inch holes through the marks, and insert the galvanized metal pole through them. This pole will help support the weight of the compost tumbler on the frame.

  • Drill 1/2-inch holes spaced 2 to 3 inches apart throughout the barrel to allow air to circulate and bugs to enter and thus quicken the process of decomposition.

  • Drill a 1-inch hole on one side of the metal pole. Insert the metal rebar that will serve as a handle for turning your compost tumbler.

  • Cut both of the 8-foot-long 2-by-4 boards in half with a saw so you have four 4-foot wooden boards.

  • Nail two of the boards together to make an X-shaped stand for one side of the compost tumbler. Repeat the process for the other stand. The metal pole that passes the center of the barrel will be placed over these stands to elevate and support it.

  • Carefully measure and dig 1-foot deep holes in the ground for the wooden stand legs.

  • Insert the wooden stand legs into the holes, and tamp the dirt around them.

  • Fill the bin with alternate layers of green and brown compost material you find in your garden, kitchen or yard.

  • Wrap a bungee cord from the top of the barrel to the bottom and pull it taut to secure the lid and prevent it from opening.

Tips & Warnings

  • Turn your compost tumbler several times a day, and mist the contents frequently to optimize decomposition. Use equal amounts of green and brown compost material for maximum production.

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