Make Your Own Tumbler Compost Bin

comments (11) April 4th, 2009 in Gallery

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MBerger MBerger
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My homemade compost bin from two buckets, 2x4s, and some hardware store parts.
The parts cost about $40; much less than a compost bin from the garden catalogs.
The two buckets are joined with 1/2 dia. bolts and rubber washers. The holes were already drilled to accommodate rope handles.
I made a flap lid on top for access. Right now its held down with duct tape though Im searching for a new solution. Any ideas?
The steel pipe rotates the bin on a pair of wooden saw horses. I drilled holes in each end for air circulation. 
A vegetable garden in the making gets another step closer with a new compost bin.
My homemade compost bin from two buckets, 2x4s, and some hardware store parts.Click To Enlarge

My homemade compost bin from two buckets, 2x4s, and some hardware store parts.

We started composting at our house to feed a new vegetable garden we're installing this Spring. After a few weeks with the kitchen scraps piling up in a bucket outside the back door, I got motivated and put together this tumbler compost bin.

Rather than buying one from the garden catalogs (or using the simple bury-your-scraps compost method suggested by my colleague Ruth), I made a trip to the local hardware store and crafted the above creation with off-the-shelf parts for about $40.

I bolted two buckets together using the existing holes from the rope handles. Then drilled a hole in each end for a 1/2-in. dia. steel pipe, which rests on the two sawhorses. Holes are drilled in each end for air circulation and a flap cut on top opens for adding ingredients. The duct tape is a temporary fix until I drill a few more holes for additional bolts. 

After reading up on the subject (browse all articles and videos on composting), I stuffed the compost bin with a few weeks of kitchen scraps and a pile of leaves from the yard and gave it its first tumble. So far so good!


More Information: My own design
posted in: Gallery, compost bin, tumbler

Comments (11)

GoRawonaBudget writes: I am using these plans. Thank you.

I know this is an old article but I will post my idea for the flap closure anyway.

You could sew a nylon section of fabric with heavy duty Velcro closure, that is then fastened onto the barrel creating a Velcro closure for the flap.?

"n_n" R.
Posted: 5:20 pm on May 12th
TheVeggieGuy writes: PhoenixAndromeda - Would like your comments on compost-bin- building-101 since you live in Phoenix and know what the summers are like? Thanx "JIM"
Posted: 12:17 pm on January 17th
greenurbanliving writes: great idea, good on you!
Posted: 5:53 am on May 10th
Anatole writes: That's the DIY spirit. Could also serve as an exercise wheel for giant hamsters!
Posted: 1:36 pm on April 29th
MBerger writes: That's a great idea ggltd. I hadn't even thought about how I was going to remove the compost from the bin! I used a rubber grommet to help seal the hole where the pipe goes through the bucket. I picked it up at my local independent hardware store (the same place I got the buckets). It turns out to be not all that necessary.
Posted: 7:31 am on April 21st
ggltd writes: Matt-One other thing I just noticed. It looks like you added some kind of “bearing” around the pipe to spread the weight over the hole through the bucket. What did you use?
Posted: 9:37 pm on April 20th
ggltd writes: Matt: Great use of off shelf materials! A+ for design. Just one comment- if the cross bars were higher off the ground, and the door was larger and toward the middle, you could roll your wheelbarrow under it, open the door, and dump out the contents. The door could just be a clean cut through the sidewall with an aluminum strip / frame as a flange (pop riveted) with hinges and a hasp to hold it closed. One question- what hardware store did you get the buckets? They look a little deeper than the ones at Home Depot.


Posted: 9:26 pm on April 20th
PhoenixAndromeda writes: Nicely Done! As many are learning, composting IS for everybody. Large or small, Hot or Worm it is simply a very good idea...
Posted: 10:08 pm on April 17th
MBerger writes: I uploaded a new photo showing the opening for scraps. Right now it's held down with duct tape but I'm planning to revisit that part for a long-term solution. Anyone have ideas? Suggestions welcome.
Posted: 2:55 pm on April 6th
genosgarden writes: Hi...good instructions, save for one thing. At the garden center, the compost tumblers have little doors to add scraps. In order to add (subtract) material with your design, is there any other method than dismantling it?
Thanks, Jeannie
Posted: 2:33 pm on April 6th
Kate_Frank writes: Wow! Impressive.
Posted: 11:17 am on April 6th
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