25 Best easy DIY compost bin ideas & free plans to make with wood, pallets, wire, mesh, buckets, from outdoor tumbler to indoor worm bins!
Although some of our favorite ways to compost do not even require a compost bin, there are times when a compost bin is the best solution. Check out part 1 of this series all about composting process, materials, and the best ways to make compost for your garden.
Maybe you want a great looking compost bin that always generates compost for your vegetable and flower gardening needs, or an indoor worm bin that turns kitchen waste into free fertilizer for your plants, while reducing trash to the landfill.
We gathered some of our favorite DIY compost bin ideas that are effective and easy to make based on our experience trying almost every type of composting method in our own gardens. Let’s start with the most common wooden compost bins.
Wood compost bin building plans
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A 3’x3’x3′ compost pile is a great size mass for fast decomposition and easy turning. These DIY compost bins are from common 2 x 6 and 2 x 4 lumber. Remember to use untreated wood for your compost bins. Wood such as cedar and redwood is more rot resistant, and will last longer. ( Via Old World Garden Farms )
DIY wood and hardware cloth compost bin with free building plan
Instead of all wood compost bins, you can use hardware cloth or chicken wire mesh to build the side panels. The large 3’x9′ size will allow you to compost everything from garden trimmings to kitchen waste such as vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc..
To make your compost bins last longer, use coated wire mesh for better rust resistance. Tutorial via Instructables
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DIY wood and wire compost bin with lid
This 3 bin compost system is from the same building plan as the previous one, with a lid added.
Does compost bin need a lid? Having a lid on your compost bin is not a requirement, but a lid can help you maintain moisture levels within your compost system, especially during rainy season.
Easy DIY wire fence compost bin
Use a 10’x3′ piece of hardware mesh or wire fence material to make this super easy DIY compost bin in two minutes to make. It is the perfect size, about 3 feet in diameter and allows for air flow.
In warm weather, you may need to water the compost pile more often since it’s almost like an open pile. Tutorial here and in video below-
These types of compost bins are best for no turn passive composting, which is less work, but takes longer to make compost. Just add layers of yard waste such as grass clippings dry leaves, and kitchen scraps to the pile as you get them. In hot and dry weather, keep them watered to speed up the decomposition.
Portable mesh compost bin
A piece of plastic mesh makes a easy DIY compost bin that is good for no turn passive composting and making leaf mulch. It’s sturdy, long-lasting, low-maintenance and portable. You can find similar materials at the hardware store or get it from Amazon.
Weave a compost bin with branches
Things made with natural materials and traditional techniques are irresistible. This tutorial is on how to weave your own elevated flower bed. However, you can use this technique for a compost bin that is easy to create and take apart later.
Wattle fence compost screen ideas
More examples of wattle compost bins and screens, which is made by weaving flexible branches such as willow, dogwood, hazel, etc around upright stakes to form a woven lattice. These charming country-style compost screens can be used anywhere in the garden. It’s great for hiding a compost heap. Via Gardenista | Laura Hamilton
DIY pallet compost bin
You only need 3 pallets to build a single bin system, 5 pallets to build this 2 bin system, and 7 pallets to build the 3 bin system below. Here’s a guide on best places to find free pallets and tips on how to work with them!
3 bin composting systems
Building a composting bin using pallets is an incredibly easy project and a great use for these common items. Tutorial by Joe gardener in video below.
In a 3-bin system, you always have compost in different stages of decomposition: new, in-process, or finished compost.
DIY galvanized metal compost bins
Make compost bins from plastic storage containers
Make this compost bin from two 18-gallon plastic storage containers. Use the lower bin to catch the “compost tea” that leaches out of the first bin. This nutrient-filled liquid can be diluted with 2X amount of water and used as a fertilizer for plants and garden.
55 gallon drum compost tumbler DIY
A 55 gallon plastic drum is great for making compost because with only slight modifications, you can turn one into a tumbler. Good places to find used plastic drums that are safe to use for compost are pickling companies or Craigslist. Do not use a plastic drum that previously contained a toxic chemical. ( Via It’s a Husband Thing )
Straw bale compost bin
In this wonderful book The New Organic Grower, Elliot Coleman talked about straw bale compost bins, using the straw bales as walls to contain the heat needed for the materials to break down, while also allowing air flow. After a few months, the no-turn compost will be ready. You can use the leftover straw as mulch. Via Painted Turtle Farm
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Stacked brick compost bin
This brick compost bin would look so pretty in a backyard garden.
Vermicomposting is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to convert organic materials to worm castings – a great soil amendment and fertilizer for garden and houseplants. Although some websites recommend purchasing red worms, we have always used garden worms with good results. ( Image source lost. Please let me know if you find it! )
DIY plastic pot worm compost bin
Our favorite worm compost “bin” is simply a big plastic pot with a saucer underneath. Start with moist soil and a few garden worms at the bottom, and each time we add kitchen scraps, cover with more damp soil. Keep layering until the pot is full, then start another pot. Each pot takes 3-5 weeks to turn into dark worm compost!
DIY Worm compost bins from plastic storage bins
Take 2 or 3 plastic storage bins to make your own worm farm. A worm bin made of one container set inside another can make harvesting the worm castings easier if you add food to only one bin at a time. The worms will migrate towards the food source and leave their castings behind. Tutorial here.
The video tutorial above by Tenth Acre Farm shows you how to make your own natural fertilizer, with very little effort, by composting food scraps in a worm bin.
DIY stacked plastic buckets worm tower
Use some 5-gallon plastic buckets to make your own worm tower in under twenty minutes. Tutorial via Rural Sprouts and video below –
IKEA hack DIY worm bins
Who doesn’t love a good IKEA hack?
We know from experience that stacked worm bins can get very heavy. It’s such a good idea to set this worm farm on a trolley, which makes it mobile and easy to move around, even in small spaces.
In ground worm bins
An underground worm-farm system is suitable for hot and cold regions. The method involves three to five bucket worm farms dug directly into the ground, each with a lid cover on top.
Having multiple worm buckets significantly reduce the risk of over-feeding the worms. Via This NZ Life
Happy composting! See you soon!