How to Make Your Own Worm Composter


Composting doesn't have to involve constructing a huge pile of organic waste that you must laboriously turn every few days in order to provide your plants with a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Making your own worm composter allows you to harness the eating power of red worms to create your compost. Although you can construct a worm composter from wood, the easiest way to make a worm composting container is to convert a plastic bin. According to Amy Dabbs, horticulture extension agent with Clemson University, this type of worm composter is most effective indoors since it's more difficult to regulate the temperature inside a plastic bin than a wooden bin.

Step 1

Determine the correct bin size that you'll need. Gather the organic kitchen waste that you'll be giving your worms and collect it in a small plastic tub. Weigh one week's worth of kitchen scraps on a kitchen scale. Allow 1 square foot of surface area in your bin for every 1 lb. of weekly waste; for example, if your household produces approximately 4 lbs. of kitchen waste every week, use a container that is about 2 feet by 2 feet.

Step 2

Select a plastic bin that has the correct square footage. Look for a bin with sides that are less than 12 inches tall. Make sure your plastic bin has a cover.

Step 3

Spread a small tarpaulin across the floor. Remove the cover of your plastic bin and flip the bin upside-down on the tarpaulin. Drill 15 to 20 evenly spaced holes across the bottom of the plastic bin using a ¼-inch drill bit to create drainage holes.

Step 4

Flip the plastic bin right-side-up and hold the edge firmly with your hand to keep the bin from moving. Drill a single row of holes around the entire circumference of the bin using a 1/16-inch drill bit. Locate the row of holes about 2 inches from the top edge of the bin and space the holes about 1 ½ to 2 inches apart.

Step 5

Snap the lid onto the plastic bin. Drill 25 to 30 holes in the lid using the 1/16-inch drill bit. Space the holes evenly across the entire surface of the lid to provide adequate ventilation to all parts of the bin. Move the plastic bin and scoop up the plastic shreds on the tarpaulin; dispose of them in the trash.

Step 6

Spread a 2-inch layer of newspaper in the bin and spray it with a water-filled spray bottle to moisten the bedding. Continue spreading and moistening the newspaper in 2-inch increments until your bin is about three-quarters full. Add red worms to the composter, put the lid on loosely and place the bin in a dark, dry, indoor location that is between 40 and 80 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic kitchen waste
  • Small plastic tub
  • Kitchen scale
  • Plastic bin with lid
  • Small tarpaulin
  • Drill with 1/4-inch bit and 1/16-inch bit
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Red worms


  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Worm Composting
  • "The Worm Book; Janet Hogan Taylor & Loren Nancarrow; 1998
Keywords: worm compost, vermicomposting, worm bins

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.