How to Build a Homemade Worm Composter


The more you learn about worm composting (or vermicomposting), the more ideal it may seem. Red wiggler worms, which are used for vermicomposting, eat half their body weight in kitchen scraps per day. That means if you have a pound of worms, they will eat half a pound of kitchen scraps each day. They also multiply on their own and do not attract other pests. You cannot dispose of meat, dairy products, or pet waste in a worm composter, but all other kitchen scraps are fair game---good for you, good for the environment, and good for your garden.

Step 1

Set one large opaque plastic box on the floor. This will be the one that you do not damage in any way. All boxes must be opaque because worms do not like light.

Step 2

Drill several small holes, no larger than 1/4", all over the bottom and lower quarter of the second and third boxes. Holes do not need to be spaced in a particular way, nor do they need to be punched in a particular pattern. You just need a lot of them.

Step 3

Place the second box (with holes) inside the first box (without holes). Set the third box (with holes) aside.

Step 4

Mix shredded newspaper (one whole newspaper is good, or two if the newspapers are thin) with a few handfuls of soil. The soil should be potting soil, which can be taken from plants in your house. Do not use outdoor soil for your vermicomposting bin because it may contain pests.

Step 5

Bury kitchen scraps in the soil/newspaper mixture. Meat, dairy products, and pet waste will not be eaten by the worms. Vegetable waste, bread, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea leaves are all things worms love to eat. Always bury your kitchen scraps in the soil mixture to encourage the worms to eat them and to discourage other pests.

Step 6

Water the soil/newspaper/kitchen scraps mixture lightly so that it is moist but not soaked. Water regularly as needed to keep the worms healthy and happy.

Step 7

Add a pound of red wiggler worms to their new habitat. Cover with a piece of cardboard that you have cut to fit the top of the box. Press the cardboard onto the soil because worms prefer darkness. The worms will eventually eat through the cardboard, so you will need to periodically provide new pieces.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 large matching opaque plastic boxes
  • Drill
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Soil
  • Kitchen scraps
  • 1 pound of red wiggler worms
  • Cardboard
  • Utility knife


  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Vermicomposting
Keywords: homemade worm composter, worm compost bins, vermicomposting home containers

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.