How to Build Your Own Compost Bin Sliding Screens


Compost bins are entering the mainstream in today's environmentally-conscious society. While composting is a good method of recycling organic waste and making fertilizer for gardens, getting the best compost requires a simple tool made from spare wood and screws called a sliding screen. The screen can be used to sift through compost to catch the larger organic material that has not composted yet.

Step 1

Lay out two of the 2-by-4-by-36-inch boards parallel to each other with the 4-inch sides facing up. Lay the 1-by-1-by-36-inch boards between the 2-by-4 boards with the ends flush against the ends of the 2-by-4 boards. Drill a screw through the outside edge of the 2-by-4 boards into the ends of the 1-by-1 boards.

Step 2

Set the 1-by-4-by-27-inch boards to the bottom of the 2-by-4 boards, forming a rectangle. Drill the boards together. This creates a sliding frame.

Step 3

Repeat steps 1 and 2 to create the second screen frame.

Step 4

Lay the metal screen across the bottom of the frame. Staple the screen to the frame around the exterior edges of the frame.

Step 5

Flip the frame over so the screen is face-down. Lay the 1-by-2-by-20 3/4-inch boards across the long ends of the frame. Drill in screws to hold the boards in place. Set the 1-by-2-by-36-inch boards into position. Drill in screws to hold these boards into place.

Step 6

Attach the handles to opposite sides of the frame for easy carrying and handling.

Step 7

Sand the ends and corners smooth with the sandpaper. Use the paintbrush to coat the frame with polyurethane; this will protect the frame from the elements. Rub the candle along the inside surfaces of the frame once the polyurethane dries; this will allow the frame to slide easily.

Step 8

Place the wheelbarrow nearby the compost bin. Put the screen across the wheelbarrow. Shovel compost from the bin onto the screen until the screen is full. Work the screen back and forth vigorously to sift the compost through. The finished compost will fall into the wheelbarrow, leaving the unfinished material behind. Put the unfinished material back in the bin.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 1-by-1-by-36-inch boards
  • 2 1-by-2-by-36-inch boards
  • 2 1-by-2-by-20 3/4-inch boards
  • 2 1-by-4-by-27-inch boards
  • 4 2-by-4-by-36-inch boards
  • 2 2-by-4-by-20 3/4-inch boards
  • 46 No. 6 2-inch drywall screws
  • 8 No. 10 3 1/2-inch drywall screws
  • 2-by-3-foot piece of 1/2-inch-square galvanized metal screen
  • Galvanized 14-gauge staples
  • 2 metal handles
  • Sandpaper
  • Clear polyurethane
  • Candle
  • Hand saw
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Tin snips
  • Paintbrush


  • Nifty-Stuff: Homemade Compost Sifter Screen Sieve
  • Shake Your Compost Screen
  • City of Glendale, California: Compost Screens
Keywords: composting screens, homemade sliding screens, compost bin

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.