How to Build a Composter Tumbler


Compost consists of natural materials that biodegrade into organic fertilizer once they have decomposed. A tumbler compost bin works efficiently as it regularly mixes the materials to promote their breakdown. Good compost is created by mixing an even level of brown and green materials along with maintaining proper moisture content. Tumbler bins are costly when purchased through a retail store but can be created at home quickly and for a low cost.

Step 1

Drill air holes around the entire can portion of the trash can. Add several holes to the bottom of the can for drainage. A hammer and nail will accomplish the same effect. Make the holes approximately ¼ inch in diameter. The holes can be in lines down the sides of the can or made randomly.

Step 2

Place organic materials inside the trash can compost bin. It is best to layer green and brown material as this process will degrade faster. Brown refers to material that is brown colored in nature, such as dried leaves, soil, paper and wood products. Green material is garden and lawn waste along with other green in nature material.

Step 3

Add water to dampen the matter inside the bin. Moisture will speed the decomposition process more than dry contents.

Step 4

Clamp the can lid closed. Secure the lid tightly by two strapping bungee cords over the lid and hooking them onto the can handles.

Step 5

Mix the compost by laying the can on its side and rolling it for several minutes. There may be some wet matter that oozes out of the aeration holes. This is due to the moisture content. Roll and mix the compost a minimum of one time per week.

Step 6

Place the trash can compost bin on concrete blocks in a sunny location. The cement blocks will promote aeration and drainage through the holes in the can.

Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic trash can with clamp lid
  • Drill with bits
  • Two bungee cords
  • Concrete blocks


  • How to Make a Compost Tumbler Cheaply
  • Homemade Compost Tumbler Plans
  • Homemade Compost Tumbler
Keywords: compost tumbler, compost bin design, make a composter

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.