How to Build Your Own Compost Tumbler


Composting is a process that decomposes remains of material to create a rich, dark substance that enriches the quality of garden soil. Composting and homemade compost bins have gained popularity in the recent past. Many homeowners and gardeners are building compost bins or piling waste in heaps in their backyards to create organic matter. Not only does compost provide a great way to reuse kitchen and garden waste, it also eliminates the amount of household waste in landfills.

How to Build Your Own Compost Tumbler

Step 1

Select a shaded area in your yard or garden where you can place the compost tumbler. Keep it far enough from your house to prevent the odor from seeping indoors. Lay bricks in a rectangle on the ground to demarcate the area for your compost tumbler and place it there. Make sure it is as wide as the barrel to form a tight fit.

Step 2

Drill ½-inch holes throughout the body of the barrel, spaced 4 to 6 inches apart to allow oxygen, water and bugs to enter and speed up the decomposition process. Make sure the holes are no smaller than 1/8 inch. Drill holes on the lid and the base of the barrel.

Step 3

Wear gloves and open the lid to fill the compost tumbler with alternating layers of green and brown kitchen and garden waste. "Greens" include food scraps, and plant and grass clippings, while "browns" include broken stems or branches, coffee filters, shredded paper bags, ash and wood chips. Fill the barrel two-thirds full.

Step 4

Wet the contents of the barrel with a garden hose until it is evenly moist. Do not drench the contents; if the contents get too wet, add wood chips to absorb excess water.

Step 5

Replace the lid on the barrel and push it down so it is sealed properly. Wrap a bungee cord taut from the top of the barrel to the bottom to secure the lid and prevent it from coming loose as it tumbles across your yard.

Step 6

Roll the compost tumbler across your yard in a straight line for four or five rotations so the contents mix thoroughly. Push it back into the bed you demarcated with bricks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add pet litter or disposable nappies into the compost bin.

Things You'll Need

  • 35-to-55 gallon plastic drum with lid
  • Detergent
  • Sponge
  • Bricks
  • Safety glasses
  • Earplugs
  • Drilling machine
  • Gloves
  • Kitchen and garden scrap
  • Bungee cord


  • How to Make Compost
  • Composting Bins
Keywords: copost tumbler, compost barrel, diy compost tumbler

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.