How to Build a Compost Bin From Old Windows


Composting is the process of turning decomposable matter into organic fertilizer for the soil that is packed with nutrients. Many homeowners collect kitchen and garden scrap and heap it in a pile or a bin to create homemade compost. A bin protects the waste from extreme temperatures and confines it, thus preventing scavengers and curious children from spreading it all over the yard. You can create your own compost bin with four old wooden window frames that are the same size.

How to Build a Compost Bin From Old Windows

Step 1

Select a shaded corner of your yard or garden that is level and has well-drained soil. It should be close to your kitchen so you can access it easily in the cold and wet winter to fill it with leftover food scraps.

Step 2

Collect four window frames that are equal in width and length. You can use old ones if you have any at home, borrow from a friend willing to dispose them or purchase them from a thrift store.

Step 3

Spread a tarp or old sheet on a level surface and place the window frames over it. Wear your gloves and facemask and use a heat gun to soften old putty. Carefully remove the putty and collect it in a wheelbarrow. Lift the glass from the window frames and place them in the wheelbarrow to discard appropriately. If your window frames have broken shards of glass, pull them back and forth to loosen them from the putty. Remove any stubborn shards with a butt chisel or use pliers to pull out any stuck pieces under the putty.

Step 4

Measure the size of one of the window frames and cut four pieces of mesh wire with tin snips to fit into them. Attach the wire to the insides of the window frames with a staple gun.

Step 5

Measure the short side of one of the window frames and mark a square on the ground with a stick. Build your square compost bin over these lines. Place the short side of one of the window frames over one of the lines you drew on the ground, holding it carefully so it does not fall. Hold another frame on a line perpendicular to it; ensuring the edges of both the frames are level with one another.

Step 6

Connect the two frames to one another by drilling with wood screws. Repeat the process to attach the third frame, and finally the fourth. You will have a square bin without a lid or base.

Tips and Warnings

  • Your compost bin will emit a strong odor and the decomposition process will slow down if the site it is placed in does not drain well.

Things You'll Need

  • Four wooden window frames
  • Tarp
  • Gloves
  • Face mask
  • Heat gun
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Butt chisel
  • Pliers
  • Mesh wire
  • Tin snips
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Measuring tape
  • Stick
  • Protective eyeglasses
  • Earplugs
  • Drilling machine
  • Wood screws
  • Shovel
  • Kitchen and yard scrap
  • Garden hose
  • Pitchfork


  • University of Arkansas: "Wooden-Pallet and Wire-Mesh Compost Bins"
  • University of Minnesota: "Structures for Backyard Composting"
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: "Composting"

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois: "Building Your Compost Pile"
Keywords: compost bin, home composting, homemade compost

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.