How to Build a Home Compost Tumbler


As more and more gardeners are looking for greener ways to dispose of trash and feed their gardens, garden stores and hardware stores are selling an increasingly large array of compost bins and tumblers. The choice of bins might seem intimidating, and the cost of these can be prohibitive for many families. Composting can be a simple process, however, and making your own compost tumbler cheaply shouldn't be more than an afternoon of work.

Step 1

Use a plastic trash can with a locking lid. A metal trash can will work, too, but it won't last as long and if it gets bent out of shape the lid won't close as tightly.

Step 2

Drill small holes all over the sides and bottom of the trash can. The holes should be about 6 inches apart from each other.

Step 3

Cut a piece of nylon mesh to fit the bottom of the can. Place it on the inside. This will let water drain out while keeping the compost trapped inside.

Step 4

Place the bin somewhere accessible to the kitchen. Set the compost bin on 4 bricks to raise it off the ground. This will give it better drainage.

Step 5

Keep the lid snapped onto the garbage can at all times so animals can't get into it.

Step 6

Tumble the compost once a month to mix it up and air it out. To do this, strap the lid down on the can with a bungee cord. Tip the can on its side and roll it around several times. Do not tumble the compost too often or the microbes inside will start to die off.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not put meat or dairy products, oily prepared foods or waste from carnivorous animals into the compost. These will smell bad, attract vermin, and harbor pathogens that won't die in the decomposition process.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic trash can with snap-on lid
  • Metal trash can with lid
  • Drill with hole saw attachment
  • Nylon mesh
  • Scissors
  • Bricks
  • Bungee cord


  • The Garbage Can Compost Bin
  • Garden Compost Tumbler
Keywords: make compost tumbler, cheap compost tumbler, compost bins and tumblers