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How to build your own composter


Plastic drum and steel pipe

As previously mentioned here, there are three different types of composters.  The best, and most popular type, is the rotary composter.  Such a device allows to user to exert less effort in order to obtain the same product.

*Note - The drum will need some sort of structure to support it.  You can either build a wooden saw buck or a rectangular structure with a hole at the top for the drum to sit in.

Step 1: Purchase a good size plastic drum (between 20 and 55 gallons) and a schedule 80 PVC pipe 2 inches in length.  A steel pipe can also be used.

Step 2: The pipe will be used as an axle.  To do that, drill holes in the center of the bottom and top of the drum.  The holes should be large enough for the pipe to fit through. 

Support structure for compost biin

Step 3: Situate the barrel on its support structure.
Step 4: For aeration, drill holes in the body of the barrel.

Step 5: The barrel can be rotated using the pipe as an axle.
Step 6: From there, choose an area to cut a rectangular hole.  Add some hinges and a hasp and a door will be created from the plastic removed from the barrel.

Step 7: Proceed to fill the drum (now your composter) with leaves, rotten biodegradables and other various compost materials. 

Periodically check the composter and rotate the bin.  The microorganisms will do their job effectively with the addition of an activator.


Finished homemade composter

Handle for composter 

Photos and information retrieved from here.


  • Annette Palmer - Cincinnati Holiday Examiner 5 years ago

    This is a smaller version of the one we did in our gardening class, but it looks very well designed. Thanks for the how to tips, this will come in handy!

  • Julie Durr 5 years ago

    We've tried different ways of composting and have not effectively done so-I like this plan-bookmarking to show my husband. Thanks

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