My $18 Rotating Compost Bin

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 12:01 pm on Monday, March 10, 2014

savvyhousekeeping's compost bin

As I mentioned before, I have been wanting a turning compost bin for awhile now. So last weekend, my husband made me one!

He used a combination of scrap wood and some new plywood to make me a box perched on a v-shaped stand. It has a “brake” in the form of a piece of wood along the base. When you pull it out, the weight of the box rotates the bin for you.

The arrow is pointing to the compost bin’s brake

On the top is a wide door that we can open to throw the waste in. There’s a lot of room in there.

savvyhousekeeping's compost bin

Because my husband was using wood, he water-proofed it with a deck stain to keep rot from eating away at the wood.

savvyhousekeeping's compost bin

The whole thing cost $18. A rotating compost bin this size in the store would cost over $300–at least that’s what I saw when I shopped around.

ETA: Since wood rots, paint the inside of the bin to keep it from breaking down. It will double the life of the bin.

ETA 2: Sorry, I can’t provide specs for this bin at this time. Maybe in the future!


Comment by Jennifer

April 9, 2009 @ 7:37 am

I ordered one a couple of weeks ago and it should be arriving soon. It was more than $18, but less than $300. ;)

Question: I remember reading that seeds should not go in the compost bin. That makes sense to me. Does that mean that strawberries and other things packed full of seeds should not go in? If I have a bad orange or apple, do I have to cut it up and get the seeds out first?

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

April 9, 2009 @ 9:01 am

Oh yeah, I just said $300 because that is the price that I have seen–they may very well be less if you shop around. I did see one for $100, but it was a lot smaller than mine.

I’m not sure about seeds since I’m so new to composting. I would guess that one or two wouldn’t make too big of a difference, but that’s a good question!

Comment by Abby @ Rotating Compost Bin

June 4, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

Wish I had a hubby who’d make me one of those. Lucky you.

Re: seeds. I don’t worry about them and certainly put strawberries and apple cores in my compost. The only problem I’ve ever had (if you consider it a problem) is butternut squash seeds sprouting.

Re: rotating composters. There are plenty for under $200. Yes it’s more than $18. Just depends on whether you have the time and the skill to build one.

Comment by Patricia

January 12, 2011 @ 8:58 am

Would you possibly be able to give some measurements on the pieces for this? I dont have a husband or significant other to build it for me, or help for that matter! lol, Just my lil handsome 9yr old helper! But like you, I had been wanting a rotating composter bin forever, cant justify the expense on them though!! I saw this, and your husband did a fabulous job and I would like to attempt to build one! Thanks for any advice you can give!! =)

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

January 12, 2011 @ 5:32 pm


I will talk to my husband and try to get back to you with it asap.

Comment by Patricia

January 15, 2011 @ 10:26 am

Thank you! =)

Pingback by Savvy Housekeeping » Magical Compost Tea

July 8, 2011 @ 8:23 am

[...] is also a great way to get the most out of a small amount of compost. So if you don’t have room for a giant compost bin, don’t worry. Make what you can and then make compost tea with it. That way your plants can [...]

Comment by Kary

March 8, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

I would like to build one similar as well. Can you share dimensions and any improvement suggestions. Thanks.

Comment by Regina

March 23, 2012 @ 10:08 am

Hi! I ran across this and love the idea! I too would like to know the materials he used to build? I’m doing it by mself and need to do it soon to move my current pile on the ground. ;) Thanks so much!

Comment by Tammie

April 16, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

I would also like to build one. Along with dimensions could you give some basic instructions, especially how the brake works. Thanks in advance. I would be so excited to have an option I could afford.

Comment by Debi

January 7, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

I searched for a wood composter and yours came up. I would love for my hubby to make one, can you share the instructions & dimensions with me too? We had a “Wood tools” Christmas and this will be a great project for my hubby to work on.
Thanks in advance!

Comment by Drew

August 1, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

That’s a very handsome bin! Jealous!
Wanted to comment on seeds. My understanding is that the heat generated by the compost will basically kill the seed… if the compost is generating the proper heat.

Comment by Cindy

August 23, 2013 @ 1:24 am

I ran across your wood composter after searching online looking for something exactly like this and yours was the only one I could find that didn’t use plastic. Have you had any difficulty rotating it?

This project looks like something I could build with my limited carpentry skills and basic tools. If you would be so kind, if you already have prepared a list of the dimensions, parts and basic assembly instructions for the others that requested it, could you please forward a copy to me too?

I worm compost kitchen scraps and my worm population has exploded and I don’t have enough scraps to feed them so now I need to start precomposting leaves and other yard waste to feed them. In return they provide me with some of the best organic fertilizer – their worm poop!

Thanks in advance.

Comment by Monique

February 25, 2014 @ 11:53 am

I love this compost bin and would like to make one for my garden. Can you also provide me with the dimensions, supply list and instructions to make it?

Thanks in advance.

Comment by Lisa

February 27, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

This is such a perfect DIY rotating compost bin! How has it held up over the years? If you could share the dimensions, supply list, and instructions to make it I would appreciate it a ton. Thanks so much.

Pingback by Savvy Housekeeping » The Magic of Rot

March 11, 2014 @ 8:00 am

[...] husband made me a rotating compost bin. Here it [...]

Comment by Joyce

March 12, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

I need one of these! I started a pile for compost, but the raccoons thought I was serving them dinner! If you have the dimensions and/or materials used I would live for you to send them to me. Thanks

Comment by Katia

January 31, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

I was looking to make a raised bed and there are all sorts of warnings about kinds of woods and stains etc because all of that leaches into the soil and then the vegetables you grow. So for example you aren’t supposed to use treated wood or railroad ties etc. I assume the same concerns would be true for a composter. Just wondering if plywood is ok and what kind of stain you used? Thanks, katia

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