Making a Turning Compost Bin

What You'll Need
20-55 gallon plastic drum with lid
4 foot pipe with 2 inch diameter
4 to 6 pieces of 2x4 lumber
Galvanized sheet metal
Circular saw
Drill bits
Measuring Tape

A turning compost bin is a good option for someone who is creating a small amount of compost and has little time. Every time brown and green material is added to the barrel a few turns is all that is needed to create useful compost. 



Step 1: Obtaining Material

It is most important to get a good drum that has not had any toxic material, paint or rust in it. If purchasing the drum, it is best to opt for a plastic drum. This will eliminate problems such as rust. 


Step 2:  Placing Holes 

Drill a hole in the center of the bottom and top of the barrel. The hole should be made through the lid and be perpendicular to the hole in the bottom of the drum so that the pipe can easily be slid through. 


Step 3: Place the Pipe 

Push the pipe into the barrel through the first center hole letting it pass out of the one on the opposite side. 


Step 4: Building the Frame 

To make the wooden frame that will support the compost barrel, begin cutting 4 pieces of 2x4 boards at your desired height to be used in an x-frame. Nail two 2x4 boards together into an x-frame. Do the same with the other two pieces.  

Next, measure the barrel and determine how far apart each piece of frame needs to be to effectively hold the barrel. Once this is determined cut 2 more pieces of 2x4 lumber. Nail the 2x4 pieces to either side of the frame near the bottom. They will provide the frame with added support. 


Step 5: Placing the Barrel 

Place the barrel with the pipe onto the frame. Make sure the barrel is secure.  

Step 6: Making Openings  

Now that the barrel is in a frame and ready to turn, it needs an opening and air holes. For air holes, drill holes in the body of the barrel with a 1 inch drill bit. This will allow oxygen in the barrel for aeration creating better compost. 

Next, cut a hole in the side of the barrel. A 10 inch square hole will allow you to easily place and remove compostable material. Once the hole is cut, add hinges and a clasp to create a door. 

Step 6: Adding a Mixing Fin 

Attach a piece of galvanized sheet metal to the inside of the barrel opposite the door. This will help to keep the barrel balanced when it is empty. The metal should be in an L-shape for it to be most beneficial at mixing the compost. As the compost is turned from the outside, the fin will be able to break apart and loosen the compost from the inside. 


Step 7: Fill the Drum 

Put grass clippings, leaves and any other compostable material into you tumbler compost bin. Rotate the drum regularly and wait for compost to form.