How to Make a Compost Tumbler Easily and Effectively

How to Make a Compost Tumbler

The Importance of Composting

Composting is not only an eco-friendly way to reduce waste but also a fantastic method to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. By recycling organic matter such as kitchen scraps and yard waste, you can decrease landfill waste while producing a valuable resource that improves plant growth. One popular and efficient way to compost at home is by using a compost tumbler. In this blog post, we will guide you through the steps of making your own compost tumbler.

Gathering Materials

Before diving into the construction process, it’s crucial to gather all the necessary materials for building your homemade compost tumbler. You will need:
– A plastic drum with a tight-fitting lid (preferably 55 gallons)
– Metal or PVC pipe (approximately 4 feet long)
– Two sturdy wooden posts or metal stands
– Screws and drill
– Strong wire mesh or hardware cloth
– Hinges and latches

Building Your Compost Tumbler

1. Preparing the Drum: Start by washing out the plastic drum thoroughly with soap and water to remove any residue or chemicals.

2. Ventilation Holes: Drill multiple small holes around all sides of the drum, allowing proper airflow for decomposition.

3. Door Creation: Cut a large door on one side of the drum using either sharp utility knives or power tools like jigsaws if available. This door should be large enough for adding materials and retrieving finished compost easily.

4. Reinforcing Structure: Attach strong wire mesh or hardware cloth over each ventilation hole using screws on both ends tightly.

5. Mounting Support System: Using wooden posts or metal stands, mount them firmly in your desired location where you plan to keep the composter upright throughout its use.

6. Installing the Drum: Slide the plastic drum onto the support system and ensure it is stable and securely positioned.

7. Adding a Pipe for Aeration: Drill holes along one side of the pipe to enable proper air circulation within the compost tumbler. Insert this pipe vertically into the center of the drum, allowing it to reach from top to bottom.

8. Lid Construction: Cut a circular opening on one end of the lid, matching the diameter of your inserted pipe snugly. Attach hinges and latches to secure it tightly in place.

Using Your Compost Tumbler

1. Filling with Organic Waste: Start by adding equal amounts of brown materials (e.g., dried leaves, shredded newspaper) and green materials (e.g., kitchen scraps, grass clippings) into your compost tumbler through its large door.

2. Turning & Aerating: To facilitate decomposition, regularly turn or rotate your compost tumbler at least once every two days, ensuring that oxygen reaches all parts evenly for efficient breakdown.

3. Maintaining Moisture Levels: Monitor moisture levels inside your composter by checking if it feels like a damp sponge when squeezed gently; add water if necessary but avoid making it too wet or soggy.

4. Balancing Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio: Aim for an optimal carbon-nitrogen ratio by adjusting ingredient proportions as needed – approximately three parts brown material to one part green material – ensuring a well-balanced environment for decomposers.

5. Harvesting Finished Compost: After several weeks or months depending on environmental factors and diligent maintenance, you will have rich dark compost ready for use in your garden! Open up the door carefully and shovel out matured compost from underneath while leaving unfinished organic matter inside to continue decomposition.


Building and using a homemade compost tumbler offers numerous benefits both environmentally and horticulturally. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can enjoy an efficient and practical way to recycle organic waste while creating nutrient-rich compost for your gardening needs. Start today and contribute to a greener future!