Are you searching for an affordable way to build a homemade compost tumbler? If so, look no further.Below are a set of step-by-step instructions for a DIY compost tumbler. It may not be as pretty as those tumblers you see in ads, but it most definitely works!
When we first got into the composting business, we heard about people making homemade compost tumblers out of garbage cans.
Then we started to notice people rolling these make-shift tumblers around their yards. At that point, we'd be lying if we said we were believers in this method of composting. We used to think to ourselves..."there is no way that a tumbler made from a garbage can is able to produce decent compost." Well...
We were WRONG! So wrong, that we started to experiment with the idea ourselves, and have now become big fans of the design.
On the following pages, you will find two sets of compost tumbler plans:
If you've never used a compost tumbler, we HIGHLY recommend trying your hand at building one, before running out and buying one. Why? Because there is more to a tumbler than meets the eye.
Using a tumbler to make quality compost requires a daily commitment on your part. Each day, you must be willing to go outside and roll/turn/flip your tumbler several times.
This might not seem like a lot of work right now, but it will help you get used to the daily task of turning your tumbler. It's at this point that many people realize tumblers aren't their "thing" (They'd much rather use the static method for their composting needs). Once you develop this daily ritual, and find that you don't mind it, you may then want to fork out the extra cash for a commercial model. At least at this point, you'll have a greater appreciation for the commercial tumblers.
To build this compost tumbler, you'll need the following materials:
*If using a plastic garbage can, we suggest trying to use the rigid-type versus the soft-type of plastic.
Note - If the lid does not seem secure at this point, please use duct tape to help lock it in place.
To achieve the highest quality
compost, you must roll your tumbler daily, ensuring that it makes three complete revolutions. This daily turning must be repeated for two weeks straight.
During this time, you will notice that the tumbler heats up quite a bit. This is great news, however, you should still open the can every three to four days and check the moisture levels of the ingredients inside. Be sure to use the "hand-squeeze test" to determine the ideal moisture levels.
As with all compost, the next step is to allow it to cure. You can complete the curing process in one of two ways: inside your homemade compost tumbler or in a pile outside. We prefer to transfer it to a pile, and start our next batch. Whichever method you choose, be sure to let the compost sit for at least two weeks before using it.
Depending on how you plan to use your compost, you may have to use a compost sifter to remove any larger clumps of material. We usually throw these larger clumps back into our next batch for further breakdown.
Want to build a more effective compost tumbler?
If you would like to learn how to build a much more productive version of this homemade compost tumbler, please use this set of compost tumbler plans.