Introduction: Compost Bin: Wood and Wire Mesh

About: Steward to about 20,000 trees on 40 acres.

There are cheap, easy and fast compost bins but they often come with problems. I have made a few of these for family members and this design has the advantages of large size and flexibility as well as being portable. Each side of the bin is a unit that can easily be removed as you remove material and later reattached.


10- 2" x 4" x 8' treated

17'- 2" x 4" welded wire fence 48" high

48- 2-1/2" galvanized common hails OR 2-1/2" #8 screws (I prefer hex head)

1# box- 3/4" galvanized poultry staples

8- 2-1/2" hook and eyes

?? adhesive bandages (freshly cut wire is sharp!)


Safety glasses

Tape measure

Speed square

Saw (hand crosscut or circular)

Power drill and bits

Drive bit...if you are using screws



Needle-nose pliers

Side cutters


Workbench with vise.....helpful but not necessary

Sawhorses.....helpful but not necessary

Step 1: Materials Preparation and Assembly

1) While wearing safety glasses, cut eight of the 2" x 4"s into pieces 49-1/2" and 46-1/2" long. The 49-1/2" pieces are the horizontal parts of the panels and the 46-1/2" pieces are the vertical parts. Cut the other two 2" x 4"s into pieces 46-1/2" long. Drill two pilot holes about 3/4" from each end of each 49-1/2" and in the middle of the board. The holes should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the nails or screw you are using. The holes will help prevent the wood from splitting as you assemble.

2) Assemble the 49-1/2" pieces to the 46-1/2" as shown in the second photo. One vertical at each end and one in the middle. I like to do this with the boards laying on a cement driveway or garage floor to make sure the panel is flat. Set the panels aside.

3) While wearing safety glasses, unroll the welded wire, flattening it as you go. WARNING You may want to have someone assist with this since the wire has the memory of being rolled and will tend to spring back causing injury. Cut four 48" long sections of fencing. Be sure to cut close to the vertical wires and then remove the 2" horizontal ends that remain before starting on the next section.

4) Lay a wooden panel flat on the floor or on sawhorses (to save your back) and lay a wire section on it. The 4" sides of the 2" x 4" openings should align with the vertical sides of the panel. Center the right side wire on the right side vertical 2" x 4" . Check the left side wire to make sure it is centered on the left side 2" x 4". Align the top and bottom likewise.

5) Empty a couple dozen staples into something like an old pie pan. Using the needle nose pliers, pick up a staple (this will save smashed fingers) and position it over one of the outside wires, near the middle. Make sure the wire section is still correctly positioned and pound in the staple (while wearing safety glasses). Realign the wire section, if needed, and add another staple to the other side of the section. Once the wire is held in position, proceed to add more staples to every other wire. Work from the center out. Don't forget to staple the wires to the center vertical 2" x 4". This is the tedious part since you need to pound almost 50 staples per bin panel.

6) With all four panels completed, stand them up on a level surface as shown in the 4th picture. The wire is on the INSIDE. Label both panels at each corner (A-A, B-B, etc.) and screw in the hooks and eyes after you drill pilot holes. Pliers are helpful here. Hook them as you work your way around the bin. This will stabilize the panels so they don't fall over. Put a hook and eye near the top and near the bottom.

7) If you are just making one bin, unhook your bin and take it to your site for reassembly.

8) If you are making a double bin you will need two fewer 2" x 4"s for the second bin since the bins will share a common center panel. You will, however, need to put a wire section on both sides of the center panel.

9) Sign and date your project.