Introduction: Upcycled Compost Bin

About: I'm an environmentally conscious experimenter who loves to bring people together, build things, and when possible...blow things up! See us on YouTube too!

I've had this design idea bouncing around my head for a few years. The idea is to make a compost bin from an old redwood fence. My neighbor just tore one down, so I guess it's time to build it.

Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Tape measure


  • Redwood fencing
  • Nails

Cut List

  • 4ea. - 4x4x36"
  • 8ea. - 2x4x30"
  • 18ea. - ¾x3½x20"
  • 18ea. - ¾x3½x23"
  • 4ea. - ¾x¾x27"
  • 72ea. - 2x3½" parallelogram (I cut mine to 31.5°)

Step 2: Find and Prep Some Wood!

Collect up enough wood to make the cut list from the previous page and start pulling nails. Having a chop saw and a table saw make this job go a lot faster, but it is possible to do this whole job with just a hand saw.

Once you have your wood, remove all of the nails and any other hardware that may be in it.

Step 3: Cut the Wood!

I had a particular size in mind when I made mine, which is why I included the cut list, but you can make your's any size you wish.

Cut four 4x4s of equal length to make the corner posts. Mine were 36".

Cut eight 2x4s to make the side connectors. Mine were 30" because of the location where I'm going to put the bin.

Cut eighteen slats for the short side and eighteen slats for the long side. Mine were 20" and 23".

Cut four strips that will be used as stop blocks. Mine were ¾x¾x27".

Cut seventytwo parallelograms to be used as slat guides. Mine were 2" tall with a 31½° angle.

Step 4: Add Guides to Corner Posts

Use one of the 2x4s as a spacer to locate the bottom slat guide. Nail it in place. You could use the nails from the fence, but I just used my brad nailer. Set one of the slat pieces on edge next to the first slat guide and install the next slat guide. Continue until all nine are installed.

Continue installing slat guides on two sides of each 4x4 taking care that the orientation is such that when installed, the slats will be pointing down from outside to inside. I installed mine incorrectly the first time and had to remove and flip the second set of nine.

Finally, install the thin strips in the interior corners. These strips will prevent the slats from falling into the compost bin.

Step 5: Assemble Two Sides

Lay two 4x4s on the ground parallel to each other with two slat guides facing one another, and the other two slat guides on the floor. Using only one nail in each corner, nail one 2x4 to the top ends of the 4x4s and one 2x4 to the bottom ends of the 4x4s.

Using a tape measure, measure the diagonal distance across from top left to lower right. Then measure from the top right to lower left in the same manner. If the two measurements are equal, the unit is square and you can add a second nail to each corner. If the measurements are different, adjust it until they are equal.

Repeat this process with the remaining two 4x4s. These will be the long sides.

Step 6: Attach the Two Sides to Make a Box and Add Slats.

If your 4x4s are in any kind of decent shape, your assembled sides should stand up on edge. Using the remaining 2x4s, attach the two assembled sides from the previous step to each other. On mine, I wanted to tie all of the 2x4s together using butt joints. Because of that, this side will be a few inches shorter than the first side.

Just like in the last step, attach the 2x4s with one nail in each corner and measure diagonally to check for square, then add the second nail. I made sure that second nail went into the end of the 2x4 of the other side for strength.

Finally, add all of the slats and move your new compost bin into place. When you want to till it, just pull the slats out of one side and drag a bunch out with a shovel or potato fork, replace the slats and load it back up! The slats will eventually rot, but the beauty of this design is that they're so easily replaceable.

Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017

Gardening Contest 2017

Participated in the
Gardening Contest 2017