Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Plans for a DIY Compost Bin with Kids

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.
I was wanting to do this project as expediently as possible.  So, after I had drawn up my plans and made a supply list, I went to The Home Depot store that's 5 minutes from our house.  Once I was there, an amazing associate, Greg, helped me to find everything that I was looking for.  Again, because I wanted a quick prep time, I had him do the cuts for me.  Home Depot offers three free cuts; any additional are 50 cents apiece.  I didn't mind that charge, because it was well worth it to keep me from having to haul 12 foot pieces home, set up the sawhorses, get out the saw, measure the lengths and cut.  With the lumber, cuts, and deck screws, this project ended up costing a little under $150! 

The Home Depot has compost bin plans that you can use to create a 4x4x4 foot compost bin.  Because I wanted to create a larger space that was open on the side so that Bear and I could get in to turn the compost, I created our own plans to complete our DIY compost bin.  These were probably the biggest challenge I faced in the whole project, as I wanted to make sure that they were correct and easy to read.  You can find them farther down in the post.
From start to finish, our homemade compost bin took about 6 hours to build.  At times, I did have a little helper, so it was slowed down a tad.  Bear {4.5 years} helped me lay out the boards and line them up so that they were flush with the deck posts.  While he did this, he did have on rubber-coated gloves to prevent him from getting splinters.  I also wore gloves.  {Splinters from treated wood can get a irritated with a possible infection if not cared for right away.}  He got a kick out of being able to push the button on the electric drill while I held it in place. 
To create a bin the size that best suited us, I created my own plans. 

You can get my free kid-friendly compost bin plans here. Click the link, then right click the image and choose "Save As".  
left side      right side      back side       top view
Because of the large size of our bin and our variety of weather in the Midwest, I chose to get pressure-treated lumber to help it withstand the elements.  At some point, I think I'll let Bear paint it.

My Compost Bin Supply List
  • 4" x 4" x 4.5 ft deck posts: Quantity 4
  • 1" x 6" x 6 ft planks: Quantity 9
  • 1" x 6" x 4 ft planks: Quantity 18
  • 2" x 4" x 4.5 ft plank: Quantity 1
  • Deck Screws
  • Electric Drill with screwdriver bit
I assembled the back portion before the sides.  It was fairly simple.  To attach the sides to the back, I propped up the back with chairs behind it and a 2x4 leaning diagonally on the other side.  When attaching the sides, I stood them up and lined up the 2x6s with the deck post.  The first screws that I put in were those on the top and bottom boards of each side.  This ensured that the edges were flush and not crooked.  I was then able to go down the side and add two screws per board.  And voila!  We were done.

After the bin was completed, Bear dug right in and started turning up the soil so that we could add some yard clippings to create the base.  When our lawn company comes later in the week, I'll ask them to empty their bags in the bin.  After that we'll add coffee grounds, wet newspaper, fruit/veggie scraps and some of the worms from our Indoor Compost Bin.  Then it'll be ready for us to start the composting process!


So, what do you think?  Are you inspired to tackle this project?
Please feel free to comment below or email me for any additional info on our project.

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