Upcycled Compost Tumbler

in Build-It6 months ago

Hey Hive fam! So I've been thinking for a while that I needed to make a second compost bin because my dual-bucket system is quite full and it will be a little while before it's done cooking. I had these big whey protein tubs and really wanted to see if I could use them, but how? Enter yesterday's project: MacGuyering a compost tumbler out of upcycled materials! :)

Compost tumbler 1.jpg
I love playing with tools. Especially my drill. (Tim Taylor barking sounds)

It took a lot of finagling to figure out how best to rig it on the first bucket, but after that the second bucket was done lickety-split. Here's what it looks like all put together:

Compost tumbler 2.jpg
Yeah I realize looking at these that that one bolt on the left is kinda crooked; I'll have to go back and tighten the inside nut later

And yes, the buckets spin. It is a true tumbler! :)

Here's what I made it out of:

Compost tumbler 3.jpg

In this photo you can see that the stand is an old lamp base. The top part had broken and it had become unsafe to use so I cut the cord out some time ago but kept the wrought iron base. Add to that a bent wire hanger, and that's what the pipes are balancing on. The brown pipe is part of my shower caddy because my bathroom ceiling is short and so I didn't need the extra extension pipe, and the silver pipe was part of the cat tree that got cloth mothed and otherwise tossed. In the middle to keep them steady I crammed in some grippy shelf liner, and on either end I have random plastic caps stuffed in there to keep bugs from going inside the pipes.

The middle two hangers are: on the left, a plastic handle from a box of chalk, a piece of cloth covered wire that was a sample, a metal piece I'm not sure where it came from, a keyring, a bolt, washers, and nut on the inside. On the right, a bolt, washer, and nut, two keyrings, and a large metal ring that I don't remember what their original sold-for purpose was supposed to be but I bought a pack ages ago when I was building a steampunk gun prop, lol.

Compost tumbler 4.jpg

Here you can see the plastic bits to cover the pipe on the end and a similar hanging rig on the other side of the right bucket. Holes for air are drilled along the "bottom" ends like this, and around the rim but not the lid on the other side.

Compost tumbler 5.jpg

On this side you can see the hanger is an old headband and another piece of cloth covered wire with the bolt inside.

Compost tumbler 6.jpg

Here you can see the "top" holes better and also that the lid comes off, which is how I add my materials to compost. The top layer is shredded junk mail paper - a great brown resource, especially for us apartment dwellers!

After I finished building it last night, I put in a layer of the bin of browns I had going on the kitchen counter all winter: houseplant pruning, wooden matches, my hair, cat hair, dryer lint when it was just a linens load, bamboo toothbrush handle, incense ashes, etc. Then I added all the greens I had been keeping in the freezer so they wouldn't get gross while I waited to have room in the compost bin (since it gets too cold over winter sitting on the balcony, it stops breaking down, really). Then I added the shredded paper. This morning I threw in a handful of compost into each to give them the right bugs to start the process of breaking everything down.

Compost tumbler 7.jpg

And a demonstration that it really is a balancing act - when you take one side off, the other will touch down like balancing scales. :)

Compost buckets 1.jpg

My compost buckets, which have been in use for a couple of years now, sit on the balcony ledge so they get plenty of sun to heat up. The batch inside is close to done, but parts of it need more time like the last batch of wooden matches I added, the last houseplant pruning, and some wadded paper towel and newspaper, all still recognizeable as such. I had added them to make it full right before everything cooled off and started freezing for the winter.

So that was my upcycling project to make more compost! It was a lot of fun getting creative to figure out what I could make it with and how to put it together. And I used up a lot of random objects - so I could turn even more trash into treasure in the form of compost! :)

I hope you enjoyed my little upcycling project, and that maybe it inspires you to make yourself a compost bin, too! Have a great day, all! <3


That is sooooo freeking awesome, you really blow me away with your innovative apartment gardening Phe!!

PS: How is Emmy doing? I've been wondering about her since that frost...

Emmy after frost.jpg
This is what happened to her first baby leaves from that frost. :( I haven't seen any new ones yet, but I pulled off the crunchy parts today in the hope that helps. She grew a second set last year after the spider mites so I'm hoping since she didn't even have half her leaves started she'll grow new ones again now. Am keeping an eye on her and continuing to water and feed. <3

C'mon Emmy I'm rooting for you! I beleaf in youuuuuu!!!!

Hahahaha 🤣 thought I'd give you a few more groan worthy moments tonight!

You're so punny! I'm barking with laughter! :)

Linds is so correct. I want to build something like this now. @hiveusa and keep staying sustainable.

Thanks! Do make a post about it if you build one! :)