DIY Compost Bucket For Under $10


Y'all, I'm so excited to share this DIY (do-it-yourself) with y'all!

I've been an avid crafter and DIY-er for as long as I can remember, and I was absolutely thrilled when I married a handy-man and also fellow DIY-er for a husband. Match the two together, and there are very few projects that we feel we can't tackle ourselves (or at least learn from the experts on YouTube).

Enter our first DIY project, a Compost Bucket!

Daniel and I started our first full month in the house doing Whole30. We did this as a way to stock our kitchen with fresh ingredients, adjust our diets after a big month of traveling, and kind of do a little reset that was super needed!

We found that with eating mostly plant based (though I did eat more meat than I ever care to during this time), there was a lot of waste of the ends, bruised parts, etc. and it literally hurt me to just throw it away.

With my growing desire to plant, a beautiful pumpkin patch that could always use a little extra fertilization, and the desire to waste less, we decided that a compost bucket just made sense!

Daniel watched a few videos so we could figure out which method made the most sense for us, and then we kind of put together tips and tricks from multiple people and made our own! We learned that pretty much every individual who has done their own compost has different opinions and do's/don'ts, so we figured that meant there was flexibility in what we could do.

So we went with that.

Anyways, lets get to the fun part: doing this DIY! It's literally super simple. You only need a few buckets, a lid and a drill to create this easy little composting bucket. It literally took us 10 minutes to film (full DIY video at the end of this post) and create this project, so once you have the supplies, you'll be able to make everything in a flash as well. 

Supplies You'll Need:

For the bucket:

  • 2 Buckets (we bought ours from Lowes, but Home Depot has them)
  • 1 Lid
  • A drill with a small-to-medium bit 

For the compost:

  • Dry ground (dirt, sticks, leaves, etc.)
  • Cardboard (preferably plain with no ink)
  • Compost (optional to start: if you have any, great. If not, just add as stuff comes up)

So here are all the steps to making a super simple DIY compost bucket:

1. Take one of the buckets, put it upside-down, and drill several holes in the bottom of it. With a 3/16ths drill bit, we drilled probably 15-20 holes, about 1.5" inches a part from one another. To be honest, there wasn't really a science behind this, as much as just adding a lot of holes. You really just need enough holes for the compost tea to drip through. 

2. Next up, you'll drill holds in the top sides of that same bucket! This is to give fresh air/oxygen to your compost, a very necessary part to breaking down your food scraps into nutrient-dense, rich soil!

We drilled probably about 10-15 holes around the sides, about 3" apart from one another. Again, just make sure there's enough holes where the bucket can breathe. 

3. After that, you'll place the bucket that has all the holes in it inside the other bucket. Be sure that the bucket with all the holes in the bottom will have any liquid drip into the other bucket (that has no holes). This is important because as your food breaks down, parts of it will liquify, and this becomes fertilizing GOLD! It's basically liquid fertilizer, that's organic (if you buy organic) and literally food-fresh.

Your plants will love it - just be sure to significantly dilute it with water! You want to have the "tea" look like really weak tea (in real life). Then you'll know you've diluted it enough!

Here's a photo of our compost tea - before we diluted it. 

Now's the fun part - we're going to start building our compost! It's really important that you have dried, brown goods to add to your compost. Daniel's suggestion is to have at least a 3:1 ratio of dry/brown goods (3) to wet/green goods (1) in your compost pile.

This will help keep the chemical levels even... Science wasn't my strong suit, but my understanding is that you can't have too many dry goods, but you can have too many wet goods. So I would always lean on the caution of the more dry goods, the better, especially if you add to your compost pile daily like we do!

4. Add dried, brown goods to your compost bucket. This is old leaves, sticks, dirt, cardboard (without ink, so those toxins don't get in your compost), etc. We literally just scavenged our yard and found plenty of dried goods in the yard

Plus we have an insane amount of boxes thanks to my business and our addiction with amazon prime. We usually recycle boxes, but thanks to our recent move (and a miscommunication with the recycling company on when pickup was) we still had plenty of cardboard to break down!

If you have a paper shredder, or feel like taking some time to shred by hand, you can always add this as well!

5. Add your compost (if you have any), put on the lid, and et viola - you're done! Our layering went dry/brown goods, wet/green goods, dry/brown goods.

A few additional tips:

  • I save all my compost in a bowl on the counter, and every few days I will dump it in the compost bucket. Before we had the bucket, I had the wet goods saved in bags because after a few weeks, these guys can start to get smelly!
  • Because we had been saving up several bags of compost for a few weeks, our bucket filled up quickly. Last weekend Daniel built me a compost pile with chicken wire - let me know if you want to see a tutorial for this!
  • Again, can't stress enough the importance of the dry, brown goods! We've found that if we "cap" our bucket with these, it helps keep the smell down and I think it helps break the compost down faster.
Also, super important... You can add just about anything to your compost (food scraps, veggie and fruit stubs and stems, leaves, bread, even stuff with mold on it) however you cannot add the following:
  • Meat (of any kind)
  • Seafood (of any kind)
  • Dairy (of any kind)

These things are a big no-no in your compost pile, and will bring unwanted smells and victims (maggots) into your compost. So definitely avoid the big three!

Just to stress, you can add the following:

  • Egg shells
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Bread
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags (no staple) and loose leaf tea
  • Paper napkins and paper towels 

Final tip: Bet sure to stir it every few days to help contribute oxygen to your compost and to help with everything breaking down. This step is really important for the health of your compost, so don't forget! You can mark it on your calendar, or set up a phone reminder. Whatever works!

Compost breaks down at different times, depending on what you put in it. If you're curious, just look it up, but in general: if your compost is in the sun, it will break down faster. I'd say in general about 1-2 months for everything to fully break down is normal! You can always look into doing a worm compost to quicken the pace. And be sure to have plenty of dried, brown goods to balance out the wet goods!

Feel ready to give it a go? Comment below and tag us on social media @rosalynnelove if you do - we'd love to hear about your experience!

Also, huge thanks to my hunky husband for being the star of the show with this first DIY! I was SO impressed with how comfortable he was in front of the camera, and how everything in the video below was literally done in the first take/shot. He's a natural! So hopefully I can convince him to do more videos like this with me ;) 

Watch the full video tutorial, below:

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