From My Garden to Yours
Spraying Wood Treatment on Compost Bin Components Wood for Stackable Compost Bins
DIY Stackable Compost Bin
May 07, 2018

Do-it-yourself Stackable Compost Bins

We love this compost bin. It’s simple to build and so efficient for making compost. It was designed by the experts at University of California Cooperative Extension. Each 3-foot-square section is a separate, stackable unit. With these easy instructions, you can make as many units as you need. Total cost: $48.98 plus tax.


Material We Used Size Qty. Cost
Wood Whitewood Fencing Picket 1″x6′ 60 feet $19.90
Wood Furring Strip 2″x2″ 10 feet $4.12
Wood Screws Flat-head Wood Screws 80 1 lb. $8.47
Wood Sealer Eco Wood Treatment 1 pkg. 1 gal. $16.49

Easy DIY Directions

(See images below for the steps)

1. Saw wood into the following lengths. Or buy at a lumberyard or home improvement center where they will cut for you. We got our wood at Lowe’s and a very nice man cut all the lengths for us which was so much easier and faster than sawing it at home. (Figure A)

Wood Length Qty.
1″x6″ 36″ 8
1″x6″ 34″ 8
2″x2″ 6″ 16

2. Optional: The edges of the wood were a bit rough, so we did a quick sanding of just the cut edges. (Figure C)

3. Optional: We sprayed all surfaces of the wood with Eco Wood Treatment. Do this the day before (or several hours) to give it time too dry. Beware: Eco Wood Treatment is a stain and will stain concrete, sinks, etc. We sprayed the wood on craft paper in the yard.

4. Place two 2″x2″s flush with the edge of the 34″ board lengths. There should be a 1″ offset from the top of the board. Drive two screws into the 1″x6″ and each 2″x2″. (Figure E and F).

5. Place a 36″ board length against the end of the 34″ length and 2″x2″ that are already attached. Then attach the 34″ lengths as shown in Figure F. You will now have a 36″ square.

6. Repeat the process for the remaining sections.

7. Simply stack the sections as you fill it with compost!

Fig. A: Getting wood cut
Fig. B: All of the wood
Fig. C: Sanding the edges
Fig. D: Spraying with Eco Wood Treatment
Fig. E: Drilling the screws
DIY Compost Bin Diagram
Figure F: How to place 2x2s

11 Thoughts

  1. Jennifer on April 19, 2020

    Love it! This makes so much sense to me. Thank you!

  2. gardening-for-purple on May 6, 2020

    I hope it works for you, Jennifer!

  3. David Ackiss on July 4, 2020

    The materials list is confused. To make a four-high stack, as in the photograph, you need 8 (not 10) of the 6ft. pickets and 16 of the 6″ 2″x2″s. To make a five-high stack, you indeed need 10 of the 6ft pickets, but you will need 20 (not 16) of the 6″ 2″x2″s.

  4. gardening-for-purple on July 9, 2020

    David, thanks for doing the math. I’ll take a look at our structure, consult with our structural engineer and get back to you. 🙂

  5. Nancy V. on November 28, 2020

    I just built mine! Thanks so much for the instructions.

    • gardening-for-purple on December 4, 2020


  6. Cristina Muñoz on June 17, 2022

    This look beautiful. It seems that with a small alteration in the corner posts, you could use the same pattern to make raised beds with a selection of heights (one level, two levels, etc.). You would just have to make the corner post equal in length to the height of the sides. The placement of the corner post an inch lower than the sides would keep that locking feature that lets them stack without falling apart and without hardware.
    Thanks for the project.

    • gardening-for-purple on July 26, 2022

      You’re right and we did do this for a raised bed. Actually, we experimented with creating a potato tour that didn’t work out. So then we converted it to a bed to contain a couple types of mint plus a little nursery bed for gladiolus cormlets. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  7. Chris Scott on November 17, 2022

    To get ventilation gaps as in the image the 2 x 2s need to be longer than 6 inches (the width of the boards).

    • gardening-for-purple on February 8, 2023

      Ventilation needed varies by region. I’m in a really arid zone, so it doesn’t take much for ventilation. This works well for us. 🙂

  8. Joanna on September 13, 2023

    Brilliant, just what I needed to see. Makes so much sense and I can adjust to size of my space. Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.