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Pallet Compost Bin DIY ~ A Must Have

You know you’re a junker when _________. How would you fill this sentence in? For me, it’s you know you’re a junker when you bug your husband to bring home pallets so you can build yourself your own birthday gift. Yup. My mind was set on a pallet compost bin, folks. Enter in these beauties…

Pile of Free Pallets for Compost Bin |

That there is potential in more ways than one. The pallet infatuation has swept the world over and it doesn’t stop here. These things have so many uses! I have built my shutters as seen here (DIY tutorial) and oodles of other pallet creations seen in this post.

Repurposed Doily Wall Art for Farmhouse Decor by Prodigal Pieces |

Like I mentioned in my 40th birthday post, we are back to getting our home finished and the back yard is my target for the summer.

We have been using the grow-more-mow-less attitude on our quarter acre lot of over 5 years now. Our original plan was to build a compost bin right off that bat. We actually built a tumbler using a food grade 50 gallon drum and a handmade crossbuck. That worked fine, but it was too small for us. We sold it ans then this happens. However, you know how time can get away from you and you’re left with this…a hot mess.

Compost Pile Before |

You have compost on the left, what’s left of it anyway, after we added most of it to this year’s garden. There’s also broken bricks and concrete and a healthy growth of red raspberries that are not supposed to be there.

Kitchen Compost Pile |

On the right is an overgrown mess of perennials, asparagus, strawberry plants, and weeds that but up against my neighbors fence. Every time I come back and look at this stuff I whisper to myself, “This is not my property”. I say that because I have spent years cleaning all this up and had to let it go. Very frustrating.

Backyard Fence Overgrowth |

Well, those frustrated days are no more. I dug out that back fence mess and got ready to make use of those pallets. My kids were more than happy to help, and JC was stolen from our kitchen remodel for a bit to help me get started.

Pallets for Compost |

*post sponsored by Ryobi and includes affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

JC is allowed to take broken or unwanted pallets from work, so we grab some when we can. First, we make sure they are heat treated so we know they do not leech chemicals into our compost. Just look for the HT stamp. We are also going to be building a wood shed and moving our firewood pile to a better place too. So, like I said, we always have much on our plate.

To get our your own pallet compost bin going, here is what you need:

We set a pallet at the side of the bin with the bottom facing in and then drove in the T posts. Then added another to but up against it at the back, and another for the opposing side to make one bin.

Building Pallet Compost Bin |

My bad for not getting a T post driver when I got the stakes, as I have always wanted one of those bad boys. So we used our small sledge instead, but do note that I went back and bought one to use on our wood shed to make the job easier.

We wanted to create two bins – one of for fresh compost and one for the decomposed goodness (aka. black gold). We just added another back and side to create another bin adjoining the first one. Another note is that we could have used shorter T posts, but we weren’t sure in the planning stages if we were going to turn the pallets on the long side or not. Five foot posts would have been sufficient instead of our six foot ones.

Second Stage Pallet Compost Bin |

After set up, JC went back to kitchen work and the kids and I finished up the rest. The next step was to line the bottom with cardboard. This is to create a composting weed barrier, just in case I had missed any when digging it all out. And, the worms absolutely love it. It will encourage them to come up and have a feast. I even tucked it in the empty pallet spaces for weed control and can replace as it decomposes.

Layering Cardboard in Pallet Compost Bin by Prodigal Pieces |

The next step is to add chicken wire to line the insides. My extra help was all ready to roll because everyone wanted to try out my new toy – the AirStrike stapler. I don’t blame them one bit!


I repeat, my #toolsoverjewels motto still stands as it has for over 20 years. This thing ROCKS!! No compressor needed like my other stapler. Just pop in the battery and I was sailing around these bins and had them done in no time. You can see how awesome it is for uphosltery in this footstool post.

Stapling Chicken Wire with AirStrike Stapler on Compost Bin by Prodigal Pieces |

And…just look at my stash I’ve accrued. Best part is they all take the same battery and that alone makes my life soooo much easier.

Collection of Ryobi ONE+ Tools for all you DIY needs | Prodigal Pieces |

JC heard the thwack, thwack, thwack and had to come back and see how it was working. He was impressed, but I was having too much fun and wouldn’t let him take it away from me, like he did in my last post. Good mama. hee hee hee.

Our next step was to move our current compost pile into the bins. Three of my six kids were with me most of the time as the others had work to do. Or my toddler just wanted to swing (as every toddler should, right?) They wouldn’t let me do any of the shoveling at first, but I just waited and then knew it would come. They got tired and I finished it off. Too funny.

Moving Compost into Pallet Compost Bin by Prodigal Pieces |

You may be wondering what makes good compost so here is a basic formula to follow :

  • brown materials such as hay, straw, old leaves, untreated sawdust, cardboard, wood chips, brown paper, newspaper (avoid colored inks)
  • green materials such as table scraps, garden trimmings, grass clippings
  • animal manure (except dog, cat, or pig), coffee grinds, and clean egg shells (they add calcium)
  • avoid meats, oils, fish, dairy, bones, weeds that have gone to seed or spread by roots, diseased plants, chemically treated grass or weeds

Let sit for a few days after sprinkling with water and turn over on a weekly basis. Keep in mind, the bigger the pile the better it will compost as it needs heat built up to work. Our family of 8 only puts out 1 or two bags of trash each week, we recycle everything, and compost the rest. Leaving a small footprint on this planet is our goal.

Once we moved the compost, it was time to add the front panels to not only keep the compost in, but keep my dog out. The silly nut loves to eat compost and then come in my house and vomit all over. No more of that! ugh.

To create the front, I used my 5.5″ circular to buzz up a few scrap reclaimed oak boards for a baseboard.

Using Ryobi 5" Circular Saw to Cut Barn Wood |

Then, we built a couple of screens that were a breeze to create using the saw, the AirStrike stapler, and my drill. Just measure your opening and cut to size using 1″ x 4″ scrap or new untreated lumber.

Stapling Chicken Wire |

Drilling Holes for Screens on Compost Bin |

The screens are hung on the front of the bin using lag eye bolts and bungees for easy removal. The bottom board is wedged in with untreated 2 x 4 stakes so we can remove it to access and turn our piles. We could have added another pallet to the front and hung it on hinges. However, we wanted the kids to be able to reach over the bin to unload our kitchen scraps, and didn’t really have the level ground for a door to swing easily.

DIY Pallet Compost Bin by Prodigal Pieces |

For added safety, I cut up old tennis balls to keep anyone from getting hurt on the T post, plus recycling more.

Easy DIY Pallet Compost Bin built by Prodigal Pieces |

I must say we are delighted to have that mess cleaned up and in our pallet compost bin. Now we are able to make our time composting more efficient. We still need to move those stray raspberries back into our patch, but will wait until fall when they are done berrying.

Build a Pallet Wood Compost Bin for next to nothing. See it done by Prodigal Pieces |

You may be wondering where our compost goes? We have had a garden in our front yard for about 5 years now and it is used there and on the more than a dozen flower beds I have around our home. It doesn’t stink when done right, and is so utterly beneficial to the land.

Fresh Garden Tomatoes for Fermented Salsa by Prodigal Pieces |

Homegrown Organic Strawberries in our Mow Less Grow More Front Yard Garden by Prodigal Pieces |

Our front garden from years past…

Mow Less Grow More Front Yard Garden by Prodigal Pieces |

Backyard Flower Bed |

As for the rest of that overgrown mess beside our bins, it was yanked out and donated to a local Pay It Forward group. That included my asparagus, thousands of day lilies, yucca plants, ferns, and more. My mind was made up to start fresh and we did. I seriously almost went into the field of landscaping architect in college. Getting into the dirt and beautifying our landscape has my heart.

Kids Helping to Landscape |

I dug and dug, and dug some more, and here is what is the start of my back fence fix. A few limelight hydrangeas, some bushes to grow for privacy, and moved oodles of trees too. There will be 7 ton of gravel on my driveway soon and this mama is haulin’ stone. eep!

Flower Bed Refresh by Prodigal Pieces |

Now to get you in the DIY spirit, I am offering one of you a Ryobi AirStrike stapler. Wahoo!! Easy entry…just fill out the widget for multiple entries. GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our fire pit is next up on the hit list. You can see the story behind it here in one of my very first blog posts (oy, how time flies!). It’s looking kinda sad (see that mess we yanked out on the left?) We have some awesome things in store by the end of the month. Come on over to see the video!

Backyard Fire Pit Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

We may not live on my dream country property, but we do try to make the best use of our quarter-acre city lot. Our goal is to inspire YOU.

Consider adding a pallet compost bin to your yard. It’s healthy for the environment, healthy for you. Even if you don’t have a garden to put it on, you can share your black gold with those who do. They will grab it from you like it’s candy!

Pin and share our pallet compost bin to get others out to try DIY and get their green thumb on.

Build this Easy & Affordable Pallet Compost Bin. Tutorial, plus tips on Composting by Prodigal Pieces |

Up next, this sweet piece was listed as a sewing machine desk…do you think it is?

Antique Secretary's Desk Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

I’ll be showing you what I did with it, so sign up to sign up for my newsletter to get the details in your inbox. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

Shop Prodigal Pieces |

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More garden projects like my pallet compost bin:

Don't toss your old changing table! Turn it into a repurposed potting bench. Details at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comGarden Decor from Curbside Picket Fence by Prodigal Pieces |

214 replies on “Pallet Compost Bin DIY ~ A Must Have”

Aww…thanks, Susan! More like a crazy nut, but gotta get it done. hahaha…I just added the garden pic as I meant to before. Nothing like late night posting! 😀

That turned out so well! I’d use the new AirStrike stapler to replace my old one – it died earlier this year and I miss it so much!!

You are a super mama indeed! My compose bins are old trashcans up cycles from the city’s sanitation Dept…But that gun can come in handy for many other projects for me for sure!. ?

OH wow, I adore your compost bins and thank you for all the details!
I want to make a hanging basket with chicken wire and some old wooden slats. I also want to re-cover my boring sewing chair. Sweet!
Create on!

I have a pile of pallets & after seeing what you did with your I know what I will do with mine. Great job! I Just started amassing Ryobi tools & would love to add the stapler to my collection. I love all of your projects!

Right now In process of building a 16 x 24 ‘she’ barn shed so would be very, very handy to use for that as well as making the shelving for my shed and would also use to make other wood projects.
Thank you for this wonderful giveaway opportunity

I don’t do Facebook so unable to ‘like’ or post comment but I did visit. Like that cute little checkerboard table. :} Just adorable for my grand kids to use.

Love the use of your pallets. I have two pallet sources nearby. I. have planned to make a compost bin and after reading your post, I am even more inspired.

Love the compost bin, the re-use of pallets and making choices that are practical and Earth friendly! I pinned for future use 🙂 And those Ryobi’s tools are screaming practicality. They look so quick to set up and easy to use with, no compressor or hose. Definitely on my gift list.

OMG. I’m always in awe of your projects! I read many blogs and so many use the Ryobi tools! I have projects going all time and I’ve gone through three staplers! How I wish I had one that continues to work! Thank you for the chance to win! Yay!

Larissa, I just love your blog posts. YOur energy and creatively is amazing… I’m learning so much from you. THank you!!! I would’ve use the staple gun on reupholstere a thrifted chair I just picked up for 3.00! I can’t believe some of the items people give up…..

You are certainly a hard working mama! I would staple chicken wire to some old window frames and hang a wreath on one.

Very clever idea! You always inspire me to try new things. Would love to win the stapler as I have chairs that need reupholstered!

We recycle, but I’ve never tried to compost. I may take your recipe and try it. 🙂 I have a room divider that needs chicken wire… I only have a manual staple gun and would need something like this to tackle it!

Your family made the compost bin from pallets top notch! I also have a two-binner, but miss my three bin that I had; it’s on the list for an addition. If I had the Ryobi portable stapler, I would build a “manure sifter”. I’ve been designing this in my head, because we bought a truckload of manure and it is full of gravel (arrrg). I also want to make a window seat and saw a design with an upolstered board and a cubed shelf. I’d be a staplin’ fool if I had that! Thanks for your giveaways!

Thanks! We debated on the 3 bin, but didn’t really validate using it as we go through it so fast. Ha! Your gravel project sounds like a…fun one. haha. We had to sift our manure too. No fun.

I pinned the compost bin to encourage others to compost. (Our soil needs it and the landfill doesn’t). Also, when I do that addition to my compost bin, I’ll try your design and use a couple of pallets from our stash. (Also wanting to make your shutters!)

Love the detailed project instructions. I would use the stapler to make some craft fair shelving and organization containers/racks.

I also pinned this to my garden board but I’m not sure if my posts went through.

The compost bins are fantastic! Love using pallet wood for projects. We’ve done a PW wall, kitchen bar front, ceiling light box and backdrop wall for my husband’s train layout in the garage. So many things the air strike would help with. My hands ache when do upholstery using the hand stapler. And, the electric ones don’t seem to have enough umph. Thanks for the opportunity to win one.

Wonderful!! Thank you. Yes, this one makes my wrists and hands say Thank You! I had tended to avoid upholstery for awhile because of how hard it was to staple. No more!

I’ve never tried Ryobi anything, I see a lot of DIYer’s using this brand so it must be awesome! I’ve been talking about making a compost bin instead of using our pile. So this kind of made it look pretty simple. It’s not like it needs to be something fancy! Thanks for the idea!

Love the idea of composting. And I had no idea there were battery operated staple guns. SO much handier than lugging around a giant air compressor that has to be plugged in.

My hope is to rehab my front porch and build a fire pit. So I can’t wait to see what you do with the fire pit you have. Great work, keep posting!!

I actually already own the stricter…I use it in my business…a lot! I want another so I have one when my husband is using it. We have one compressor so it is nice to be able to use the striker when my husband has the compressor tied up.

My husband and I have been talking about building a sofa for the patio out of pallets. I can imagine that that little tool might come in quite hand for that! You guys did a great project I really wish that we had the room for something like that at our place.

Thank you so much for your inspiration! I have been working on a display for a “New” up-cycled jewelry design line and need to frame a piece of screen to finish the project. It looks like the Ryboi AirStrike Stapler is just the tool I need to get the job done! and, done would be good because I have so many more projects that I want to begin! Thanks for the chance!

I love seeing all the crafty things you do! You’re always giving me an idea or two. Thanks for the inspiration.

Love this compost area! I would first use the Airstrike to make a chicken wire screen for the top of my garden bin that my chickens keep foraging.

I love to compose and your bins turned out amazing. I would be so thrilled if I received pallets as a gift. We girls are funny that way.

Excellent project! My compost bin is a big pile! haha. Yours look so much better. Would love that stapler – I LOVE power tools!!! Have a great day!

Loved the composting idea. When we were kids, Mom always had us take stuff to her compost pile in the back of her garden. She had the healthiest plants and flowers. I unfortunately did not inherit her green thumb. Never the less , I still plan to build a planter box for my backyard and grow some herbs and tomatoes. That ryobi stapler would be a great help in getting my plan accomplished. Thanks for your posts. I look forward to them everyday.

I would love the stapler!! I keep trying to find the right project to justify buying it 😀 For now my hand stapler and my Ryobi air strike trim nailer will have to do — i mean until I win the giveaway 😉

That stapler would be wonderful! I do small upholstery projects and we also could use it when we put up the chicken wire fence to keep the chickens out of the garden! We do already compost, but we have plastic store bought bins, but love the pallet ones too!

My hubby and I use pallet wood all the time to make recycled home decor all the time. The stapler would come in handy for that as well as redoing our guest room/my library (now that our grown daughter has moved out).

Lovely! Your front yard garden is beautiful as well! I would use the stapler to reupholster my dining room chairs, boy do they need it!

I love your compost pallet project- it is giving me some great ideas. Thanks! Also I have some trim to put back up in my business, and some storage shelf projects to make. I have been wanting one of these for the longest time. With no one else having time to help me, I just do as much as I can do by myself. Thanks for your give-aways- may they bless you as much as they do whoever gets them!

I made a similar bin a number of years ago but I just perched another pallet for the door. I’m thinking I want to make a gate similar to yours. I wish I had thought to line mine with chicken wire. ?

Love the compost bin, always wanted one, now as soon as I finish the other 100 projects I have it’s on my list & the stapler would really come in handy, Thanks!!!

Love how you recycle. . . . and how you are not afraid to get your hands dirty. Your yard looks healthy and alive!!! Love t.

You are awesome to get so much done in your yard. As the granddaughter of a farmer, I’m ashamed to say that I generally have a black thumb. or it could be laziness. And I don’t have the energy I once had. Anything that succeeds in our yard has to thrive on neglect–like our dwarf lemon that produces like it doesn’t know it’s a dwarf.

I recently discovered you website and I am inspired. I would use the stapler on several projects. It would make my life a lot easier, that’s for sure. Love the things I read today.

Love following you and love your project ideas. You are an amazing mom, blogger and teacher to us who follow you.
Thank you, Hugs, Terri

I am surprised you dug out the asparagus as it takes 2 or 3 years (sometimes more) to get a good large bed established. Why didn’t you just move it to another location? Perhaps your family doesn’t really like it?

That’s the thing…it wasn’t thriving and maybe got 3 stalks at best after many years. I don’t have the place to put it and gave it to someone who did. We love asparagus.

I do really enjoy seeing how you repurpose/refresh furniture and other ‘castoffs.’ It’s wonderful your kids are following in your footsteps in that area.

So many projects, so little time. I do not know how you do all you do! It’s amazing. That stapler sure would be wonderful to win, as I now just a hand stapler and its not easy. LOVE the pallet shutters. It is next on my list, whenever that will be!

I would use it to put chicken wire in an old hutch that I have waiting for a makeover. Thanks for the giveaway. Loved your ideas and style. Thanks again.

First of all, yes i love your project..always do…..I want one of those staplers so bad, I have so many projects to do.

Wow, what a job! Your yard is looking so good, and that compost bin… wonderful! One of my boys is going to want to do this.
I love a good power stapler! We’re remaking a too-small attached garage into an entryway, so the tools are getting a workout!!! Adding to the tool collection is one of the best parts of a job like this, haha!
THAT is a LOT of stone! You all are going to have some sore arms around your place! Praying it goes quick and easy, with no injuries! : )

The compost bins look fantastic! I would use the stapler to reupholster a few things around the house and to build chicken wire planters. I love that your entire family gets involved!

Love the compost bins! I could really use the air strike stapler for doing those upholstery projects that seem to trip me up!

I may just have to make one of these. Our compost pile is just a pile that I never seem to get around to turning. Maybe this will inspire me.

Wow! Love your compost bin. I just got a pass along compost tumbler which is really cool but I like how yours can be customized to fit your needs! Plus, you get to reuse pallets! Win, win!
Thanks for the chance to win the AirStrike! I love my Ryobi tools!

Wow, another great project Larissa! A great use of pallets and boy oh boy the photos of your veggie garden and flower beds certainly speak volumes about the quality of your black gold!!! Thank you for sharing

First of all, I love your blog!!!!! So inspirational. I live in an apartment, but do have a patio..6 x 10. Would like to create a privacy screen. Also, have always wanted to have a worm farm! So I could use the AirStryke for that, too. Have plenty of time to do projects, as I’m retired. uh, oh, don’t know how to “pin”!!!!

Larissa, you and the kids did a terrific job on the compost bin! I’m seriously impressed and hope you would come to my home and help me build one! 🙂 I’m nearly 70 and am getting to the point where some things need to be easier, ya know? So that staple gun would be fantastic to have to help me remain my old independent self and accomplish redoing my garage shelves, making another compost bin, and upholstering the little stools and kids chairs I sell. Many blessings to you and your family!

Larissa, I just adore your ingenuity! You are a true inspiration to all of us gals who prefer #toolsoverjewels! If I were to win a Ryobi AirStrike Stapler, my first project with it would be an earring display made from a picture frame and chicken wire.

I enjoy your creativity! Thanks for sharing your ideas. I would use the stapler to cover cornice boards and a headboard.

Love your project and would love to win this nailer for board and batten I would love to install in my bathroom.

I linked to this page from the roadside find on the headboard. I was so impressed with that!
We grew up composting and I still do it. Can’t tell you how many vegetables I’ve grown from throwing out something. Great post.

This is such a fabulous idea! I have a small compost bin in my backyard made from a recycled garbage can, since it is only me here the small size is perfect. Good luck with all of that gravel I just know your space will look amazing once all the heavy work is done 🙂

I would like to try this project since we have a lot of pallets and no use for them. Maybe we could make a trellis for our garden too.

Hope your compost bin wood pallets had HT markings for heat treated rather than any other which often are sprayed with a fungicide when it carries citrus from another stae.
Been wanting one of those staples to re-upholster a footstool and a couch, among other things !

I love reading your blog! Lots of info and inspiration for another diyer and mom of a large family! I’ve seen your projects and the stapler looks like it’s SO handy! I’d use it on projects around the house.

I absolutely LOVE your ideas. I look forward to all your posts. A new tool for me is like candy to a kid! I have many projects in mind and this would make it easier to get done.

I currently have a compost pile at the edge of our woods. Would love to have a bin like yours.
I would use the stapler for upcycled craft projects.

I love seeing your projects…you make them seem so do-able :). First on my list would be to fix my couch cover, then I’d plan a fun new project.

Looks nice. I have been thinking about making doors for my shed using some pallet wood this would work good for that.

What a great idea for a compost bin. If I won the Ryobi I’d make a compost bin similar to the one you made.

well, at first i thought i would make the compost bin but then i saw the shutters you made and then when i visited your etsy shop my mind really went into overdrive with possibilities. You are sooo creative and an inspiration. So yes it is safe to assume with one of those staplers in my hand i would be VERY busy and happy : ))

I have my eye on a headboard I would like to complete and the stapler would be great! Love your blog—makes me believe I can do anything! Your instruction and pics are great!

I love your #toolsoverjewels motto! This mega staple gun would be perfect to tack the upholstery under fabric on our mattress. We had a cat that would cling to it like he was avoiding lava! We also have some #newtome pieces that need tacking; the couch lining, and a twin mattress (if I can get the dog smell out of it)… Also, love that you get as many kids involved in your projects as possible. It might add a bit of time, or make the work go faster! That’s real life.

I have been wanting to make a compost bin for my daughter. This would be a great use for the stapler. How do you know if pallets are safe. I have heard that some may have toxic chemicals on them.

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