How to Build a Wooden Pallet Compost Bin in 6 Easy Steps


Making a compost bin for your yard is much easier than you think. This Wooden Pallet Compost Bin goes together in a few hours with 6 easy steps and is less than half the cost of lumber.
We’ve been wanting to add a composting bin to our backyard for the last couple of years. Several times we looked at compost bin plans and didn’t really see what we wanted. When we were discussing our plans to landscape the back yard, we didn’t want to wait any longer to have a compost bin. So we decided to make a compost bin using wooden pallets.

Since we knew this wooden pallet compost bin would be visible from about any area of our backyard we started by applying a couple coats of exterior wood stain. We left one side unstained, the side most likely to come in constant contact with the compost.
We finished off the Wooden Pallet Compost Bin by stapling the plastic hardware cloth to the inside of the bin. This will keep all of the yard waste and food scraps inside the compost bin and should make the pallets last longer.
Now let’s talk about how we made it possible to plant flowers in the wooden pallet compost bin. It’s very simple to do. 1. Cut your garden burlap into 2 feet lengths, then cut to the width of the openings in the ends of the pallets. 2. Stuff the burlap pieces down into the pallet and secure the ends using the staple gun and staples. 3. Fill the spaces with the Potting Mix and plant with your favorite flowers.
We used pansies, it’s still too early to plant annuals here in Indiana, and pansies are very hardy.
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

20 Easy Concrete Projects You Absolutely CAN Do!
These Upcycling Ideas Will Blow You Away!
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
13 Essential Repair Tricks That Everyone Needs To Know
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
17 DIY-Inspiring Kitchen Backsplashes
30 Ways To Use Old Jeans For Brilliant Craft Ideas
16 Creative Ways To Upcycle Pallets
30 Reasons We Can’t Stop Buying Michaels Storage Crates
31 Space Saving Storage Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
31 Super Cute & Easy DIY Ideas For Your Kitchen
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
31 Creative Garden Features Perfect For Summer
Browse Through These Dream Bedrooms & Find Your Favorite!
30 Creative Ways To Repurpose Baking Pans
Hoosier Homemade

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Go

Have a question about this project?

14 questions
  • Beth
    on Apr 17, 2016

    Hi, What a great idea. A pretty compost bin! I was wondering though, do you have problems with bears in your area? We are in the mountains of upstate NY and I actually had a black bear open the door to my unlocked car to get a peanut butter sandwich that I left in there accidentally. Do you think this would withstand a hungry bear? Thanks, Beth

    • Ana Alvarez
      on Apr 17, 2016

      Not a chance! You'd need a metal bin with a lid.

    • Hoosier Homemade
      on Apr 27, 2016

      No we don't have bears in NW Indiana. I agree with Ana, if you have them, I would suggest something more sturdy.

  • Anita DePaul
    on Apr 17, 2016

    you said you put the plastic on the inside but the picture looks like u put it on the back side

    • Rin
      on Apr 18, 2016

      inside of the square, not inside the little "pockets" of the palet

    • Hoosier Homemade
      on Apr 27, 2016

      Hi Anita, the plastic is on the inside, all the way around.

    • Rin
      on Apr 28, 2016

      it is "plastic hardware cloth", not regular Plastic...

    • Joni Kinsey
      on May 2, 2016

      Where do you get plastic hardware cloth

    • 16999903
      on Sep 16, 2018

      Hi Joni.....any hardware store....Lowe's, HD. ACE. It should be near the paint department. It's basically a thicker more durable plastic drop cloth.

  • Maggs
    on Apr 18, 2016

    Have you created a lid of some sort? To deter critters? It's a great use of pallets. I have a mind to build raised veggie gardens using pallets; your post has definitely encouraged me to proceed. The little flowerbeds along the edges are a great idea; how long does the burlap last under those conditions ? Is it treated in some way? Thanks so much for the inspiration !

    • Hoosier Homemade
      on Apr 27, 2016

      Hi there, we did not create a lid. The burlap will definitely deteriorate over time. We are planning to re-do the burlap and re-plant each spring.

    • Claire Hardy
      on May 2, 2016

      If you only compost green matter, with no meat or bones, critters should not be an issue.

    • Claire Hardy
      on May 2, 2016

      If you only compost green matter, with no meat or bones, critters should not be an issue.

    • Martha Clouse
      on Sep 3, 2016

      We composted kitchen waste, peelings, vegetable parts, coffee grounds and the racoons kept coming by for the midnight buffet until we made a compost bin out of a 33 gallon trash bin with a flat lid that we kept a cinderblock on. once it was full of leaves, green matter and kitchen scraps it was too heavy for them to knock over and they couldn't lift the cinderblock. once the scraps have decomposed, they would leave it alone.

    • Martha Clouse
      on Sep 3, 2016

      We used this one for kitchen scraps, and our large open topped bin for everything else.

    • T
      on Apr 4, 2017

      If you use them for a garden make sure they are the ones not treated with formaldehyde or other chemicals. It is usually marked on the pallet. Try your beer distributor. They usually have a ton of them.
    • Nancy Flemming
      on May 2, 2017

      Looks wonderful, love the pansies around the top.
      for anyone else wanting to do this use heat treated pallets, they usually have HT stamped on them.
  • Valerie Garbini Estes
    on Mar 4, 2017

    Where is the best place to get pallets? I used to see them stacked at businesses for pickup but haven't seen any for sometime. Too make people coming up with such good uses I guess. (I'm in Olympia not Seattle)

    • Karl Micheal Kimbrel
      on Apr 10, 2017

      Valerie...the way I have gotten pallets is to find a business with them stacked out by their shipping/receiving doors and area and then go into the business or call them. I always make a visit in person, ask for the person in charge of Shipping/Receiving and after I introduce myself, I ask them if they reuse their skids/pallets or do they allow people to come and take them for use. I also let them know what I plan on doing with them. If they allow you to get the skids/pallets, check to see if you can come when they are closed or if you need to get them when they are at the business. I also get an e-mail address and will send a conversation recap in an e-mail to them and ask that they please send back their okay and confirmation that I can get the skids. I have never had anyone refuse to do that especially if you explain you would have something to show to the police should they come by and question your taking them. Also, only take or use HT marked (Heat Treated) skids/pallets. This way you are not introducing chemicals into your project. Good luck with your search for skids/pallets. Karl Micheal
    • Lorraine Smith
      on May 2, 2017

      You might check Craig's List under "free." There are many places looking to give them away.
    • PRESIDENTSAC
      on May 2, 2017

      Recently CraigsLIst in Atlanta had 10-15 companies each giving a few away.
    • 16999903
      on Sep 16, 2018

      Hi Valerie! Are you on Facebook? You might want to request "wooden pallets" on Facebook Marketplace? FB will match you up with other people in your area wanting to exchange or sell or even give away items that you might need. It's nice because you can meet in a public place and puts you in control.

  • Rick Marquardt
    on Apr 5, 2017

    How did you join the pallets
  • Chris
    on Apr 29, 2017

    Pondering a compost bin (have never done this). However heard it should be turned etc. do you do any rotating with yours? Thank u
    • Rosanne
      on May 3, 2017

      since the door opens, you can get a pitchfork into the pile and turn it over

    • DORLIS
      on May 3, 2017

      If you live in a rural area, racoons, squirrles etc will do it for you.
    • Danielle Odin
      on May 3, 2017

      If you add earthworms, they will not only turn it for you but add to the richness of you compost.
  • Sue Speed
    on May 2, 2017

    How do you get the compost out from the bottom once it has decomposed?
    • Linda Sikut
      on May 2, 2017

      Their blog shows how they made a door to open on one side. You can the hooks on this page.
    • Hoosier Homemade
      on May 2, 2017

      Yes Linda is correct. We made a door on it.
    • Wink
      on May 3, 2017

      Can you maybe cut the one pallet in half and make the bottom part into a door?
    • Ann dowdy
      on Jun 10, 2017

      I don't understand this question!!!
  • Val
    on May 8, 2017

    Do you have a decently large sized yard? My yard is what one might call the size of a postage stamp and I worry the compost might smell bad and attract animals.
    • Hoosier Homemade
      on May 8, 2017

      Our yard is not big, but not super small either.
    • Wendy Mills
      on Jun 6, 2017

      We have a small city yard and a compost pile behind the garage (not as pretty as this). We've never had an odor problem and just an occasional squirrel or possum. I add fresh clippings and veg. garbage to one side and mix with a bit of older compost from the opposite side — one side goes up while the other goes down. When I'm ready to switch sides, I have good compost to bag or use.
    • Landsharkinnc
      on Jun 6, 2017

      Never put animal by products in a compost pile... Otherwise there should be no objectionable odor at all..egg shell can be used, but no meat, bone, dairy
    • Devorah Miriaam Cohen
      on Jan 27, 2018

      Compost bins need side air. Palates are ideal for this. Instead of plastic on I insides I'd use wire mesh. For access, one side appears to be open or make it low for regular mixing and getting the compost out when it's done. I'm suspecting the creators are newbies and will refine their bin over time. A horizontal or angled mesh to separate added new ingredient Browns and Greens apart from finished compost to let sift through is suggested.
    • Judy
      on Aug 25, 2018

      Hi. What do you mean by angled mesh for separating...?

    • DORLIS
      on Aug 25, 2018

      to avoid that problem, do not compost meats and bones.

  • Stacy Brandon
    on Jun 25, 2017

    Great project. Please add something on the importance of at least seeking, if not discovering, the origin of one's pallets. Read a piece recently on markings/stamps to look for, as some are laced with very harsh chemicals. Safety first! Thanks
    • Mkl
      on Aug 25, 2018

      Yes, some are coated with a hazardous substance.

  • Sha5769090
    on Jul 22, 2017

    The addition of plantings is fun and attractive. There is no information about how the sides are attached to one another. Did you use angle irons? Are there posts at the corners? Also, is the door on hinges or do you simply remove it to turn the compost or to take it out? Either way, it would seem to be a very heavy job.
  • Suz
    on Aug 25, 2018

    So if you have a garden planted on top, how do you put the compost in?

    • VidaDos
      on Aug 25, 2018

      Take a closer look at the 4-photo collage, where she's using the staple gun. She creates a sling with the burlap, utilizing the approx 4" space between the tops and bottoms of the pallets. Once planted, the flowers make a border along three sides of the compost pen. Another couple of pictures, not so close up, might have been helpful to get a better view of her project.

    • Kathy Haines Cramer
      on Aug 26, 2018

      She opens the door... gate...

    • Pam Kent
      on Feb 16, 2019

      Could you use fences and do the same thing?


  • Joan Stanley
    on Aug 28, 2018

    Where do you find such nice palates!? The only ones I ever see are half rotten, missing or broken boards, never evenly spaced.

    Good ones are only on trucks heading south to Mexico.

    • Debi
      on Aug 28, 2018

      Not sure where you live but in Arizona they have Pallet Companies where you can purchase them for about 5 - 10$ each.

    • Brenda Monzon
      on Feb 16, 2019

      Home Depot always sets their pallets to the side. Ask a manager if you can collect them.

    • John
      on Feb 16, 2019

      Try going to a roofing place and ask them for pallets

    • Rudy
      on Feb 17, 2019

      You can get pallets at Michael’s

      and Home Depot

    • Tyler
      on Mar 2, 2019

      I have found some really good ones near new construction sites. If I see them laying around, I just stop

      and ask if I can take them. I’ve never had anyone tell me “no”, they are always happy to be rid of them!

    • Tyler
      on Mar 2, 2019

      Joan, I’ve had great luck finding nice pallets near new home construction sites. I always ask if I can take them before I do, and have never been told “no”.

    • LisaAnn Gill Hamilton
      on Aug 31, 2019

      😂 TOO FUNNY But true!

    • Ellen Morrison Kelley
      on Sep 1, 2019

      If you get pallets from grocery stores those are usually nicer and food safe. There is a company in my town that recycles pallets. You can get nice pallets there of any size you might want.

  • Monica
    on Sep 1, 2018

    how do you keep the snakes out..hubby will nit alliw compost..we fight snakes enough..he sats he will nit build them a home..nest..

    • Bridgette Peters
      on Sep 1, 2018

      Have y’all tried using moth balls? This might help

    • Monica
      on Sep 6, 2018

      yep..we use tons of moth balls..it helps some..i guess..seeing how even with moth balls we have dealt with several snakes anyway..up close, near the driveway..under carport..

    • For many years, I pour line of powdered sulfer (gardening ctr, Kings, Tractor Sply) in permiter around area AFTER ensuring no snakes within... Reapply after rains. No Rattlers, Kings, etc near me and mine. Let the Gators in central Florida have them all! Except the blues... Those I like, trained all of my dogs to leave them alone. When they come back in strength, won't need the sulfer as much.

      Hope this works as well for you n yours!

    • Elizabeth
      on Aug 31, 2019

      Put moth balls around the outside

  • Jp
    on Feb 16, 2019

    ho Do you keep it standing upright without falling over? Did you use posts or hinges? I’ve tried pallets and nail them but they eventually fall over.

    • Cheryl Bruner
      on Feb 16, 2019

      Placing T-posts, then sliding the pallet over them will stabilize three sides of the bin.. ( the T-post will actually be between the two " layers" of the pallets). My son - in- law built a whole pig pen like this for their rescue pot belly 🐖.

Join the conversation

2 of 92 comments
  • Angela Brandon
    on Aug 25, 2019

    Looks so nice👍🏻

  • Diana
    on Aug 31, 2019

    Yes I definitely want to make this my next project for the yard. Would like to also make one similar to this to store & hide my husbands can and aluminum collecting. Beautiful idea. Thank you for sharing!🙂

Your comment...