Wire Compost Bin: A Cheap Compost Bin Option

How to Make a Cheap Wire Compost Bin

This tutorial shows you how to make a circular compost bin out of wire (or mesh) and rebar  (or any sturdy metal rod/post). The finished size of this wire compost bin design is 3-4 ft diameter, 3-4 ft tall, as this is the general consensus on ideal size for a compost pile. This cheap compost bin can be made for free if you use salvaged posts , wire, and scrap lumber. Worst case cost is around $20 if you have to buy the rebar and wire. Besides being cheap to build, another nice thing about wire compost bins made this  way is that they can be disassembled and moved easily. It’s so easy that some people disassemble their bin routinely from around their existing compost pile and then rebuild it right next to it before turning their pile back into it for aeration.

Materials Needed:

  • 3 sections rebar, or other metal post material; 4-5 ft long
  • 10-12 ft of wire fencing (hardware cloth is ideal, chicken wire and rabbit fence can also be made to work)
  • scrap lumber approx 4 ft long, 2-3 inches wide
  • staple gun and staples (sufficiently long for wood)
  • 6 zipties
  • several used cardboard boxes (medium to large size)


Select a space that is approximately 4 ft by 4ft, relatively flat, and where your compost pile will have contact with soil (so that worms can find and enter your pile!) You want the area to be shaded if you live in a dry climate, to make it easier to keep your pile moist. It’s also handy to locate your pile conveniently close to your back or kitchen door, since that’s where you generate your kitchen waste.


Drive your rebar into the ground in a triangular pattern. Depending on the ground, drive them deep enough so that they offer sturdy support; usually 12 – 18 inches deep will do the trick.

Step 3 INSTALL WIRE (or mesh) and GATE

Position your wire section around the outside of the rebar posts with the two ends meeting at the post you have designated as one of your “gate” posts. Decide which end of the fencing/wire will serve as your opening gate section of wire. Secure the non-gate end to the rebar post by bending loose wire ends around it tightly and/or using zip ties. Staple the gate end of your wire to a strip of wood (most any scrap wood of the correct length will do). Lay the gate “post” against the inside of the bin to “close” the gate. Now secure the wire to the other posts using the zipties at top and bottom.


Flatten several used cardboard boxes – ideally they will be the same length on one side as the height of your bin. Position them around the inside of your bin to line it. They don’t have to meet perfectly or be connected since once you fill the bin, the pile will keep ‘shape’ them and they will stay in place sufficiently. The cardboard will eventually degrade (you’ll probably have to replace it You could opt to line the outside of the bin with your cardboard, but then you’d have to come up with a way to connect your cardboard pieces together and keep them from falling away from your wire. Either way, the cardboard lining keeps ingredients from your compost pile from falling out through the holes in your wire bin (which is more of an issue if you are using fencing with large holes), and also serves to help your pile retain moisture (which is especially important in dry climates). Some people also wrap the outside of their bin with black plastic trash bags or a tarp to help retain moisture and heat. It is also helpful to cover the top of your pile either with a plastic bag, tarp, piece of plywood, or old piece of carpet (though if you are trying to be organic/chemical free, consider that there is potential for chemicals to leach from carpet). The lid is a deterrent to scavenging pests, and further serves to retain moisture.

VOILA! Your cheap wire compost bin is ready. Now it’s time to build your compost pile, or fill your bin with leaves to make leaf mold!

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