There’s a lot of buzz around upcycling and using wooden pallets these days. People are making headboards for their beds, coffee tables, spice racks, vertical herb gardens. It’s all pretty cool. So, one day about a month ago, my husband brought me 5 beautiful, mismatched pallets. Oh, what a good man… And what to build? I decided that since I am out in the garden so often and our eenie-weenie barrel composter was nearly full, we’d build a pallet compost container. This new compost is considerably sturdy, triple the size of the barrel, and it only cost us about $6.00 out of pocket to make (we had some of the hardware on hand already). So, if you are interested in building one of these boxes for yourselves, follow along below. Here’s the supply list:
- 5 wooden pallets (the closer in size the better)
- 1 2″ L bracket (optional)
- 10-15 1″ L brackets
- 1″ and 2″ wood screws
- 2 sturdy hinges
- 1 hook eye door latch
- Cordless or electric drill
- Hand saw or electric Sawzall
We started by determining which pallet was going to be our base. Once we decided, we centered and attached the back panel with the 2″ L bracket and 2 1″ L brackets. Then, we selected the two pallets that were most similar in size, and used them as the side walls. We attached the sidewalls to the back wall and the bottom of the sidewalls to the base, all with the 1′ L brackets.
Those are my husband’s hands. He’ll be so excited that he’s famous now. Well, his hands, at least. Ahem. Then, we made the front door. We wanted to create a way to open the front door of the bin to both mix and dig out the compost, so we decided to cut the front panel into two pieces. Using my man’s Sawzall (you could also use a handsaw as not all men and women are as power-tool-hungry as we are), we looked for the most obvious and clean cut, and found that it was about 1/3 of the way up the pallet. This allowed us the ability to fix the bottom 1/3 piece in place and allow the top 2/3 piece to open with the hinges. We attached the bottom panel with the 1″ L brackets to both the sides and the base.
Then, we attached the top piece with the two hinges on the right side of the pallet. To ensure that the door opened smoothly, we temporarily placed a thin piece of wood between the bottom and the top pieces before screwing the hinges into place. That way the door wouldn’t rub on the bottom piece. After the door was in place, we attached the hook eye latch, and we were done!Ironically, right about the time we were finishing up our bin, our neighbor was trimming some brush in his front yard. As he started throwing the trimmings into the garbage, I called out, “Wait! Don’t throw them away! I’ll take those for my compost!” Collecting my neighbors’ brush! What’s next? Providing buckets to my friends so they can put their fruit scraps in them? If you know the feeling, then you are probably a compost whacko like me.I should mention that it’s pretty important to find out a little bit about your pallets. Were they used to haul chemicals? If so, they are not good for building a compost or anything else that has to do with your garden. But if they were used to haul things that are non-toxic, then they are fine. Finding out this information can be a little tricky, but your chances of getting safe pallets to use are better if you get them at places like nurseries and grocery stores.
Okay, enough of the safety talk. Happy gardening and happy composting!