Building an Affortable Worm Bin

Building your own vermicompost bin (AKA worm bin) is pretty simple. A lot of beginners mistakenly believe you have to spend a lot of money to get a decent worm bin. The honest truth is that for less than $20 you can come up with a nifty little bin that can hold 1-2lbs of composting worms!

Here is youtube video I made showing how I built the worm bin (or read on below):

They can process your food/paper waste and produce valuable compost for gardens and house plants. And all this can be accomplished using common household materials. To start you will need 2 rubber maid-type bins or 18 gallon totes, some window screen (optional), glue, and a drill (see items below).

Items needed to start

1. Drilling drainage holes: The first step is to drill holes in the
bottom of ONE of the bins. The purpose of these holes is to allow any
extra liquid to drain out the bottom of the bins. This prevents
anaerobic conditions forming which can kill your worms. I use a 1/8
inch bit to drill the holes. This allows the moisture to seep out and
is still small enough to discourage too many worms from wiggling
through. The second bin will be used to capture this excess liquid so
you can dispose of it. Note: when drilling holes remember to do so in the lowest point of the bin. This is where the liquid is going to pool up.

2. Cutting/drilling ventilation hole:
Next mark the hole you are going to cut out from the top of one lid.
This hole is for ventillation purposes. It allows the oxygen to enter
the bin and allow the materials to decompose aerobically (with
oxygen). This prevents the bin from smelling.

I like to use a rectangular square with dimensions of 3×4 inches in
the lid. I prefer placing the hole on the top so that light can come
through into the bin. Worms don’t have eyes, but they have photo
receptor cells on their skin. They do not like light at all. So you
can use the light coming in through the top of the bin to keep them
inside. Just place some moist newspaper or cardboard on the top of
your bedding to allow worms to come to the surface to eat.

Anyhow, I use a small object to trace around to create the lines. I then cut the hole using a dremel tool. You could use a box cutter knife if you
prefer….or you could avoid this hole all together by drilling holes
in the lid and/or the top side of the bins. Either way is fine as long
as you permit oxygen to enter.

3. Glue screen in place (only needed if using a hole in lid):
Now glue a piece of screen in place over the hole. This keeps flies
and other unwanted pests out. You can get screen from old broken
window screens or hardware store. But other substitutes include mesh
from citrus bags, cloth swathes, etc. Whichever material you use, cut
it bigger than the hole so that there is a decent overhang. This
allows enough area for the glue to be applied.

4. Assemble bin: Now you are ready to assemble everything. Place the
bin with the holes inside the other bin. Note: you may want to add
some small blocks of wood or rocks to the bottom. These act as spacers
and keep the bins from tightly sealing together. This allows the
liquid to breath (prevents stinky smell) and prevents you from having
to wrestle the bins to separate them.

Now you are read to go with your worm bins! You just need some bedding
and worms. We will cover this in another blog entry though! Thanks and
I hope this helps.

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2 Responses to Building an Affortable Worm Bin

  1. Erin says:

    Thanks for the advice! I hope to get started this week.

  2. Perry Anderson says:

    This is the best video I’ve seen so far,I have been wanting to make one and been looking at other video’s on u tube.Some of the people drill holes on the sides above where worms will be and i think the worms would escape through these holes,the screen method u use is awesome and it will give the worms enough ventilation,thank you so much,am buying materials today