How to build a vermicomposter for the home

This is a gorgeous wooden vermicomposter that you can make for your home. This particular vermicomposter was designed by Chris Bradley of Sacred Resource in the Rocky Mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It's assembled from sustainably-harvested beetle-kill pine, which gives the wood a beautiful gray-blue tone throughout. 🌿

If you'd like to purchase Chris's vermicomposter creations, you can do so here. Otherwise this is a quick DIY on how to create a three-tier vermicomposter bin for your home. 


Tools

  • all natural walnut oil
  • clean old rag
  • For wooden lid: 16"w x 16"l and 3/4" thickness,
  • 2"w x 14"l wooden piece for handle,
  • five (5) screws
  • For sides: two (2) 5 1/2" x 16" pieces of wood
  • For base rails: two (2) 2 5/8" x 14 1/2" pieces of wood,
  • Eight (8) 2" wood screws
  • For bins: six (6) wooden sides 4" x 16" with sides at 15° angles,
  • six (6) wooden ends 4" x 14 1/2" with sides at 15° angles,
  • three (3) 13 1/2" x 13 1/2" 1/4" galvanized screens,
  • 24 2" wood screws
  • 24 3/4" washer head screws
  • electric drill
  • drill bits
  • rectangular 13"w x 18"l x 2 1/2" h aluminum baking pan

Directions

  1. One you have all the wooden pieces cut to size, wipe them down with the oil. This adds a layer of protection from the wetness inside the vermicomposter.
  2. Assemble the lid by placing the handle in the center and screw the handle in. This will make it easier to open and close the container.
  3. Next assemble the base. Use the two 5 1/2" x 16" pieces of wood and assemble them to the two 2 5/8" x 14 1/2" pieces. Use the 2" screws to attach the sides to the rails.
  4. Assemble each bin next with two sides and two ends. Use eight 2" screws to attach the sides to the end. Do that for each of your bins.
  5. Next, you'll want to add the screen to the bin. After assembling the bins, flip them upside-down and center the screen as much as possible to the base of the bins and begin to start 3/4" washer head screws in each hole. Tighten all screws pulling the screen tight as you go along.
  6. Once that is finished, fine an appropriate place to put your worm bin and place the base down. Next add one of the bins on top of the base and then place the top on. Slide the baking tray underneath. This will serve as a catchment tray for any moisture, soil or worms that fall out.  

Once you get your worms, be sure to have the appropriate bedding in the worm bin before you place them in, which can comprise of some potting soil and wet, shredded newspaper or brown paper bag bedding. Begin adding a little bit of organic waste to the bin and spray the bin with filtered water to keep moist, as necessary. 

If your worms are productive, you can have good soil in around 6 weeks time. When your bottom bin is getting pretty full, add a new bin on top. That screen of the empty bin should be resting on the filled bin. Add a little more soil and moist bedding and then sprinkle in some more food. Close the lid. The worms should move from the bottom bin towards the top, as they begin to eat. Once you feel as if most if not all of the worms are in the top bin, you can remove the bottom bin and collect your soil. There may be some worms left in the base, so you can pick them out and add them to the new bin in order to process the compost.

My lovely father is acting as hand model to help assemble the base of the vermicomposter. Place the side and rail top edge on a flat surface like here for ease in assembling. 

My lovely father is acting as hand model to help assemble the base of the vermicomposter. Place the side and rail top edge on a flat surface like here for ease in assembling. 

The bins are tapered at 15° angles, so they operate a little like an upside down Mayan temple. Make sure the sides of the bin are secured with 2" wood screws. 

The bins are tapered at 15° angles, so they operate a little like an upside down Mayan temple. Make sure the sides of the bin are secured with 2" wood screws. 

Lining up the sides on a flat surface will ensure that you secure the vermicomposter correctly. 

Lining up the sides on a flat surface will ensure that you secure the vermicomposter correctly. 

My dad holds up the near-finished bin right before he attaches the galvanized wire, which will be used to hold the compost while still allowing the worms to move freely between the bin. 

My dad holds up the near-finished bin right before he attaches the galvanized wire, which will be used to hold the compost while still allowing the worms to move freely between the bin. 

Here my dad attaches the galvanized wire to the base of the bin. You'll want to make sure the wire is taught and secure, so pull it as you screw it into the bin. This is where two people can come in handy!

Here my dad attaches the galvanized wire to the base of the bin. You'll want to make sure the wire is taught and secure, so pull it as you screw it into the bin. This is where two people can come in handy!

Here's the finished bin, with the wood ends, sides, and the wire. You can make as many of these bins as you would like and create a "worm condo". 

Here's the finished bin, with the wood ends, sides, and the wire. You can make as many of these bins as you would like and create a "worm condo". 

This is what my vermicomposter looks like just a month or so after use. In another couple weeks I'll likely add a second bin to the top of this. Be sure to always close the lid of your vermicomposter. Worms like to be in a dark environment and the lid helps to keep out insects, like fruit flies, which are harmless, but can be pesky. 

This is what my vermicomposter looks like just a month or so after use. In another couple weeks I'll likely add a second bin to the top of this. Be sure to always close the lid of your vermicomposter. Worms like to be in a dark environment and the lid helps to keep out insects, like fruit flies, which are harmless, but can be pesky.