Shower Door Compost Bin

An Organic Gardening reader shares how to make a compost bin using a recycyled shower door.

By Applewhite Minyard

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A couple of years ago, Al Urie and his wife, Anita, remodeled their bathroom and removed their sliding glass shower doors. They didn't want to throw them away, so they decided to make compost bins using them as the covers. The shower doors are 56 by 29 inches and the width and length of the bins are based on those dimensions. For an illustrated drawing of the completed project (including dimensions) click here.

You will need (for each bin):

  • Three 12-foot untreated 2-by-12 boards
  • 16-penny nails
  • Two 52 ½-inch 2-by-4s
  • One 44-by-55 ½-inch piece of sheet metal (approx.)
  • Two 34-by-42 ½-inch pieces of 38-inch plywood
  • One 16-by-55 ½-inch piece of plywood
  • Two 25-by-26-inch pieces of plywood
  • 16-penny nails
  • Composite shingles
  • Old shower door
  • Seven hinges with screws
  • Handle with screws
  • Hook and eye
  • Small sliding bolt
  • Composite shingles
  • Wood preservative paint

1. Cut each of the 2-by-12s into three lengths: two at 44 inches and one at 52 ½.

2. To make the bottom section of the bin, lay the lengths of 2-by-12 on a flat surface and nail a 44-inch board to each end of a 52 ½-inch board with 16-penny nails, creating a U shape. Repeat for the center section.

3. To make the top section of the bin, you will need to cut the remaining two 44-inch lengths at a diagonal. Make a mark on one end of the board 2 inches from the edge. Draw a 29 ½-inch diagonal to the opposite edge of the board and cut along this line. This is where the shower door will rest. Connect the cut boards to the remaining 52 ½-inch board in a U configuration.

4. To stabilize the bottom section of the bin and to create a door stop, nail a 52 ½-inch 2-by-4 along the bottom front to create a box shape. Turn the box upside down and nail on the sheet metal. Turn it right side up with the sheet metal against the ground to make the foundation of the bin.

5. Add the center section and then the top section with the diagonal cuts facing up.

6. Take the two 34-by-42 ½-inch pieces of plywood and cut a diagonal along the length to match the diagonal of the top section of the bin. Place the plywood pieces against the interior sides of the assembled bin. Nail the plywood in place to reinforce and connect the three sections.

7. To make the bin's roof, take the other 2-by-4 and nail it to the top where the diagonal side cut ends to create a frame. Nail the 16-by-55 ½-inch piece of plywood on top of the frame and cover with the composite shingles.

8. To install the shower door, screw three hinges along one edge and add a handle to the opposite edge. Attach the hinged door to the top of the bin.

9. The last thing to do is to make the front doors. Take the two remaining pieces of plywood, add two hinges to each 25-inch side, and attach the doors to the bin. You may want to reinforce the plywood on the inside with a frame made from 2-by-4s. Use a hook and eye to connect one door to the bottom of the bin and secure the second door to the first with a small sliding bolt.

10. Paint the outside with a wood preservative paint. Don't paint the inside. Drill holes in the sides and bottom of the bin to allow for air circulation and drainage.

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