There are several different options available if you are planning on getting a composter barrel for your home. While the easiest option is just to purchase a barrel, this is not always necessary depending on the type of composting you are planning on doing.
The ideal situation for a homemade composter barrel is that you are going to do the turning by hand, and you do not have a lot of room for a larger compost heap. Essentially, if you are looking for a relatively simple homemade composter barrel, then you should be able to make one on your own. However, if you are looking for a more complicated model, then you are probably better off purchasing one.
Requires Little Work to Make Composters
The easiest type of homemade composter barrel is more or less just a barrel. These types of homemade composters are going to be better for you if you are planning to make compost out of lawn clippings or fallen leaves. The reason for this is that there will not be a top to the barrel, so animals will not have any trouble getting to food scraps that might be in the barrel.
The way that you make a composter out of a regular barrel is just to cut off both ends so that you basically have a hollow tube. Then, poke holes in the barrel so that gasses from the decomposing material can escape. The hardest part of using this homemade composter barrel will come when you need to turn the compost, however, it is also relatively fool proof. Just lift off the barrel and move it to a new location. The compost will be turned when you shovel it back into the new composter location.
Or Make Turning Composters
While it will be more difficult to make, you can also make a homemade composter barrel that is very similar to the commercial barrels on the market. If this is your first time making a composter barrel, you will probably find that the result takes a bit longer than a commercial composter would. However, with time and practice, you should be able to make a barrel that will take about the same amount of time, roughly 2-3 weeks.
There are several different designs for this kind of homemade composter barrel, and you should be able to find instructions on how to make them without too much trouble. Just keep in mind that if you can avoid using metal parts for the moving parts or axel, then you should; these parts can rust out in the warm, moist environment that will form inside of your composter.
Right Kind of Barrel
One word of warning: make sure that you know what was originally in the barrel before you start to use it. If your barrel was originally used for grain products, or anything that is biodegradable, then it is fine. However, if the barrel ever held gas or oil products, then you should probably keep looking.
The reason for this is that if any of the oil gets into the compost from your homemade composter barrel, then you will be doing more harm to the plants you feed with it than good.
If you are looking for a metal barrel to use for a homemade composter barrel, you should consider finding a used water heater down at your local dump. Not only will you be reusing something that has already been thrown away, but you can be sure that the interior of the water heater has not come in contact with anything that should not be in your compost heap.