Decorate a Compost Bin
By: Amanda Formaro
Age: 7 & up
Parental supervision is recommended
This project isn't only fun, it's great for the environment and your garden. This Earth Day craft will help you create your own compost bin to keep on your porch or back deck.
What you'll need:
- 3-5 gallon plastic storage bin with lid
- Craft paint in bright colors
- Foam alphabet stamps (letters C, O, M, P, S, T)
- Foam leaf stamps
- Clear acrylic sealer spray
- Heavy-duty knife or power drill
How to make it:
- Have an adult cut the following holes into the storage bin: A series of holes, about a centimeter wide and three centimeters apart, along both edges of the bin. On the bottom of the bin, cut a hole one centimeter wide and three centimeters long in two opposite corners. The compost bin will need ventilation in order to let air and moisture circulate.
- Place plastic bin on its side and use the craft pain to create designs. Use bright colors to create simple flowers, stems, leaves and grass. (See photos 1, 2.)
- Use your pointer finger to dot on insects with bright colors, using the end of a paint brush, dot white on either side of the finger print to make their wings.
- To decorate the lid, paint each foam stamp with a good amount of paint, and press carefully but firmly onto the lid surface. Continue with each letter until your have spelled out “COMPOST”. (See photo.)
- Paint leaf stamps with green paint and decorate the lid around the word “compost”.
- Allow all the paint to dry.
- In a well-ventilated area (preferably outdoors) spray all painted surfaces with acrylic sealer spray. Let dry. Repeat this process for a total of three times. This will help protect your painted surface form the outside elements.
- Make your starter compost (instructions below) and place outside. If you are placing the bin on the porch or patio, you may want to use an extra lid cover as a drip pan.
Line your bin with a few inches of clean potting soil. (See photo.)You can also add dry leaves to the soil, as they are full of nutrients. Sand and small pieces of black and white newspaper will work as well.
There are many items that can be added to your bin and just as many that should be avoided. Vegetable and fruit scraps (potato and carrot peeling, apple cores, banana peels, etc) are a great addition to your compost bin. These items will add moisture so you will also need dry matter to keep the moisture level from getting too high.
Avoid meats, dairy, fish, or bones--they decompose very slowly and the smell they create will attract animals. Also no glossy magazine paper or materials from the side of the street (they might contain chemicals or other debris). For a complete list of the dos and don'ts, go to Organic Gardening's guide to composting.
Dry matter can include dry leaves, straw (not hay), grass clippings, and even sawdust from untreated wood.
Add a layer of moist matter covered by a layer of dry matter. Turn and mix (aerate) your compost bin contents every 4-5 days. If you feel heat coming from the mixture you know that your bin is working properly.
- Teaching children about composting is a great way to introduce them to the magic of Mother Nature.
- Composting also keeps biodegradable items out of the landfill and makes great soil to place in potted plants or in gardens.