Build a Soil Sifter Box for Healthy Soil

A soil sifter box allows you to sift through your garden soil, removing rocks, clay and/or dead plant matter that can then be added to your compost.

And as every gardener knows, a compost pile is one of the best ways to enrich the soil, boosting yields and growing healthier plants.

A compost pile can also help you reduce what you throw away by as much as 30 percent. Instead of getting tossed in the landfill, those food scraps and yarn debris can be composted.

A win for your garden and a win for the environment.

Tools to make your soil sifter box

  • ⬥ Tape measure
  • ⬥ Chop saw
  • ⬥ Power drill
  • ⬥ Countersink bit
  • ⬥ Carpenter’s square
  • ⬥ Sandpaper
  • ⬥ Tin snips


  • ⬥ One 1 inch by 6 inch cedar board, 8 foot long. Cedar is a good choice of wood as it’s strong and resists pests and rot.
  • ⬥ A piece of ½ inch square wire fencing, cut into a 24 x 18 inch section. (This is also known as “hardware cloth”)
  • ⬥ Deck screws (2 ½ inches long)
  • ⬥ Exterior cabinet screws (1 ¼ inches long)
  • ⬥ Fender washers (1/8 inch)
  • ⬥ Handles


1 x 6 x 24 inches (x2)

1 x 6 x 16 inches (x2)

Build the frame

Line up your longer boards parallel with each other. This will be the length of your box. Next, place the shorter boards between the longer ones to form a square. This will be your sifter box width.

As you can see, the finished box will be approximately 24 x 16 inches.

Pre-drill three screw holes (if you prefer). Then, from the outside of the boards, begin drilling three 2 ½ inch deck screws into where the short boards and long boards converge.

Confirm that your first corner is square before moving onto the remaining three corners, then check again once you’ve formed your box that all corners are square.

Sand off any rough edges before moving onto the next step.

Attach the fencing

Square up the fencing along the edges of the sifter box. Predrill screw holes along the edges of each board. (one in each corner and three, spaced approximately 4 to 6 inches apart)

Next, secure the fencing to one corner of the frame by drilling a screw through a washer and the fencing. Repeat the process with the other corners, keeping the fencing pulled tight.

Finally, drill screws and washers along the edges of the remainder of the frame, placing them about four to six inches apart along the length and width of the box.

Remove any excess fencing with tin snips.

Attach the handles

Attach the handles in the middle of the long sides of your sifter box with cabinet screws.

Note: To make your box even stronger and prevent your gloves from getting caught in the edges of the wire fencing, nail thin strips of wood over the fencing edges.