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If there are two things I’m passionate about, it’s the British television show Doctor Who and composting. (Yeah, you read that right.) I’ve loved the regenerating Time Lord who travels through space and time in a Big Blue Box since I first saw Tom Baker and his colorful scarf on PBS. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ve had at least fifty years to catch up—get thee to Netflix!)


My ardor for composting combines my long-standing environmentalism—fostered by my seventh-grade teacher, Mr. Olson—with my guilt over throwing out rotten food. Also, I’m terrible when it comes to growing and nurturing plants (my mate still blames me for killing his “bachelor” ficus plant during our first year of dating). Yet, feeding the worms, and returning scraps back to the earth? I got this!


Between the prepping and painting, the demolishing and rebuilding, the fixing and repairing on our new house, I was feeling more and more like a (gasp!) grown up. This had to stop! So, when a new composter arrived on my doorstep—a top-loading, bottomless plastic bin—I knew this was my chance to have a bit of fun, add a pinch of whimsy, celebrate my geek side. One look at the shape and it all became very clear.


blank bin


In Doctor Who, the Doctor encounters many monsters and aliens. None, however, is more fearsome than the Daleks—an extraterrestrial race of cyborgs hellbent on galactic domination. Sure, they may look like rolling traffic cones with lightbulbs and a plunger, but their garbled cry of “EX-TER-MIN-ATE!!” and their ability to kill without mercy will send a chill down any Gallifreyans spine. Certainly, one could disintegrate my leftover romaine.



Using painters’ tape, I started by marking the body characteristics of the dalek.


taped bin


Next, I used the same roll of painters tape to trace circles that dot the “skirt” of the dalek body onto a used pizza box and double-side taped them onto the composter. No, I didn’t measure. But simply “eye-balling” their placement doesn’t make me any less of a fan.


taped spots


Once all the tape was in place, I sprayed the piece with two coats of Rustoleum Aged Copper spray paint. I was getting giddy—not from the fumes, but from the fact that it was starting to look exactly as I’d hoped!


Dalek done


Perhaps the most exciting moment for me came Halloween night when, just before sundown, some familiar-looking trick-or-treaters showed up at my door. “Would you mind coming into my backyard with me for a photo?” I asked with uncontained enthusiasm. Normally, such a request would rightly give one pause, but the 11th Doctor, Amy Pond, and the TARDIS were great sports about having their picture taken with such a formidable enemy.


dw gang


All that is left to finish up are the lights that adorn the top of the Dalek’s head and the eyestalk. I suppose I could craft even greater detail onto to the piece, but, for now, “Dalek Caamposter”—named for Dalek Caan, one of the four daleks in the Cult of Skaro (yes, I speak Geek)—is already doing its job of breaking down my yard waste and veggie scraps. Come spring, I hope to have rich black compost to help my garden—say it with me—GER-MIN-ATE!!

Dalek lights


Got a geek craft? Share in the comments below!