Make a Rain Barrel Using Hardware Store Parts Catch some falling rain and put it in your barrel, save it for a rainless day

Share your love of DIY:   
Rain barrel sitting on concrete base

No need for an expensive prefab unit when the parts are easily available at the hardware store.

We had no idea how much water we were losing during just a short rainfall. Now, that rain fills both our barrels, allowing us to store 110 gallons for later use. It conserves water and saves on the water bill. 

 

The problem:

We get rain showers almost every afternoon in the spring and summer. After one particularly intense storm, we noticed a huge amount of water in the street, and thought “Hmm, rain barrels might be more useful than we realized.”

After looking at commercial rain barrels, it appeared the only choice was to accept low quality, or spend a ton of money. What to do? DIY of course!

 

Spock raising eyebrows in "I can't believe it" look
Bright orange rain barrel

Before you even ask; there is nothing wrong with my eyes.

I will be painting these barrels soon!

Spock raising eyebrows in "I can't believe it" look
Bright orange rain barrel

Before you even ask; there is nothing wrong with my eyes.

I will be painting these barrels soon!

The solution:

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on brand new barrels from the hardware store, so I found used 55 gallon drums. It’s important to us to not harm our landscaping with chemicals, so I made sure to look for “food grade” or “food safe” 55 gallon barrels or drums.

You can do a web search, or check Craigslist, where I found a local company that deals in used containers. I specifically wanted removable lids to simplify building them and for easy cleaning.

The barrels we purchased had been used for shipping orange juice, thus the color! We got them for $15 each since the bright orange isn’t exactly in high demand! The juice had been contained in liners, so it never even made contact with the drum itself. 

The video below shows the steps in detail and some modifications I made as I put them together. 

55 gallon barrel compared to 11 five-gallon jugs

So just how much is 55 gallons?

Eleven 5 gallon jugs. That’s a lot of water!

55 gallon barrel compared to 11 five-gallon jugs

So just how much is 55 gallons?

Eleven 5 gallon jugs. That’s a lot of water!

Summary of Steps:

  1. Cut the overflow and hose bibb holes with a hole saw and drill
  2. Assemble the overflow pieces with screened hose washers to keep bugs out
  3. Install hose bibb using rubber and steel washers, sealing with silicone
  4. Cut hole for lid using a drilled pilot hole and a jigsaw
  5. Attach inlet, using 3″ PVC fittings with window screen sandwiched in between
  6. Connect downspout extension and filter to gutter/downspout
  7. Be amazed at how fast the water collects in your new rain barrel!

I would love to know see how your barrel works out for you. If you try my design, please make sure to leave comments and questions below.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission on items bought using them. These are the same recommendations I would make regardless of any compensation. For products that I have older versions of, I recommend the items that I would replace them with if I were buying them new. 

Resources for Rain Barrel

These are the tools and supplies I used to build my rain barrels. You do not need all of them, so feel free to substitute with tools you have available.

Kobalt 24V MAX Brushless 2 Tool Combo Kit

From Amazon
Combo Kit with Drill and Impact Driver, battery, charger. Great value if you need both. See FREE Tips & Tricks PDF for Impact Drivers

Bosch 7.0 Amp 120V Variable Speed Jigsaw 

From Amazon
Great corded Jigsaw. This is the one I used in the video. Expensive, but is powerful!

Black+Decker Jig Saw, 4.5 Amp

From Amazon
A less expensive jigsaw as an option

Fiberglass Insect Screen

From Home Depot
Only about a square foot is needed, so screen remnants are fine

 

There are more DIY projects in the works, so stay tuned to Uncharted DIY. Feel free to comment, post photos of your Rain Barrel or ask questions about this project.

Uncharted DIY is for DIY enthusiasts tackling uncommon projects, utilizing common tools and often on a limited budget

Uncharted DIY is for DIY enthusiasts tackling uncommon projects, utilizing common tools and often on a limited budget