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Easy DIY Rain Barrel

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Want to harvest water at home for watering your home garden, containers, and other plants? Using just a few items, consider making a DIY rain barrel for harvesting water in your yard. It saves money and helps you to be more self sufficient.

DIY rain barrel

What is a rain barrel?

A rain barrel is really any type of vessel or container that is used for harvesting or collecting rain water from a roof or other place. This can be any shape or size really, but you want it to be easy to access and use.

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Rain barrels can be as basic as a large drum, like the one we have used, or be a connected system of containers for a larger harvesting system. The goal is to collect water and to be able to keep it on hand until you need to use it.

Materials for a DIY Rain Barrel

There aren’t many supplies needed to make a DIY rain barrel, so it really can be done by anyone. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Waterproof container of a good size (check facebook marketplace or local businesses that may use these large containers.)
  • Drill with bit
  • 3/4 Bulkhead fitting (comes with silicone ring as well)
  • 3/4 brass faucet
  • Plumbing tape
  • Waterproof Caulk (I like Gorilla Glue caulk or try marine caulk)

Other items that are optional, but helpful:

  • Easy to Use Diverter (if attaching to downspout)
  • Rain Barrel stand (helps with water pressure if attaching a hose. Here are the plans my father-in-law used to build ours. This is a pretty heavy duty stand!

How to Build a Rain Barrel at Home

  1. Begin by gathering all of your supplies. Fit bit on end of drill and mark on your barrel the best place for the spigot.
  2. Make a hole with the drill.
  3. Use bulkhead fitting lined with caulk and attach to hole in barrel. Let dry.
  4. Wrap plumbing tape around the threads of the faucet that will attach to bulkhead. Attach the faucet.
  5. Test the seal by filling the barrel to just above the spigot to check for leaks around your bulkhead.
  6. If it leaks, use marine caulk around the bulkhead fitting and allow to dry. Test again.
  7. Place rain barrel on stand or in the location you’ve chosen for rain collection.
  8. Optional: if connecting a downspout to the rain barrel, follow instructions on the diverter for attaching and running a line to your barrel.
  9. Optional: If not using a diverter, consider creating a mesh screen for the rain barrel lid to screen out leaves or other matter that could potentially get inside.

Using Water in a Rain Barrel

For using the water in your rain barrel, you can either attach a hose and water plants/garden, or use it to fill a water can. There won’t be as much water pressure as a traditional spigot, but using a stand helps with this.

Other Rain Barrel Options

Not interested in making your own rain barrel? Or simply don’t have the time? Check out these options for purchasing a rain barrel for your home.

Have you made a rain barrel at home? I’d love to know how you did it, so feel free to share in the comments below!

Yield: 1 barrel

Easy DIY Rain Barrel

DIY rain barrel

Create an easy DIY rain barrel at home with just a few supplies and a weekend. This is a perfect addition to any garden, yard, or homestead!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Waterproof container of a good size (check facebook marketplace or local businesses that may use these large containers.)
  • 3/4 Bulkhead fitting (comes with silicone ring as well)
  • 3/4 brass faucet
  • Plumbing tape
  • Waterproof Caulk (I like Gorilla Glue caulk or try marine caulk)

Tools

  • Drill with bit (see bulkhead package for exact size)

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all of your supplies. Fit bit on end of drill and mark on your barrel the best place for the spigot.
  2. Make a hole with the drill. See the bulkhead package for the exact size hole that will need to be made.
  3. Use bulkhead fitting lined with caulk and attach to hole in barrel. Let dry.
  4. Wrap plumbing tape around the threads of the faucet that will attach to bulkhead. Attach the faucet.
  5. Test the seal by filling the barrel to just above the spigot to check for leaks around your bulkhead.
  6. If it leaks, use marine caulk around the bulkhead fitting and allow to dry. Test again.
  7. Place rain barrel on stand or in the location you’ve chosen for rain collection.
  8. Optional: if connecting a downspout to the rain barrel, follow instructions on the diverter for attaching and running a line to your barrel.
  9. Optional: If not using a diverter, consider creating a mesh screen for the rain barrel lid to screen out leaves or other matter that could potentially get inside.

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