How to Build Your Own Rain Barrel


Rain collection has been around for centuries and is utilized all over the world to help with irrigation problems. It is recommended by clean water organizations because of its benefits to gardeners and to the municipal water supplies. If water is used at the home where it is collected, it allows less water usage from the homeowner and allows less water to be processed through storm drains. Using water that is collected through the downspouts of a home provides water that is clean enough to be used for gardens, watering lawns and washing cars.

Step 1

Place the skimmer upside down on top of the lid of the plastic barrel, about two inches from the outside of the lid. Trace around the skimmer using the marker, making a circle that is the size of the underside of the lip of the skimmer. This marks the hole that will be cut to put the skimmer into.

Step 2

Using the drill bit, drill a starter hole inside of the mark to allow room for the jigsaw blade.

Step 3

Using the jigsaw cut a hole out of the lid--the size of the skimmer--following the line that you made.

Step 4

Caulk around the seal and place the skimmer in the hole securely and allow to dry.

Step 5

Drill two holes, the size of your faucets, in the top of the barrel and in the bottom. Position these holes, one three inches from the bottom of the barrel and one of them two inches from the top.

Step 6

Screw the faucets into the holes, wrap the threads with teflon tape and attach the coupling to the inside of each. Keep the top faucet open to prevent the barrel from overflowing and the bottom faucet closed; you will use this faucet when draining the water out to use it.

Step 7

Place the lid securely onto the barrel and place it under a downspout of your gutter system. Place the downspout into the hole in the top so it will collect the water that comes out of it.

Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic barrel with lid
  • 4-inch to 6-inch skimmer strainer or sink strainer
  • 3/4-inch faucet silcock
  • 3/4-inch female coupling
  • Permanent marker
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Jigsaw
  • Utility Knife
  • Teflon tape
  • All-purpose caulk


  • Build Rain Barrel: Mid-America Regional Council
  • Build Your Own Rain Barrel
  • Clean Virginia Waterways Rain Barrels

Who Can Help

  • Rain Barrels: Appoquinimink River Association
  • Rain Barrel from a Garbage Can Video
  • Making a Rain Barrel Video
Keywords: building rain barrels, make rain barrel, how to build a rain barrel

About this Author

Robin Lewis is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the Web. Lewis specializes in gardening articles, publishing frequently on a variety of websites.