How to Build a Water Barrel


A rain barrel can be a simple and effective answer to saving money on your water bill. By collecting the rainwater from your home's eavespouting, you save that water for use in your gardens and flower beds rather than allowing it to drain away into storm drains. Commercial rain barrels usually cost over $100, but you can make your own for a fraction of that price.

Step 1

Locate a food-grade barrel. You should be able to buy one for just a few dollars or even get one free from local bottling companies, restaurants, schools or your local municipal office. Craigslist is often a good resource for locating one.

Step 2

Drill a hole an inch or so from the bottom of the barrel that is slightly smaller than your faucet/hose bib.

Step 3

Attach the hose bib or faucet per the manufacturer's instructions, using the silicone plumber's tape to seal the fittings. Use a file to widen your hole as needed to get the fitting in. You will now be able to attach a hose to your barrel.

Step 4

Cut a hole in your lid slightly larger than your downspouting. Flip the lid over and place the mesh or screen and secure with a stapler. The screen will allow water to enter the barrel but not mosquitoes.

Step 5

Position your rain barrel under your corner downspouting, using a curved joint, if needed, to position the spouting to drain into the barrel. Prop up on cinder blocks to raise the barrel spout high enough to allow a watering can underneath. Cut the spouting off just above the barrel.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use collected water for drinking or cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrel
  • Lid
  • Screen or mesh netting
  • Faucet kit or hose bib
  • Plumber tape
  • 2 cinder blocks
  • Saw


  • Solutions for Your Life: How to Build a Rain Barrel

Who Can Help

  • Build Your Own Rain Barrel
Keywords: rain barrel, saving water, build water barrel

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.