In the steps ahead you will learn to build a great fire pit that's aesthetically pleasing as well as easy to build and last but certainly not least pretty easy on your wallet, in fact this project cost me less than 100 bucks. Let me stress that anyone can do this and its not as hard as you think, and when your done its something you can brag to your friends about which we all know is the most important thing right? The remainder of page 1 will be mostly the thought process and design elements i went through prior to actual construction.

This is my entry into the Outdoors Contest, all votes are greatly appreciated.


Build the ultimate fire pit that would:
     1.- Be sturdy built, and will last for years.
     2.- Double as a functional grill with accessories (which i will also show you how to make)
     3.- Be much cheaper than a store bought fire pit as well as be personally customizable.
     4.- Must be somewhat kid safe (i have a 2yr old as well as a 1yr old)
     5.- Must be easily built with everyday building materials.

Materials list:

1.- Quikrete ( 2 x 80lb. bags and 2 x 5000 mix)
2.- Mortar ( 2 bags )
3.- Bricks ( standard red )
4.- 2x4's ( i actually reclaimed some from a couple broken pallets)
5.- 55 gallon drum ( cut in half long ways )
6.- One 4'x8' sheet of malamine wood. (reclaimed scrap from wood working shop)
8.- Large box of 3" wood screws
9.- tube of caulk (silicone)
10.- Re-mesh and wire
11.- Table saw
12.- Miter saw
13.- Trowel
14.- Wheel barrow
15.- Hoe and shovel
16.- Rubber mallet
17.- Drill
18.- Cut off wheel

1.- Broken bottles of your favorite color (b** light platinum : blue)
2.- Spent 12 gauge shell casings with plastic cut off
3.- 67 camaro emblem
4.- Gravel for leveling

A little on the author and the thought process that went into this project:

      My name is Daniel, I work in the electrical maintenance field. I recently purchased my first home and noticed the last owner has left me several standard red bricks. Right away I knew what they would become however I have zero masonry experience. I then began doing research on fire pit designs and masonry construction. Some things I noticed about most well built fire pits was two things; 1.-  Most of them were quite expensive for what i felt was not much and 2.- All of them used either fire brick or a metal ring neither of which are cheap. Since I had regular red brick I decided I needed something along the lines of the metal ring to shield the heat from the bricks so I asked myself what do I have laying around that would work well?. That is what led me to design mine utilizing half a 55 gallon drum as the basis for designing my fire pit. Also with the curvature of the barrel it works to keep the fire centered in the fire pit which keeps the temps of the cap stone and walls cool to touch for up to six hours, which goes back to making it safer for young children. Also makes it nice to be able to sit cold beverages on it during cool nights outside.
     After deciding to base my design around a 55 gallon barrel, next came the cap stone which led me to this site to an instructable I had read a couple years ago dealing with how to build a concrete countertop. I read the instructable several times and then began planning mine, with the mindset that i wanted it to look good, and also wanted to personalize it to where no matter who saw it they would know it was me. It was only after these things i started drawing it on paper as well as my cad program, designing it from foundation to finish.

So lets get started!!!!

Step 1: Draw It Up

Creating your blueprints:

     Now that you know what materials you will be using its time to begin putting the design on paper. Since you know the design will be based around a 55 gallon barrel we can begin by drawing the dimensions to scale on graph paper or in a cad program.  The barrel i used has the dimensions 23.5" x 34.5" which means that the inside edge of the foundation needs to be larger than that. Lets start by drawing the 2x4 forms we will be setting in place to pour the foundation.

Foundation blueprints:
   To create the foundation blueprints we will start by drawing the actual dimensions of the foundation itself to scale using graph paper. Next we will encase the foundation in forms by drawing 2x4's to scale around the inside and outside of the foundation. This way we can double check our math on what length to cut each 2x4.

Capstone blueprints:
  Creating the capstone blueprints are almost exactly like the foundation blueprints with the exception that you will cut the inside walls with 45 degree miters. This is done to keep the water saturated concrete from swelling the inner layer of wood in the malemine which is basically just compacted sawdust.

Foundation cut-list:

  • 2 x 24"

  • 2 x 32"

  • 2 x 39"

  • 2 x 47"

Capstone cut-list:

  • 2 x 35" w/45 degree miter

  • 2 x 24" w/45 degree miter

  • 2 x 37.5"

  • 2 x 47"


<p>great ible!!!!!! Just one question though what was your final cost?</p>
<p>My final cost was not much at all, The bricks were already here when I bought the house, Already had the barrel, and the white malemine. My only real costs were the mortar, concrete, trowel, caulk and some other odds and ends so my cost was under 50 bucks I think. do some searching on craigslist and you can probably source most of the parts as well. </p>
Very nice job, well done. M
Thanks!!! I really appreciate it.
Awesome looking pit, love the instructable! Couple questions, Where did you get the drum? Around how much did it cost ? And lastly, how easy would it be to take down? I'm living in a rental house and the grass has to be back before we move out in a couple years.
The drum was free from a friend however the prices vary wildly, I can get them for around 20 bucks around here but some people say they can get them cheaply at all. If you need one that can be taken down I have some suggestions, instead of using mortar, use construction adhesive or just drystack the bricks, also instead of pouring a cement foundation use &quot;dense grade&quot; gravel and sand to create a level surface then it should be as simple as removing the cap stone and unstacking your bricks followed by disposing your gravel and sand then the grass will be able to grow quickly.
If You Enjoyed My Instructable Vote For It In The Outdoor Projects Contest
<p>67 camaro emblem LOL. I have an old 1971 MGB emblem. I could give it a British touch and have to work on it every week. How hard would it be to use a burner like this? http://www.thefirepitstore.com/warming-trends-crossfire-manual-lit-system-with-a-120k-btu-natural-gas-burner-and-plate-mls120ng/ We have a wood burning ban in place here at the moment and don't want to get the authorities crashing our party.</p>
<p>it wouldnt be difficult at all i dont think, pipe it in and have a tank for a supply. i almost did that myself</p>
<p>Looks great!</p>
Be cautious when cutting into old drums/barrels. If previously used, it may have contained flammable product at one time. Make sure the barrel is open when cutting it and try to remove any old contaminants before starting so that combustible gases can escape. Safest bet is to use a new one!
Does this pit emit heat while sitting around it?
Really depends on what you mean, usually we sit by the fire and prop our feet on the capstone to warm up. Are you asking if you can feel the heat from where I usually sit??
I'm sorry, but your text is unreadable to me because of your use of capitals on every single word. Could you perhaps fix that ?
There ya go!! sorry about that
Much better thanks. Impressive pit !
Thanks!! I just wanted something unique, and relatively cheap.

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