DIY Backyard Fire Pit





Introduction: DIY Backyard Fire Pit

About: I am a fun, loving father of 3 who like's to build and make.

For Valentine day 2015 I decided to build my wife a fire pit for the backyard. I started with an old washing machine and a recycled bed frame. My cousin Vince called me and asked me if I wanted to scrap the washer for one of his neighbors, so I grabbed it and got the idea.

Start to finish, this project took about 5 hours.

1/2 hour to remove the drum

Step 1: Step 1: Remove the Drum

The first thing you have to do is get the parts you want. In this case all I wanted was the drum so I pulled it out and reassembled the washer without it. Just to make it easier to move. I threw it on the back of the truck and emptied the aluminum compactor and grabbed what ever other scrap I had lying around my shop and made for the scrap yard.

Step 2: Step 2: Head to Lowes

After I got the money from the scrap I headed to Lowes to get supplies.
1 - One can of High Heat white

2 - Two cans of High Heat black

3 - Two 3' x 3/16" steel rod

4 - Two 3' x 1.25" flat bars

Step 3: Step 3: Clean the Drum

Using my angle grinder and some sand paper I cleaned all the old gunk off the drum. I removed the plastic bits from it and then I smoothed out the rim on the top with the grinder.

Then I used the grinder to cut the 4 leg pieces from the old bed frame. I cut at 10" and ground one end to sit flush but angled on the bottom of the drum.

Step 4: Step 4: Building the Legs

Using a wire welder set to max with a wire speed of almost 3, I welded the legs on the bottom and then welded on the flat bars as stiffeners.

Flip it over and see how it sits. If you need to adjust for wobble, grind off or weld on to level.

Step 5: Step 5: Add Some Personalization

Grind the lip to make it pretty and smooth then add something special.

I used the rod to make letters that represent my wife and I. A&W, Alison and Walt. Then used the remainder of the rod as the mount and welded it to the shaft in the middle of the drum.

Step 6: Step 6: Paint

Apply at least 2 coats of High Heat paint. I use Rust-oleum because it is heat rated to 1200°

Not that the letters will stay that way for long, but I painted them white to make them pop. Plus I can always go back and repaint them.

Step back and admire your handywork.

Step 7: Step 7: Fire

Get some wood to burn and invite some friends.

Pictures to come soon. (It's not Valentine's Day yet)

(edit, as promissed) HAPPY VALENTINES DAY 2015

This fire pit was a complete success. No problems with it at all. Fire burns high and radiates a lot of heat. I added a grill top from Lowes and gave the wife and kids and my Mom some sticks, and we had great Smore's. Perfect Alison says. She loves it.



    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest
    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest
    • Casting Contest

      Casting Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    This thing works perfectly, we just had Smore's and stood by the fire for an hour and the only thing we had to do was stoke the fire and wet the grass underneath because the embers fall through the holes. It was very relaxing just watching the light shine on the fence through all the little hole. It was like a light show. :-)

    1 reply

    maybe get some decorative bricks or patio stones? to place underneath....

    then you won't need the hose when hot embers drop down...

    Just a thought...

    You know, I go on instructables a lot, looking for new and interesting projects. Normally I just find a bunch of stuff telling me how to make a Mindcraft sword out of Popsicle sticks, but this project is fantastic! I have a cut up 55 gallon drum as a fire pit in my back yard right now, but as soon as I finish typing this, I'm heading over to Craigslist to look for a free washing machine. Great job, thanks for sharing!

    I'm having trouble removing the drum from the main shaft that the moter is attached to. How do you do this?

    Good job! I'm in the process of making one of these for a friend as I run across this Instructable. Cheers!

    I made a double tub one back in April. the porcelain tubs hold up better than stainless, and that paint is ineffective, it gets too hot.

    2 replies

    if that paint is ineffective, what would you suggest?

    I am considering a youth group projuct & wamt to make sute we have everything beforehand.

    I would just go with no paint. It develops a nice char color on its own. Gives it personality.

    Fire will make galvanized steel give off zinc fumes. Zinc fumes will kill you. Galvanizing would be a very bad idea.

    1 reply

    to cook on, or breathe the fumes of the galvanizing, yes that would be a bad idea...however, if you were to build a bon fire & bury the galvanized drum under all the hot coals for an hour or three, that will off that coating & from then on it will be safe...but you have to make certain you burn off every last bit, as it does not take much of that coating to kill you.

    oh! something I forgot to mention....

    It is so refreshing to hear a REAL MAN tell his wife publicly how much he loves is so rare these days.

    Too many males have the attitude "I'm married not buried..." and they treat their wives like slaves or worse. I just think it's cool how you worked the "I love you..." into this ible. 8 - )

    This is a cool ible!!

    just wish I didn't live in an apt. so I could make this...8-(


    would it not be easier to build a support base/footings first & then weld them onto the drum? Please keep in mind that I'm not a welder, nor do I know anything as to how to weld.....

    Does this drum have an incinerator effect on whatever you burn in it?

    The huge flames seem to give that impression....

    I have one concern that no one seems to have mentioned.

    Under the right conditions (uneven heating, moisture under cracked coating) porcelain can literally explode off the surface of the drum sending small shards of glass flying Be careful with this one.

    Stainless tub would be the ideal choice, even if it won't last as long.

    3 replies

    You're right. I got a chunk of hot porcelain in my shirt when mine popped a few years ago. I now take a hammer to the porcelain to crack it . Hasn't happened since.

    I've been using a porcelain washer drum for over 20 years and never in all that time has a piece exploded off.

    Older the washer the thicker & better quality coating your tub is likely at least 30 years old and may be of sufficient quality to hold up to the heat, washers made in the last 10 to 15 years may not have near the quality or thickness of coating. We used one to burn trash in and the coating kept popping and flaking off till most of it was gone.

    Well done. I smiled when I saw this my father has made a stainless one and had it for quite some time. Cant remember if he has legs on it but it works great! I can say they are very good as they deflect the heat outwards as well as up. If anyone wants a good brazier this is a good idea.!!!

    Really cool project. I have a friend at work who wants to get rid of a washer. I'm gonna have to make this one and possibly recycle the motor as a generator as well.

    I've had one of these in my back yard for over 20 years. A cousin has someone weld 4 angle iron legs to the outside. It will blast heat and make you move back from the fire. I use a piece of hardware cloth to cover the hole in the bottom. Mine sits on a concrete pad.

    Campfire2.JPGBefore Ignition.JPG

    the legs really takes this up a notch. great job, I really like the photos