Introduction: DIY Patio Heater/fire Pit

Picture of DIY Patio Heater/fire Pit

Hi, with fall (autumn) quickly closing in on us and the evenings getting that bit shorter & cooler this is a great project to make. You can get that extra bit of time outside enjoying a beer or glass of wine without freezing your you know what off. It’s actually surprising how much heat this patio heater/fire pit throws out.

Step 1: Have a Look a the Video...

Have a look at the video above to watch how I made this patio heater/fire pit or have a look at my guide below.

Warning do not cut or drill into a gas cylinder unless you are 100% sure it is safe to do so!

Below are links to some of the videos I watched before attempting to remove the valves and wash them out.

Lesson 1

Lesson 2


Lesson 4

You have been warned.

The materials need for this are:

Two propane (gas) cylinders with valves removed, the cylinder washed out and left to air for few days.

Approximately 30inches (760mm)of 4 inch (100mm) steel tube.

1 Stainless steel butt hinge (4 inch)

1 Stainless steel knob

8 nuts and bolts

High temperature paint

Step 2: Cutting the Cylinders.

Picture of Cutting the Cylinders.

Making sure the valves are removed and the cylinders are free from any gas cut one of the cylinders in half keeping the top section (There is normally a joint line in the middle of the cylinder so use this as your guide line) then remove the handles from both.

Step 3: Taking Off the Paint.

Picture of Taking Off the Paint.

I decided to burn the paint off the tanks in a small fire as it was proving hard to remove it with a grinder and flap disc. After the fire had done its job and they had cooled down I gave them a quick clean with a wire brush.

Step 4: Welding the Cylinders Together.

Picture of Welding the Cylinders Together.

On a bench I put the two top ends (where the valves were) together and tack welded them before putting them on their side to finish the welding all the way around.

Step 5: Cutting Door & Hole for Chimney.

Picture of Cutting Door & Hole for Chimney.

At this stage I marked the position of where the door was going to be cut…. Using my grinder I cut the hole (slightly smaller than the size of the tube for the chimney) for the chimney. Before fully cutting the door out mark the position and drill the holes for the hinge! It’s much easier to do this now.

Step 6: Attaching the Chimney.

Picture of Attaching the Chimney.

Attach the chimney by firstly tacking it in place and then welding it all the way around.

Step 7: Fitting Door.

Picture of Fitting Door.

Using the nuts and bolts and hinge attach the door. Everything should line up perfectly. I attached a piece of metal to the inside to act as a stop for the door. I held it place with a vice grips while tacking it.

Step 8: Fitting Door Knob.

Picture of Fitting Door Knob.

Drill a hole for the door knob and attach it. (Remove it again before painting)

Step 9: Cleaning Before Painting.

Picture of Cleaning Before Painting.

I gave the whole thing (except stainless steel parts) a going over with a flap disc to clean it up and smooth out any rough bits.

Step 10: Air Intake Holes.

Picture of Air Intake Holes.

I drilled some air intake holes around the bottom to make sure the fire has enough oxygen when lighting.

Step 11: Painting.

Picture of Painting.

I applied some high temperature black paint using a paint brush. (It fully cures when fire is lit)

Step 12: And That Is It!

Picture of And That Is It!

All that’s left to do is light it! I use off cuts of wood in it and that works great. It really is a great addition to a patio area. The way it’s designed doesn’t allow for the heat to transfer down to the ground so it can even be put on grass without burning it. An afterthought I had was that if I did a few adjustments I could turn the top of the chimney into a place where I could cook! It’s like a rocket stove.

If you like this project and would like to see more videos from me you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here:Eamon Walsh DIY Thanks.


Stereosage (author)2017-09-13

As an alternative to fire to remove the original paint, you could also go to someone who does walnut shell blasting. As part of an apartment renovation, I took radiator covers with 50 years worth of paint for 'air blasting'. This was prep for powder coating. They looked brand new and the cost was very reasonable. This shop uses garnet for blasting areas or parts that are rusty.

eamonwalshdiy (author)Stereosage2017-09-13

Great idea Stereosage! I have often thought about purchasing a small sand blaster for such things. It would make the job much easier.

KathyD85 (author)2017-09-06

you have some mad skill, I love this

eamonwalshdiy (author)KathyD852017-09-06

Hi Kathy, thank you very much!

devsmith (author)2017-08-23

Bringing back arc welding. :) I like it!

eamonwalshdiy (author)devsmith2017-08-23

Thanks devsmith!

Kalle Klæp (author)2017-08-06

Nice idea..! For the folks that want to make one of these... Be ABSOLUTELY sure, there is no gas in the cylinder..!

Let it stand upside down with the valve demounted a couple of days. Then fill it with water and let it sit for the night. That ensures it's absolutely safe to cut it open.

Thanks Kalle..

BobH160 (author)2017-07-31

I have to warn you that doing this in the UK is illegal!
We are not allowed to use empty gas cylinders at all for anything but their intended use, if you are found using one a prosecution may be sought against you.

eamonwalshdiy (author)BobH1602017-07-31

Hi Bob, I Live in Ireland so hopefully that doesnt apply here. :-)

BobH160 (author)eamonwalshdiy2017-08-01

If it is N. Ireland then it will and I would suspect that came from the EU too so that would also be Eire.

TomasT19 made it! (author)2017-07-31

my friend made something like that,with "smokehouse"... above..

you caan see chicken nearly DONE..


eamonwalshdiy (author)TomasT192017-08-01

Hi Tom, wow that looks cool and the chicken looks tasty too! :-)

Daeras (author)2017-07-30

I would suggest that you make the firebox double skin all the way to the top with large openings to the outside at the bottom for a secondary air inlet and small openings in the inside at the top for secondary air outlet.
This way if the air inside the double skin can get hot enough you will get secondary combustion of the carbon monoxide (smoke) at the small outlets. This way you would need less wood to get the same heat.
Nearly all modern day wood stoves use secondary combustion. Better for the environment and better for your wood pile.

Still as it is it is still a nice idea.

DB.Cooper (author)Daeras2017-07-31

that idea sir... needs its own instructable... please

Daeras (author)DB.Cooper2017-07-31

Now we just need eamonwalshdiy to modify his or build a new one ;)

A glass window in the door with an air was system can be a nice feature as well, but it might be to small for glass not to crack. Air washing a window in a stove is very important otherwise the glass smoke up.

eamonwalshdiy (author)Daeras2017-07-31

Thank you very much Daeras for the great ideas and tips.:-)

corneliusarkeveld (author)2017-07-30

Nice looking stove. Just a couple of comments. I don't think burning of paint is a good idea better to use a wire bush on a grinder. Stoves become almost useless without a baffle which could have been made in the flue. A butterfly baffle would allow your stove to burn at slower rates. Also a bit of weld mesh on the bottom in 2 pieces would make a grate which would be a bonus.

Thank you cornelius. Great tips!. I had tried to to brush and grind the paint off but it would have taken ages.

DB.Cooper (author)eamonwalshdiy2017-07-31

perhaps you could try one of those cheap sand blasters from harbor freight tools.

love the project by the way! I totally needed something to use all my extra rusty tanks!

eamonwalshdiy (author)DB.Cooper2017-07-31

Thanks DB, good idea I must look into that.

BigAndRed (author)2017-07-30

Rather than using a second gas bottle for the base why not make some legs from scrap steel or tubing and use the second gas bottle to make another fire box.

Also consider welding about 100mm of heavy pipe to the top and screw the flue to it so it can be removed for transport or cleaning.

eamonwalshdiy (author)BigAndRed2017-07-31

Thanks for the ideas BigAndRed.

whiskymonster (author)2017-07-30

Very nice indeed.
When i cut gas bottles, i like to drill a little hole nice and slow, and fill them to the brim with water.
Drill another hole at the bottom to let it out again.
Makes sure there is absolutely no gas left in the can at all, and you can start cutting almost straight away

Thanks for the tip Whiskeymonster!

loskop100. (author)2017-07-30

That is cool job there, the only thing that I would change would be the door knob, it gets really hot so I welded on a chevy valve spring as the knob on the heater that I have because the air can circulate through and around it and cool it a bit.

eamonwalshdiy (author)loskop100.2017-07-31

Thank you loskop 100. Great idea I will be using that next time!

Stavros! (author)2017-07-30

A trick I learned from a moving company about gas cans. Fill them with water and there won't be any fumes left to ignite. Would work with these cylinders also.

eamonwalshdiy (author)Stavros!2017-07-31

Thanks Stavros. The tanks were filled with water twice (to be sure) :-)

Daeras (author)2017-07-30

You can also attach the half cylinder to the fire box cylinder with a piece of you chimney pipe and the add an ash drawer in the half cylinder base with a grid to support your wood inside the fire box. Ease of cleaning ash is always a bonus.

deluges (author)2017-07-28


eamonwalshdiy (author)deluges2017-07-28

Thank you!

RushFan (author)2017-07-27

Really nice design, and well done! I'm curious about why you didnt weld the hinges on, seems like that would have been easier. Great job, I want to make one!

eamonwalshdiy (author)RushFan2017-07-28

Hi RushFan, Thank you very much. To be honest i never even thought about welding them on. I guess it would probably be a bit more tricky to hold everything in place and get everything to line up correctly as the hinge is on the inside.But if ya can do it, go for it :-) there is a little bit of play when the hinge is bolted for fine adjustment. Post a pic when you make one. I would love to see it! Thanks again.

Paige Russell (author)2017-07-27

Awesome project! :D

Hey Paige, Thank you very much!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make stuff for my home and garden from wood and metal..
More by eamonwalshdiy:Shock Absorber StoolsHorseshoe Christmas TreeStorage Bench
Add instructable to: