The idea to make this rain barrel came when I realized that my Dad's rain barrel is only saving half of the rain that falls on our house from ending up in creeks. This led me to make my own rain barrel that can water the garden out front and save the other half of the rain water from ending up in creeks and rivers. This rain barrel may not hold as much water as some commercial rain barrels but it is great for areas that recieve mild amounts of rain and for people that want to water their small garden.
Another way this project is helping you to go green is by recycling milk jugs that would usually be thrown out.
I was inspired to make this because...
- I needed to water my small garden out front and this is an ecofriendly way to do so.
- I wanted to help my community's waterways by collecting the rain water.
- My dad wants to become a more ecofriendly family and I believe this is helping that dream come true!
You should make this because...
- It is made of mainly recyclable materials.
- It doesn't cost too much to build.
- It will help you to go green!
In this video, I drained a small amount of water from my rain barrel to show how it works.
I hope you enjoy building your Milk Container 4 Gallon Rain Barrel!
Step 1: Materials
- Four 1 gallon milk/water containers.
- 6 ft of 1/2 inch plastic tubing
- A craft knife
- A ruler
- Gorilla Glue
- Sugru (5 g)
- A large alligator clip (not the kind you use in electronics)
- 2 milk crates (I got mine for free at a local dairy store)
- Plastic Solo (Or other brand) cup
- A drill
- 3/4" drill bit
Step 2: Plans
The design I am choosing to make this rain barrel allows all 4 gallons to be drained at once instead of only having 1 or 2 gallons available to drain. As you can see in the plans above, the diagram will drain all four gallons, and when the rain is filling them up, they will all fill evenly.
You may be thinking that all the water will automatically drain out of the hose at the end, but if you hold the end of the hose higher than the level of water, no water will come out. The way we will be holding the hose up in the air will be by a clip on the crate.
Step 3: Washing and Preparing
Step 4: Making the Two Gallon Containers
Now that you have drawn the lines in which you will cut, take out your craft knife. Make sure you are cautious when dealing with the sharp blade of the knife. Cut along all of the solid lines on the second jug and pop out the square in the middle. With the other jug, cut along the solid lines but fold on the dotted line so there is a flap sticking out of the jug. In order to make the jug with the flap slide into the other jug, you may want to make your flap a tiny bit narrower until it fits into the other square tightly.
Do the same to your other two jugs.
Step 5: Gluing Together the Jugs
Step 6: Connecting the Two Containers
Start by drawing a 2" by 2" square on both of the gallons in one of the groups of two. Draw a 2"x2" square on the other set of two as well, but this time make sure the bottom line is dotted so you know to fold there. Cut on all of the solid lines using a craft knife and a cutting board. Fold down on the dotted lines and your result should look like the picture above.
Step 7: Finishing the Container
In order to keep pressure on area being glued, put a few large rubber bands around all four gallons and if that doesn't do the trick, try clamping it or putting weights on top of it. I even used a few hammers to weigh this down. Wait at least 8-12 hours to allow the glue to fully expand and dry.
Step 8: Drilling the Crate
First, we are going to need to drill a 3/4 of an inch hole in the milk crate so the hose coming from the container can stick through. Make sure you drill your hole in the same area that I drilled mine in the picture above.
Step 9: Attatching the Hose
To ensure that no water will leak out of any cracks around the hose, we will need to waterproof that area with sugru. First cut your sugru out of the packet and roll it around in your fingers for a few seconds. Then wrap it around the area where the hose meets the jug and squish it all in place. Make sure that you really stick it to both the hose and the jug to guarentee that no water will leak. Allow 24 hours for the sugru to cure.
While waiting for the sugru to cure, you can attatch your alligator clip to the top of the crate so the hose can stay there and not drain the water while in use.
Step 10: Making the Entry for Water (Input)
The way we can avoid these problems is by securing small square of bug screen onto the top of the jug that also houses the hose. The screen will be held on with a rubberband. Now to make a "funnel" for water to get to that opening, we must cut the bottom off of our solo cup. Gorilla glue that cup on top of the jug as shown in the second picture.
To attatch a gutter to this, you will want to have the gutter let its water out directly into the cup where it will slowly drain into the barrel. If the barrel fills the water will overflow that cup instead of backing up your gutters.
Step 11: Troubleshooting
- Your gorilla glue connections are most likely too weak and you will have to redo all of the gluing.
- Your milk jugs may have a small hole in them from the craft knife and you may want to patch or replace them.
If your hose is leaking at the connection...
- You may have not given the sugru enough time to cure and you should wait 24 hours.
- Your sugru connection might not completely seal out the water and this can be fixed by replacing the sugru.
Step 12: Ideas
Another idea would be to make another milk jug rain barrel and stack it on top of your first one. Then have the hose of the barrel on top lead directly to the inlet on the barrel below so you would end up with an 8 gallon rain barrel. The reason I didn't do this is because 8 gallons is completely unnecessary for a small garden like mine. You could continue expanding the capacity of these barrels to hold more and more water for a larger garden or for other purposes.
Step 13: Enjoy!