Picture of Squirt Gun Refill Station
This project was whipped together just before my son's fifth birthday party. My wife had purchased a package of a dozen or so cheap squirt guns, and I figured the kids could just fill them in a bucket. About an hour before the party I tried doing just that and found that it didn't work worth a darn.

You can fill them at a sink, but that's not a great option when you've got ten kids you'd prefer not to have running through your house. I can fill them with the hose, but only because I can squeeze the garden nozzle just a hair to allow a small trickle of water out. (My son can't.) I thought about using a small syringe, but I wasn't sure they'd be able to operate that and hold the gun at the same time, and I couldn't find one anyway. So I needed some way to make one or more slim streams of water just right to flow into the holes on the squirt guns.

This is what I hacked together in the thirty minutes or so before the party.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
Main Water Reservoir - I used a big 66 quart plastic container we had lying around. You could use a bucket, but depending on how spread out your water streams are and how high you hang it you might end up with water splashing on the ground. This one seemed to work out great.

Filling Container - I pulled a gallon milk jug out of the recycling bin. 2 liter bottles or juice containers would work fine, too. Anything that'll hold a decent amount of liquid that's easy to drill through. Don't use anything that contained anything toxic since you know kids will ultimately be drinking directly out of this, if not out of the squirt guns.

Fountain Pump - I was lucky enough to have one of these lying around. If you think you'll get a lot of use out of this idea, you can probably pick one up for $10-$15. If you want to go the cheaper, slightly more labor intensive route you can just make a larger port on the filling container and tell the kids to pour water into it by hand.

Tubing - I had some air hose in the garage I'd used for a pneumatic spud gun project so I grabbed a piece of that. You need something that'll mate with the pump outlet (if you're using one). This was 1/2" ID, I believe. You only need 2'-3', so if you don't have any, pick some up when you get the pump, if you're going that route.

Drill and Bits - You might be able to get by just poking holes in the container, but I think the water streams will be cleaner if you actually drill the holes. I used a 1/2" bit for the top two holes to hang it, and an 1/8" bit for the drain holes.

Utility Knife - In case you need to threaten your kids if they try to steal your stuff while you're working.

Twine - Anything cord or rope like you've got lying around. I used some mason's line. You'll have to thread it through the holes in the bottom, so keep that in mind before you pick something too thick.
photoace121 year ago
OMG, you should put this in the 'squeeze more out of summer' contest!
although this is an awesome idea, I must point out the child proof door knob opener on the hose nozzle. that is GENIUS! i have been cranking mine super tight because my 3yo loves turning it on... you have not only saved me water on supersoaker Sundays, but also during "off season" (Mon-Sat) when the kid is playing.
ww1aero5 years ago
Why not just hold them underwater in the plastic tub until the bubbles stop exiting?
I really thought you meant the children, and I was a little uh, yah.
gabebillings (author)  ww1aero5 years ago
It doesn't work, as I've mentioned before. At least with the cheapo guns I was using. I don't know if the hole is too small, or what. No matter how I orient the guns, they get barely a trickle into them.
Problem might be air pressure inside the gun? Maybe put another tiny air hole with a heated awl or drill, near the nozzle?
gabebillings (author)  owl box5 years ago
I'm pretty sure that's the problem. I can fill them myself, but it involved shaking the gun a little, and squeezing the trigger a little bit. The problem that my three year old wasn't quite able to go through the gyrations to get water into them. This helps with hand-eye coordination, too.
jamwaffles5 years ago
EPIC! Now someone needs to make one for the older kids, full of BBs for their arsoft rifles :P
Why not paintballs for paintball markers? :P
Lol that would also rock
Then again, all you would need would be a box of paint and a scoop...
Lol what if you were using paintballs :P
Thats what i was referring to when I said paint lol.
Oh my apologies XD
KuddlKat5 years ago
I like the tattoos. So, he's gotten 5 "kills" and is now reloading, eh?
xanxor5 years ago
Love the fact that you were in a rush but still had time to make an instructable XD
gabebillings (author)  xanxor5 years ago
This is actually v2. A day after the party I went back and rebuilt the whole thing so I could get pictures, then I wrote the Instructable.
psbatra5 years ago
SOOOOO AWESOME AND GENIUS! ...As a mother of 2 boys (3 of you count my husband) and a whole arsenal of water guns I am totally aware of how futile it is to fill the guns in a bucket of water....it just doesn't work...
Master21125 years ago
I wish i was one of those guys like you, with enough random stuff lying around to build awesome stuff with :D
how to make the power suplay and driver circuit
Ward_Nox6 years ago
so basically a fountain...damn why did i never think of that
I know! Doesn't it seem obvious once someone does it first?
kderevan5 years ago
I don't have any little ones in residence to make this for, but I want to thank you for the rich evocation of the essence of summer I got from seeing this! Takes me back to my childhood with my three brothers!
catfan635 years ago
Is that kid smoking? Sorry, I couldn't resist. Cool idea... thanks for sharing!
Kiteman6 years ago
Excellent idea, and a brilliant idea for a party; hand out the empty guns, show them the filling station, then you've got time to get safely inside before they fight starts. The adults can then spend the party watching through the window, with a nice cup of coffee. When it's time for the party to stop, switch of the power supply to the fountain and wiat until the guns run dry...
Are you kidding me??? The action is in the YARD with the KIDS!!! I can stand in the kitchen with my coffee any day, but a full-blown, all-out squirt gun fight only happens on the weekends. Put me on the list of "Dads who bring the BIG GUNS to the water fight"! I had the first Super Soaker on my street - and we didn't even have kids yet. I love that this instructible keeps the water waste to a minimum while still allowing full water action. Great idea.
Your filling station idea is brilliant! We are building one this weekend. My son is also 5, and loves to play in water, especially with the waterhose. It seems like I'm constantly after him to leave it alone, nearly every single time we go outside. I don't think it was mentioned in the text, but in a photo, I noticed one of those "baby-proof" doorknob covers over the water faucet handle. Sir, that idea is absolute GENIUS! It's rather nasty business to be attempting to build a bonfire, and catch a cold stream full-blast right between the shoulder blades. I'm going TODAY to get another doorknob cover. Thank you SO MUCH!!!
zack2475 years ago
great idea! and some incredible work done in such a short amount of time! great job!
DieCastoms5 years ago
I would love to try to build a more permanent version of this, though I love how dreadfully simple yours is..........Maybe a PVC pipe across the top with the holes in that so the water comes straight down in a line... PVC legs to support it, and an adapter up to a larger size PVC on top of one leg so you could you large drain pipe for the reservoir. Maybe this idea could double for a plant watering station or even a pet toy if you have a small dog that likes playing in water........ just an idea (or three)
reading the first sentence, you have inspired me.
KittyF5 years ago
My husband and daughters have as much fun as the grandkids, esp if they have the bigger gun. Try the 6 liter squirt gun mod on here. looks fun.
seamster6 years ago
Very nice. Thanks for posting this! (I especially got a kick out of the child safety knob on the hose faucet!)
gabebillings (author)  seamster6 years ago
Those child safety knobs are a must, otherwise I'd have $1000 water bills every month. The 5 year old can get through a door with them on, but can't make the faucets work. Yet.
I understand completely. Five year olds can be very expensive.
You think 5 is expensive...just wait until teenage years!
you could always Remove the knob ,drill a hole in a section of the handle put a piece of soild wire through it and hang the knob up high i did this one time and saved close to $600 one month
kappaema5 years ago
Youre great with kids.
frediojoe5 years ago
that is sooooooooooo cool i wish my parents did that!
vital2775 years ago
That's a pretty cool idea.
man50000006 years ago
MiKOTRON6 years ago
It looks like a lot more fun than just dunking the squirt gun in a bucket of water. I like this idea quite a bit! Great job, thanks!
zascecs6 years ago
Can't you just dump the water gun into a bucket of water? It's a lot faster and simpler to do and probably cheaper. no offense though, this is a cool instructable.
gabebillings (author)  zascecs6 years ago
You'd think so, but for some reason it doesn't work. We've got some better quality squirt guns, like mini super soakers that work fine when they're dunked. But these were super-cheap little crappy guns. When you hold them underwater, no matter which direction you turn them, they won't fill up. It sorta works if you pump it while it's underwater, but that's slow going.
soccer22916 years ago
come one, come all! Step right up to see the best invention yet. No not the cure to cancer, no Mamm not a pet washing station. The one the only, (drum roll please) THE BUCKET OF WATER
gabebillings (author)  soccer22916 years ago
Thanks for the positive comments! I'm glad you think so highly of it.
Vynash6 years ago
Hmm looks pretty cool!
Mandrew6 years ago
Really great job, but for a minute there I thought your child was smoking.
Smoking and tattoos... I was think of what a horrible father this guy was.
chopstx Mandrew6 years ago
Padlock Mandrew6 years ago
an_artist6 years ago
jeah transformers!!!
nice job ill try it 5/5
ve2vfd6 years ago
Ingenious! I love that you're not wasting water by not having the hose running non stop. You son and his friends must have had an awesome time!
bustedit ve2vfd6 years ago
right? lookit that 1st picture, almost sums up an ideal boyhood - shorts, squirtguns, tattoos and lollipops - carefree days of youth
talty bustedit6 years ago
You're completely right...
SinAmos6 years ago
Epic Quality!
nice instructable .but i think you over complicated it .wouldn't it have been easier to just set out a tub of water to dunk the empty guns in?
gabebillings (author)  somebullcrap6 years ago
As I mentioned in the intro that doesn't seem to work. I don't know what the deal is with these guns, but holding them in a bucket of water doesn't do anything. It kinda sorta works if you squeeze the trigger underwater, but it still takes a while. This works great, and it's uber-geeky, so it's a win all around.
.i don't know why but when i read things i tend to skip huge sections at a time .i think its a form of retardation of my eyes .anyway it is a nicely done instructable with a great functional result which is what counts
Worlds. Coolest. Parent.
maruawe6 years ago
Very good Nice instructions ........
Great Idea, i will try this next water fight, maybe today!
gnomedriver6 years ago
Does you son get a new Transformer tattoo for each Transformer he knocks off? Like a pilot has for every enemy plane he shoots down. Your sons an ace!
jeff-o6 years ago
Heh, that's right - always keep the biggest gun for yourself. ;)