Turn a Wine Barrel Into an Outdoor Sink




Introduction: Turn a Wine Barrel Into an Outdoor Sink

Turn an ordinary wine barrel into both a functional and decorative sink for outdoor use. You can use a variety of sinks and faucets to achieve the look or budget you desire.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

One 55 gallon oak barrel
Bar sink (mine is a 15" hand pounded copper sink)
Faucet (I used an oil-rubbed brass single lever faucet)
Copper roofing nails (If using a copper sink)
Silicon sealer (my sink came with a bronze colored silicon)
Sink drain (my sink came with a drain)
Metal support straps to hold the door wood together
Door hardware (hinges, handle and latch)
Water in connectors (this will vary on your water source)
Plastic drain extender
Connectors to go from drain extender to sump pump connector
Hose drain (I used a sump pump tubing)
ABS glue if using the plastic drain to sump pump hose as in Instructable
#8 3/4" stainless screws to secure the wood staves to the metal rings
000 steel wool to sand the metal rings for painting
Metal paint primer (for barrel rings)
Metal paint (for barrel rings)
Painters masking tape
Deck stain/water repellent (for oak staves)
Paint/stain brushes

Electric Drill with titanium drill bits for drilling metal rings and sink if necessary
Jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade to cut oak
Miter or other hand saw with fine-tooth blade
Screwdriver or screw bit for drill
Pliers for shaping the metal rings and hinges to fit wood curvature
Crescent wrench(s) for attaching hose connectors to faucet.
Clamps for securing wood while assembling the door

Step 2: Locating a Wine Barrel

If you are lucky enough to live in a region with lots of wineries, you should have no problem locating a barrel, sometimes for FREE. Often, around the time of harvest, wineries will have barrels to unload just call a few wineries to see what their policy is for used barrels.

I bought mine for around $40 from a place that makes all kinds of products from barrels but they also sell them whole. Another source is www.winebusiness.com/classifieds/usedbarrels/. New barrels can be pretty pricey but used ones run anywhere from free to about $65.

Step 3: Choose Your Sink and Faucet

This part is really up to you and what you want to use if for and how much you want to spend. You could go the route of using a stainless steel bar sink and just some galvanized pipe and spigot for your faucet or dress it up a bit like I chose to. I actually picked up both the sink and faucet on ebay. The sink was $160 and the faucet ran about $80.

Step 4: Securing the Wood Staves

Before you can cut any of the wood staves, you need to secure them to the metal rings. The way that the barrel is constructed, if you remove a portion of the vertical boards (staves) the pieces above and below the opening will fall out.

I secured this wood by drilling two different holes through the metal ring and underlying wood. I used #8 3/4" stainless screws. The hole through the metal was just large enough to allow the screw through but I drilled the wood with a smaller bit to just create a pilot hole to prevent the wood from splitting.

I placed a screw above and below each wood stave that was being removed. I did this process for both the door access and the opening to bring in and remove water at the bottom.

Step 5: Create the Opening for the Door and Water

For the door portion, I used a miter saw to start cutting the wood and finished the cuts with a jigsaw. I used the hand saw to just cut through to allow the jigsaw in and complete the cut. I started at about the middle of my total length because I had to cut into about three staves before I cut through one completely.

For the opening for the water access and drain, I didn't care about the wood that would be removed, so I just used a drill to make a pilot hole for the jigsaw to make the cuts. I did however want to save the door pieces, so the hand saw gave me a clean finish.

I used the top and bottom of two of the metal rings to create a clean straight line. Determine the size of your door. Remember that the barrel consists of vertical strips of wood that can vary slightly in width. Before you cut, locate the ends of the staves at the beginning and end of your opening.

The nice thing with these boards, is you only have to make horizontal cuts and your vertical lines are formed by the staves for a nice clean look.

If you want to have a door versus just an opening, save the wood staves.

Step 6: Assembling the Door

Once the two cuts for the door opening are made, be sure to mark the boards so you know the order that they should be reassembled.

While making this one I discovered that these wood staves don't necessarily want to go back to the same shape that they were when connected to the barrel. I used metal strips found in the hardware/roofing section at the hardware store. There are a variety of sizes available. For me, I had to trim off a couple of inches with a hack saw to fit this door.

The wood will want to curve so slightly bend the metal strips and connect them together, checking the opening as you go to get the correct curvature of the door to the barrel. As you can see by mine, it took some shims to get a closer match.

An alternate method would be to connect the metal strips through the top once you cut the opening for the sink and connect the metal strips while the barrel is still intact. (A method I would do if I make another one.)

Step 7: Sink and Faucet Cut Outs

After finding the center of the barrel, I placed the copper sink upside down on the the top of the barrel and traced the outer flange. I then measured in 7/8" to allow a lip to secure the sink.

I made a pilot hole on the inside portion of the sink to get the jigsaw blade into to cut out the sink. You may have to make a few pilot holes if you are not able to turn the jigsaw at the corners of the sink opening.

I used a hole saw to make the opening for the faucet. With the single-lever style, I cut a 1 1/4" hole for the faucet.

A few boards towards the front of the sink were not glued well, so I secured them together with a couple of nail/staples as shown.

The barrel tops are usually glued well but this barrel was not as secure as I would have liked.

Step 8: Prepping the Outside

This portion is up to you on how you want the outside finished. You could go au natural and let it weather over time or treat it to protect the oak and metal, I chose to protect.

I first sanded the metal rings with a #000 steel wool to remove any rust or film. I taped above and below each metal ring with painters blue masking tape,  applied a metal primer and four coats of the black satin paint to the rings.
I used metal primer and a latex-based Rust-o-leum satin black paint for the rings.

Make sure that you choose paint that does not react with galvanized metal  as some oil based paints can.

I used a deck stain/water repellent on the outside of the barrel with no pre-sanding to allow better absorption of the stain.

Allow to dry overnight before attaching the sink and faucet.

Step 9: Attaching the Sink and Faucet

For the sink, I drilled in eight locations to help secure the sink to the wood with the copper roofing nails. I then drilled a pilot hole slightly smaller than the copper nail into the oak through the newly created hole in the sink to prevent the oak from splitting but have some bite into the wood.

I then applied a bead of the bronze silicone along the edge of the sink opening on the barrel and faucet opening and placed the sink and faucet into the openings.

Nail the copper roofing nails into place and then place additional silicon along the outer flange of the sink, faucet and the top of the barrel for better waterproofing.

The copper nails will weather and get a nice brown patina color once out in the elements.

Allow the silicon to completely dry before connecting water source.

Step 10: Attach the Door Hinges and Hardware

You can use whatever you like to attach the door to the barrel.
Make sure that you choose something that will allow you to follow the slight curve of the door or are short enough to allow them to be straight.

First attach the hinges to the door.
Align the hinge to the outside of the barrel to allow the door to open freely.
(You may need to sand or slight trim the door or opening to allow the door to close/open easily.)

I placed a couple of door stops to help keep the door flush to the barrel when closed.

I chose to place a latch on the door (which is actually a window sash latch) but again, the type of hardware you use is totally up to you and the look you want.

Step 11: Water Hookups and Drain

The faucet I used came with two braided water hoses that needed a few parts to allow connection to a hose bib. The plumbing department can assist you in getting the right connectors based on the type of faucet you go with.

I will only have cold water coming in, so I capped off the hot water side.

Use an extension to the sink drain. Add pipe adapters to connect flexible hose and then the flexible hose (sump pump hose) for drainage. I used a plastic strap to prevent the hose adapter from coming off the pipe extension.

Step 12: Connect to Water

Connect your water source, (in this example, a hose bib) to check for any leaks and proper drainage.

If all goes well, your done and can enjoy the look and use of your new wine barrel sink.

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    3 years ago

    GENIOUS! We bought one a few years ago at a liquor store going out of business. We first saw a wine barrel with corks on the top and put a glass table on it to use on our deck. We hot glued all the corks in and in about two months it was a mess. Not good to leave in the sunlight. We took it off our deck and it has been sitting in the garage for two years. NOW, THANKS TO YOU, I HAVE A NEW PURPOSE IN LIFE FOR MY WINE BARREL! ON THE DECK! PICS TO FOLLOW!


    I am attempting to turn a wine barrel into a wet-bar for my loft and have run into problems with the door hinges. I used strap hinges as you did and have sanded a champher on the hinge side of both the door and the barrel. However when I try to open the door, the hinges bind. I noticed when I remove 2 of the 3 screws on the hinge, the door works well but the hinge attempts to swivel to one side or the other which is obviously what’s binding. Any ideas?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    You know I have to do one of these for my deck now... thanks a lot... another project my wife will fuss at me for... LOL

    Seriously good idea and you did a real nice job putting it together.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Where is the best place to find a wine barrel?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Wineries are of course your best bet. I have also seen them at my local hardware store for around $50. Wineries often get rid of barrels after a couple of years of use. Harvest time in the late summer/fall is a good time to check around with them.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Wonderfull!,wondering if it would be possible to hook up to a rain barrel system?My concern would be draining the grey water,I can't imagine my garden would enjoy soapy water,maybe a special soap?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    If you look at a lot of the DIY garden tonics, you will see dish soap listed as one of the ingredients. It does everything from coating the leaves to prevent sunburn on the leaves to deterring boring pests. When I was little and we had apples trees, we would dump the dish water at the base of the trees to prevent moles and other diggers from burrowing into the dirt.

    If you read post about compost piles, They say that dish water is OK as long as it is not too greasy and doesnt contain other chemicals besides dish liquid.

    Please check out post at the forestry service


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You can buy biodegradable soap. I would try a health food store.


    If you live a an area with wineries that is the best place to start. Wineries only use barrels a few times. You should contact some and see when they might have some available. Sometimes you can even get them for free.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    These things go for about $900 online if you can find them, so it could be a lucrative project, depending on your supplies and patience. ;)


    12 years ago on Introduction

    That is beautiful!  In my climate I'd be concerned about water on the "countertop".  Perhaps a epoxy resin coat would waterproof it and preserve the wood? 

    These would be awesome to see at craft fairs!!

    (and the barrels would make good rain barrel covers, maybe)


    13 years ago on Introduction

     This is really coooolll 

    Very nice instructable too.

    you could also put a bucket in the bottom for the drain?


    13 years ago on Step 3

     Very nice finish, this could be turned into a "hand pump" with grey water retention capability.

    Do you find the sink hole gets blocked or do you cover it from the elements?


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    This is brand new so I haven't had it outside yet. I do have a sink strainer in it to prevent stuff from getting inside.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    Esta muy bonito, que buena idea. : D México