How to Make a Rain Barrel From a Pickle Barrel

Introduction: How to Make a Rain Barrel From a Pickle Barrel

A diligent man works for the future. A lazy man creates work for the future."

A statement like this could be applied to the environment. It is important that we work together to help improve the future by looking after the environment, but what can be done to help? One thing is to make a rain barrel! Before we learn to make a rain barrel it is important to understand what a rain barrel is and why it is important.

What is a rain barrel?
A rain barrel is a barrel used as a cistern to hold water [1]. Rain barrels work by collecting water typically from roof downspouts where they store the water for future use. Rain barrels come in many different sizes and can be made from a lot of different containers, but today we are going to use a 55 gallon pickle barrel.

Why are rain barrels useful?
Rain barrels are useful because they help prevent storm water runoff from flowing into lakes, rivers, streams, etc. This helps prevent erosion and maintain strong local infrastructures. They are also helpful because they allow people to water flowers, wash cars, water lawns, etc. without using tap water [2].

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Step 1: Parts and Tools Needed

Parts Needed
-1 1” threaded female adapter
-1 1" threaded male adapter
-1 55 gallon pickling barrel (or any food grade plastic barrel)
-2-3 Cement blocks
-Hardware cloth
-1 1” faucet
-6  zinc/stainless steel bolts
-6 zinc/stainless steel nuts
-Teflon plumbers tape
-Silicone rubber sealant
-24' corrugated hose
-1 1 1/4" NPT male adapter
-1 steel hose clamp

Tools Needed
-1" spade drill bit
-1 1/4" spade drill bit
-Jig Saw or reciprocating saw

(not all tools and parts shown in below image)

Step 2: Installing the Faucet

-Use the 1" spade bit to drill a hole 6" from the bottom of the barrel for the faucet
-Wrap the 1" faucet with the Teflon tape and then screw on the 1" threaded female adapter 
-Push the threaded part of the threaded male adapter through the drilled hole from the inside of  the barrel
-Screw the threaded female adapter/faucet onto the threaded end of the threaded male adapter
-Apply the silicone rubber sealant around the base of the outside components
-The faucet is now istalled

Step 3: Installing Overflow

-Use 1 1/4" spade drill bit to drill a hole 6" from the top of the barrel
-Push 1 1/4" adapter through the hole 
-Attach the corrugated hose to the adapter
-Attach the steel hose clamp where the corrugated hose goes over the adapter
-The overflow is installed

Step 4: Installing the Screen

-Use the jigsaw/reciprocating saw to cut a hole out of the lid
-Use scissors to cut the hardware cloth into a circle the size of the inside of the lid
-After placing the hardware cloth in the lid, while holding it taught, drill 6 equally spaced holes through the cloth and inner lip of the lid
-Push the bolts through the drilled holes and screw the nuts on from the other side
-Place the lid/screen back on the barrel and screw the ring back on, securing the screen.

Step 5: Cement Blocks

-Place your cement blocks equally apart under where you plan to collect water
-Gently lift your rain barrel on to the blocks (make sure your faucet and overflow are facing the desired direction)

Step 6: Finished

Congratulations! You have just finished constructing your rain barrel. I hope you find it helpful.

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    3 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job. If you need additional parts to make your rain barrel function better you'll find them here:


    6 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks! and there is an Ace Hardware close to where I live that sells them. You can typically get a pickle barrel at farm supply type stores, but not all places sell them.


    6 years ago on Step 6

    Great Post!
    Where did you get your pickle barrel?