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How to Make a Homemade Rain Barrel


How to Make a Homemade Rain Barrel
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I am going to go out on a limb (but it’s a very sturdy limb) and say that no matter if you are a prepper, a gardener, into sustainable living, or just want to have a green yard in the hot summer – nothing gives you more bang for your buck than collecting rainwater for gardening.

I think that preppers, hippies, green living advocates, and just about everyone else can use these instructions for making a DIY rain barrel.

Now, if you live in some crazy collectivist state that has decreed that water falling from the sky is government property then this project isn’t for you – otherwise a rain barrel is something everyone should have.

I am not going to talk about diverters, even though I used an Oatey Mystic and found it extremely easy to use. I just want to give you a simple method of creating a rain barrel for very little cost.


  • Surplus plastic 55 gallon drum that held coconut oil – use a food grade barrel. A new potable water barrel will cost several times more than a food grade surplus drum, and will not make the water “potable” since the roof, gutter, and other parts are not certified food grade.
  • ½ inch long ¾ inch pipe nipple
  • ¾ 90 degree elbow
  • 6 inch long ¾ pipe nipple
  • ¾ drain
  • ¾ inch coupler
  • Teflon tape
  • Tools
  • Drill with a ¾ bit


  • Clean drum to remove any prior contents
  • Use Teflon tape on all connections for a watertight seal.
  • Screw ½ nipple and 6 inch nipple into the 90 elbow
  • Screw coupler on free end of the 6 inch pipe nipple
  • Drill a ¾ inch hole in the center of the bung.
  • Screw ½ nipple into bung, get tight, but ensure that the pipe extends perpendicular to an imaginary centerline extending through the bung and along the radius of the barrel.
  • With the bung facing up, screw the drain into the coupler until it is tight and the open end of the couple is also facing up.
  • Take the drum outside, flip over and support with blocks or other stand so that the drain is facing down and the barrel is level.
  • Drill a hole as close in diameter to the water collection system hose as possible in the top of the barrel as it sits on site. Make sure the hose coming from your water collector will reach your hole. For esthetic purposes I try to make this hole as close to the gutter as possible
  • Insert drain hose into hole.

I try to keep the inlet hole as small as possible to keep mosquitoes from being able to lay eggs in the water barrel.
Remember that this is not potable water without further treatment, but it works very well for gardening.

Published inDIY Prepper ProjectsKitchen & Farm

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