BL Workshop

Build a rain barrel

Conserve water by collecting rainwater and using it for your garden or lawn.

Rain Barrel Photo


  • Recycled food barrel (try checking with large restaurants or food distributors)
  • 2 to 4 concrete blocks (to allow room for a bucket to fit under the spigot)
  • 3/4-inch hose spigot
  • Drill
  • Saber saw
  • 3/4 x 1-1/4-inch threaded pipe nipple (used as overflow connector)
  • Window screen
  • PVC cement


1. Wash out the barrel with a solution of 1/8-cup bleach and 5 gallons of water.

2. Drill a 15/16-inch hole a few inches from the bottom of the barrel. Thread the spigot halfway into the barrel, apply PVC cement onto the threads and continue screwing it in until snug.

3. Using the same procedure as the spigot, install the 3/4-inch overflow connector a few inches from the top of the barrel.

4. Choose a good spot for the rain barrel. It needs to be close to a rain downspout and a short distance from your plants and gardens.

5. Raise the barrel off the ground by placing it on concrete blocks. Reconfigure the downspout so it empties directly into the barrel. Use the screen to cover the open hole in the barrel to prevent insects or debris from getting in.

6. If you’ve installed an overflow, you can attach a hose and direct the water to another part of your yard.

Comments about “Build a rain barrel”

  1. Ma Ma says:

    Thank you this is exactly what I was looking for

  2. Smart Guy says:

    My dad found actual rain barrels inside a car wash.

  3. learn2shoot says:

    Be sure to check local laws collecting rain water is actually illegal in some areas.

  4. shark tooth says:


  5. lol says:

    Where do you get the barrels?

  6. Budde says:

    I goggled….Where to buy food grade rain barrels in my state and found a great source less than two blocks from my work!

  7. Green Scout says:

    I made one of these two years ago and I cannot use the water fast enough! I love it and have yet to have problems with Mosquitos. I use the water on my flower beds, vegetable garden, and have a bottle of camp soap on it to wash my hands too!

    • Mauro says:

      Guys, anyone having trouble with mosquitos is because you didn’t read carefully enough. In the listings of the materials you will need it says “Window screen”. Just take out the top of the barrel, place the window screen, and screw the top back on.

    • Fang says:

      One drop of oil puts a shean on the water misquotes can’t break thru it. Your safe frm the varmints do not drink tho

    • whoda thunk says:

      One trick for mosquitos if the barrel always has “some” water and is in a shady, not-too-hot spot is to put a goldfish in there. It has to be bigger than the spout though! It will eat the mosquito larvae and it’s poo will add nitrogen to your garden.

  8. Heavy J says:

    If you gather rain off your roof, be aware the water that runs over any shingles or tar will be full of nastiness not recommended for food growing. grass, probably ok.

    • seascout291 says:

      Great project – wish we’d thought of it – we bought a commercially built water barrel. Standing water may allow mosquitoes to breed – get some beneficial bacteria mosquito control rings at your garden or home improvement center. The bacteria eat the mosquito larvae. The screening alone may not prevent mosquitoes … and you don’t want to potentially spread disease like West Nile.

    • brother of eagle. says:

      hey to prevent that stuff getting in the baRREL PUT AFEW layers of tightly woven screen over the hole then it will filter out the bad stuff so the you can use it for growing

    • pie says:

      is it ok for flowers?

      • Anonymous says:

        yeah just put a screen on it and some fertilizer in and good water but you should use a bucket to water the flowers

    • mother earth says:

      add a tablespoon or two of salad oil to the barrel. The oil provides a barrier to the mosquitos and won’t hurt the barrel or the plants.

  9. sparky says:

    wouldent you think it would rust if it was metal

  10. outdoor man says:

    this is great!My MoM and DaD are going to make this this summer.

  11. Boy Scout Man says:

    One problem, Mission Viejo dosen’t get much rain!

  12. BD says:

    This sounds like a great way to go green!

  13. lolhalo says:

    to sniper: LoL!!

  14. Zara says:

    Wow! Neat Idea!

  15. fsdafda says:

    cool i will talk to my faimly about it

  16. sniper says:

    mine got zapped by lighting!!!!!!!!

  17. cindy says:

    really good project gonna try it and post the out come

  18. SHorty says:

    Great project. I built one. How about a hovercraft project?

  19. mushmom says:

    not sure if itll work… it might leak

  20. dina says:

    great…i like to see this article

  21. historygeek says:

    Looks great

  22. yfdguyds says:

    where will I get a barrels? from a store.

  23. yfdguyds says:

    where will I get a barrels from a store

  24. yfdguyds says:

    where will i get a barrels

    • Opie Wan Kenopi says:

      You can also contact a local car wash owner, they get soap and water treatment in large blue barrels. Most of these barrels are not the lidded style though. But that works out fine for a water barrel. Just clean it well I recomend letting watter sit in it for several days after a good clean then dumping it. (sometimes the soaps and treatment leech into the plastic).

  25. KingScout says:

    I bet lowes as some barrels cause after all lowes knows

  26. JustUrIrishLuck says:

    I would love to conserve water, but this is a lot tougher than it sounds. Be careful on this one… it’s super tricky!

  27. ScoutCommish says:

    This is a great project guys! It may take a little time and effort to get the stuff to do it, but ask your parents or another adult for help and it will be much easier to get the parts.
    Car washes, restaurants, pickle processors all will have these barrels. Just look around. You’ll be surprised.

  28. Mikethemaster says:

    go green!!!

  29. phillis says:

    cool status

  30. macinsplince says:

    its kind of nerdy but cool

  31. mommyof2leader2wolves says:

    You can get your rain barrel at a full service car wash.

  32. doodles says:

    this is so fun

  33. jordan4762 says:

    Higuy, It Says Ask A Resturant!!

  34. qwerty says:

    cool )= -o

  35. SKITT KID says:

    Im going to start to build this today. What a way to conserve water!!!!

  36. scoutsislife says:

    this is really cool i never thought to do this this is a really good idea i really like it. i am going to build one for my family

  37. T-BIZKIT says:

    Wow! Sounds great! Mabey I can make one in less a hour!

  38. red barren says:

    wow maybe i can get my awesome troop leader to get my aesome troop members to do this

  39. LH man says:

    i think it is a totally rad way of saving H2O

  40. willey says:

    this is fun

  41. b man says:

    man how do i get all that stuff

  42. good project says:

    this is very cool and very usefull

  43. i am green says:

    this is a great project.yes , i am green.i agree w/higuy-where will i get a barrel?

  44. higuy says:

    Where should I get a barrel?

  45. anybody says:

    looks like im the first one

  46. bud says:

    not what i expected

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