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How to build a rain barrel for collecting rainwater

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

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



  • 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

Rain Barrel Photo


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.

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27 Comments on How to build a rain barrel for collecting rainwater

  1. where will I get a barrels? from a store.

  2. where will I get a barrels from a store

  3. where will i get a barrels

    • Opie Wan Kenopi // May 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm // Reply

      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).

  4. I bet lowes as some barrels cause after all lowes knows

  5. JustUrIrishLuck // June 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm // Reply

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

  6. ScoutCommish // June 9, 2009 at 7:19 pm // Reply

    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.

  7. Mikethemaster // May 27, 2009 at 7:26 am // Reply

    go green!!!

  8. cool status

  9. macinsplince // May 26, 2009 at 9:43 pm // Reply

    its kind of nerdy but cool

  10. mommyof2leader2wolves // May 26, 2009 at 8:21 pm // Reply

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

  11. this is so fun

  12. jordan4762 // May 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm // Reply

    Higuy, It Says Ask A Resturant!!

  13. cool )= -o

  14. SKITT KID // May 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm // Reply

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

  15. scoutsislife // May 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm // Reply

    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

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

  17. red barren // May 25, 2009 at 5:07 pm // Reply

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

  18. i think it is a totally rad way of saving H2O

  19. this is fun

  20. man how do i get all that stuff

  21. good project // May 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm // Reply

    this is very cool and very usefull

  22. i am green // May 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm // Reply

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

  23. Where should I get a barrel?

  24. looks like im the first one

  25. not what i expected

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