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How to Make a Rain Barrel

Don't let that rainwater go to waste. This easy, recycled rain barrel project puts money back in your pocket.

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Photo: Mick Telkamp

Conserve Water, Build a Rain Barrel!

A rain barrel is a great way to go green, using captured rain water to water the garden, lawn or even houseplants. For this project we use a recycled barrel and create a stylish cover with simple fence pickets and rope. 

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Choosing a Barrel

Plastic barrels suitable for use as a rain barrel can be purchased new, but many can be found secondhand for a fraction of the cost. We're using a recycled food-grade barrel originally used for shipping pickles found on Craigslist. Wherever you get it, make sure it's a food-grade barrel to avoid passing on any residual contaminants into your garden.

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You Will Need

55-gallon plastic barrel with screw-top lid / two 3/4" male iron pipe x 3/4" male hose thread garden hose adapters / one 3/4" threaded boiler drain / three 3/4" female iron pipe adapters / six 1 3/4" reducing washers / one tube silicone sealant / 2 feet of window screen / 2 cinder blocks / twenty 1/2” x 4” x 6’ fence pickets / 40 feet 5/8” manila rope / 1 quart outdoor-rated wood stain or paint / four 3/4" screws / adjustable drain spout diverter / drill with 1-inch bit, 3-inch hole saw bit and Phillips head screwdriver bit / adjustable wrench / utility knife / miter saw or handsaw / bungee cord / stain rag or paintbrush / level

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Add a Faucet

To create a faucet that can be used to fill watering cans or attach a garden hose, measure 1 foot from the base of the barrel and drill a hole using a 1-inch drill bit. If the edges of hole are spurred, use a razor blade to trim any excess plastic.

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