55 Gallon Drum Ideas

Paul Young

There are many different uses for 55 gallon drums. You can use 55 gallon drums for projects around the home or for a variety of other applications that even include a do-it-yourself pontoon boat.

There are many uses for 55 gallon drums.

Fifty-five gallon drums can be purchased from companies that sell containers or obtained from businesses such as car washes that sometimes give their used 55 gallon drums away.

Rain Water Harvesting

You can use a 55 gallon drum in a rain water harvesting system. Use the drum as the water reservoir. You can make a water reservoir out of a 55 gallon drum by making a few modifications to the drum. The modifications to a drum basically involve drilling holes in the bottom or at the base of the drum and installing pipes or tubing to make water outlets, drilling a hole at the top for overflow and making a hole in the lid for the water to enter the drum.


A simple use for a 55 gallon drum is a planter. You can use a 55 gallon drum as a planter by cutting the drum in half, which will actually give you two planters, if you use the top half as well as the bottom half. You can half the drum either in the middle around the girth of the barrel or half the drum down the middle from top to bottom. The latter method will give you a longer, shallower planter with a lower profile, which would be ideal for planting a flower bed. Halving the drum around the girth produces a planter that is suitable for larger plants, trees or shrubs.

Homemade Raft

Fifty-five gallon drums can be used to make a homemade raft. This novel approach to making a raft uses the drums for the floatation devices. The top of a 55 gallon drum raft is made of plywood; the plywood is bolted to 2-by-4 inch wood. The 55 gallon drums are attached to the platform with steel cables that are threaded though eye screws secured to the 2-by-4s.

Light Bulb Oven

A unique use for a 55 gallon metal drum is a light bulb powered oven. To make a light bulb oven out of a 55 gallon drum, you need to have a machinist to cut the drum in half lengthwise. After the drum is cut in half, drill holes in the top of the drum for installing 200 or 100 watt light bulbs. Other material needed for this project include aluminum-backed duct insulation, aluminum tape, light bulb sockets, heavy-gauge insulated lamp wire and paving bricks. The wire, sockets and insulation form the internal part of oven, and the oven sits on the paving bricks.