How to Make a Simple Rain Gauge

How to Make a Simple Rain Gauge. There are a variety of commercial rain gauges available on the market, however making a simple rain gauge is quick, easy and only costs as much as a plastic bottle. Chances are you already have everything you need to make this simple rain gauge, which is fun to construct, and interesting to use. Read on to learn how to make a simple rain gauge.

Step 1

Cut the top off of your plastic bottle.  Cut about a quarter of the way down, to where the bottle begins to have a consistent diameter. Be careful to cut the edge as smoothly as possible, salvaging both pieces of the bottle. 

Step 2

Remove the bottle cap and turn the top part of the bottle upside down, placing it into the bottom part.  Connect the two halves with paper clips.

Step 3

Place the plastic bottle rain gauge in a location where it will easily collect rain without impediment from surrounding trees, plants or buildings. 

Step 4

Help your rain gauge stand upright by placing it in a sand or gravel filled bucket.  Simply make a hole in the sand or gravel large enough that half the bottle gauge sits into the pit. Use the gravel or sand to support the edges of the bottle gauge. 

Step 5

Measure the amount of rain caught by your gauge by emptying the contents of the bottle rain gauge into a measuring cylinder. 

Things You Will Need

  • 2 liter plastic bottle (with consistent diameter)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Paper clips
  • Bucket full of sand or gravel
  • Measuring cylinder


  • For accurate readings, your rain gauge should be emptied regularly, preferably at the same time everyday.
  • Eliminate inaccuracy in readings due to evaporation by placing your rain gauge in a cool location away from direct sunlight.
  • To measure hail or snow, remove the inverted bottle top to better collect your sample. Melt the ice or snow before measuring.

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