How to Make a Wooden Rain Barrel

Recycling is important, and homeowners are constantly seeking sustainable alternatives for their homes. Rain can be harvested with a wooden rain barrel, which collects the water for use in other areas of the home and garden. When it rains, the water is usually wasted, going into the storm drains. Building your own wooden rain barrel can help lower your utility bills by providing water for things such as washing your car, watering plants, etc. Wooden rain barrels are affordable (you can pick up a used barrel at a variety of places) and easy to build.

Recycled wooden rain barrels are inexpensive and easy to make.

Step 1

Cut a perfectly round 6-inch hole on the top of your wooden rain barrel, using a 6-inch hole saw, keyhole saw, saber saw or drywall saw. Then drill two holes in the barrel using the 29/32-inch drill bit. One near the top will be used as an overflow; the one toward the bottom is to place the faucet.

Step 2

Twist a ¾-inch NPT pipe tap into the upper hole, then untwist the tap and back it out of the hole. Do the same for the lower hole.

Step 3

Rinse out the wooden barrel using 2 tsp. of mild soap and 2 tsp. of vinegar (or lemon juice) per gallon of water.

Step 4

A brass faucet will withstand years of sustained use.

Twist the threaded side of the hose adapter into the top 3/4-inch hole. Wrap the threaded side of the brass fauct with Teflon tape, with enough rotations to cover all the threads.Twist the prepared end of the faucet into the hole towards at the bottom of the barrel.

Step 5

Cover the 6-inch hole in the top of the barrel with a 6-inch louvered screen, screen side down. This will help prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your rain barrel.

Step 6

A hose adapter will direct the overflow away from your home.

Place a hose onto the adapter at the top of the barrel; this will direct the overflow water away from your home.

Step 7

Put the cinder blocks under the gutter downspout and place the barrel on top of them. Then cut the downspout about 4 inches above the top of the wooden barrel before adding the elbow and making any final adjustments that are needed.

Step 8

Place a hose on the faucet for redirecting the water to a watering can or other container.


  • Harvested water should not be used for drinking, cooking or bathing.
  • Always make sure the lid of the rain barrel is secure to prevent anything from falling into it.
  • If a moss killer or other chemical has been used on the roof located above your rain barrel, don’t collect the runoff until after a couple of rainy periods.

About the Author

Judy Pugh is a freelance writer and self-published author with more than 25 years of experience. Her experience includes article marketing, SEO articles, website content, press releases, free reports, online and offline newsletters, blogs and a nonfiction book titled "Reporting for Doodie: One Grandmother's Story of Commitment, Frustration and Unwavering Love."