How to Build a Rain Barrel for Cheap

It is so simple that everyone can do it. If you have a roof on your house, you can catch the rain. Although you can purchase rain barrels – you can also make one very inexpensively.

Why Build a Rain Barrel

    • It will reduce your water bill because you will no longer need to pay for water for outdoor use.
    • It will help reduce the demand on the sewer system.
    • It helps to protect the quality of streams and groundwater.
    • It puts your roof to use. A 2,500 square foot house can capture around 1500 gallons of water with 1 inch of rainfall.

How to Build a Rain Barrel

Tools needed:

  • Drill
  • 1 inch spade bit
  • Tin snips
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Utility knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Hacksaw

Materials Needed:

  • One plastic food grade barrel – 55 – 60 gallons
  • 3/4 inch hose spigot with locknut
  • 3/4 inch hose adapter with lock nut
  • Teflon tape
  • 2 concrete blocks
  • Window screen mesh
  • Bungee cord
  • Downspout elbow
  • Cinching strap with screws


  1. Open up and wash out your barrel to prepare it for use. Make sure to use a food grade barrel.
  2. Drill several 1 inch holes in the lid of the barrel to use as the water holes. These are the locations where the water will come into the barrel.
  3. Drill a 1-inch hole on the front of the barrel 2-inches from the bottom. Drill a second hole on the side of the barrel 2-inches from the top.
  4. Wrap the threads of the spigot in teflon tape and screw it into the bottom hole and tighten it with a locknut.
  5. Wrap the threads of the hose adapter in teflon tape and screw it into the top hole and tighten with a lock nut. This will be the overflow. You can attach a short piece of hose to direct the water away from the barrel or simply let it flow out of the adapter.
  6. Cut a piece of wire mesh to fit slightly larger than the top of the barrel. Wrap the screening over the barrel and then wrap a bungee cord around it to hold it in place. This will keep bugs, and particularly mosquito larvae, out of your barrel.
  7. Place the concrete blocks side by side below the downspout to serve as a level stand for the barrel. Place the barrel on top of the blocks.
  8. Cut the downspout off about 12-inches above the top of the rainbarrel. Attach a downspout elbow using a cinching strap so water from the gutter is directed into the barrel. Your rain barrel is now ready for use.

Rain BarrelTips:

  • Empty your rain barrel in the late fall if you are in a climate where it freezes
  • Put one cup of mouthwash in your rain barrel to keep the mosquitoes away
  • Connect a soaker hose to your rain barrel for watering garden plants
  • Use rainwater for your indoor plants as well as it is soft and free from damaging minerals and chlorine
  • Do not use collected water for drinking, cooking or bathing
  • Join multiple barrels together for more storage

-The Alternative Daily

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