How To Make A Rain Barrel
List of Materials
Generally all but the barrel can be purchased at McLendon Hardware, Lowe's, or Home Depot.
barrel should be food clean with a removable lid for cleaning and
assembling. Barrels come in various sizes with the most common being 60
gallons. For a heavy duty plastic barrel like these, try Walt at Milton
General Supply at (253) 922-0897 or me, Dan Borba at (253) 272-8173 or
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Something as thin as a Rubbermaid trash can might work but not quite as
well. Some local hardware stores may occasionally carry good barrels.
The Spigot & Hardware
need a ¾" hose bib spigot (½" will work too but with smaller locknut
and washer). These have male threads at one end to screw into the barrel
and at the other to attach a standard size hose. You'll also need a ¾"
galvanized locknut (McLendon's has these), a rubber washer with a 1"
inner diameter, Teflon tape, super-glue and silicone.
The Overflow Valve & Hardware
need a ¾" brass overflow valve which, like the spigot, has male threads
on either end with the outer end able to connect with the female end of
a hose (plastic will work too). These are called "male hose MIP adapter
¾ x ¾ x ½" at Lowe's and #A-665 at Home Depot. You'll also need the
locknut, rubber washer, Teflon tape, super glue, and silicone.
- Electric Drill
- 1" hole saw or drill bit (use 15/16" for very secure fit)
- Utility knife
- Needle nose pliers or wrench
- Vegetable oil and cloth
- Screw driver and ½" dozen screws (see #14)
- Mesh-screen for top filter
Making Your Very Own Catchment System (a.k.a. Rain Barrel)
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- Clean and rinse your food clean container with a mild soap and water (rainwater if you've got any yet)
a 1" hole with your hole saw or drill bit, just off the bottom of the
container for the spigot assembly. I put mine as low as possible to
maximise easy water use. It's designed to be used with a stand. I use
four cinder blocks. Note: If you are unable to reach down to the inside
bottom of the barrel, you might want to use a 15/16" bit and put the
washer on the outside of the barrel.
- Drill a 1" hole an inch or
so below the rim for your overflow valve assembly. This hole can go
anywhere around the barrel at that latitude. Keep in mind: don't put it
too close to the top (overflow) or too low (lose water storage). I
recommend you put the hole an inch/inch ½" from the lid. Please note: if
you've got a 2,000 square feet roof and those large down spouts, you
may want to get a larger overflow valve.
- Use that 1" bit to
drill a dozen or so holes in the lid. Rainwater will filter through
mesh-screen then through holes into barrel.
- Take utility knife to clean scraps around holes.
the barrel end of the spigot three times around with Teflon tape and
then screw in the spigot squarely. It should go by hand.
the rubber washer and glue the surface of one side with a strong glue and
reach into the barrel and work it over the threads. Flush with the
- Screw on the locknut and finish tightening by turning
the spigot while holding the locknut with a wrench or needle nose
pliers. You may need a second person to turn while you hold or vice
versa). Authors note: I love needle nose pliers!
- Wrap the longer
end of the overflow valve with Teflon tape three times and then screw
it into the overflow hole by hand or by using a wrench or pliers if
necessary. The outside male threads should be able to connect with a
standard size hose to divert the overflow.
- Repeat #7
on the locknut as far as possible by hand, then hold locknut while
tightening overflow valve with pliers/wrench until it flies out of your
hand or is very tight.
- Take a tube of all-purpose silicone
"goop" and apply a bead where overflow valve meets the outside of the
barrel. Note: I do this as an added sealant. It may not even be
- Take a tube of all-purpose silicone "goop" and apply
where the spigot meets the barrel. Follow drying time directions from
the silicone tube.
- Trace the outline of the lid on a mesh
fibreglass screen and then cut it out. Screw on, if necessary, or just
tighten ring around cap to secure. This screen is designed to keep
- Finally, take a rag and some cheap vegetable oil, and apply it to the scratched areas of the barrel. It really shines it up
Now, you're ready to install! Don't worry. If you make a hole for the spigot and overflow valve, you're most of the way there.
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Websites On How To Make A Rain Barrel:
Other Rain Barrel Sites:
A Good Place To Find Rain Barrels:
Kitsap Lumber-True Value Hardware
450 S National Ave
Bremerton, Washington State 98312