DIY: Rain Barrel

At the beginning of summer, boyfriend and I built a rain barrel out of an 55 gallon Rice Syrup barrel we got on Craigslist for just $8 a piece. We made a trip to Menards for the supplies we needed (we spent under $10!) Here’s what we got:

  • A on/off spout (shown in pictures below) with 1/2″ threading on the inside
  • 1/2″ rubber washer to go between the spout and the  barrel on the inside
  • A small piece of 1/2″ PVC that was threaded on the outside to fit into the spout and go on the inside of the barrel to hold the spout in place.
  • Supplies for the overflow: two pieces of 1/2″ coupling that screw into each other, and PVC that’s 1/2″ across, a 90 degree elbow to connect the pieces. I will show pictures of this below.

Rain Barrel 1

Nothing too fancy, but it’ll do.


 We cut a hole in the top of the rain barrel with a Saws All.


We pre-drilled the four corners for the Saws All to go around easily. It’s about 10″ x 8″. The syrup was REALLY sticky and a little annoying to deal with throughout the project. Our arms got covered while even after rinsing it out.


We used a hole saw bit to drill out the hole for the spout.

Rain Barrel 9

I apologize again for not having a picture of the stuff we bought at Menards for the barrel! It’s pretty easy to explain though. This is an after picture of the spout on. We had to reach inside to screw the PVC coupler to the spout. It worked best to lay the barrel on the side while having your arm in there. We also got silicone glue that adhered to plastic.

Rain Barrel

We propped the barrel on some pallet pieces and bricks to raise it up so that we can put a pitcher or bucket under the spout.

Rain Barrel 6

Here’s the overflow. We plan to hook it up to a second rain barrel in the future. It almost always overflows when it rains. I’m still surprised we catch so much rain.

Rain Barrel 7

Here’s a close up of the overflow. We simply drilled a hole in the side near the top, and got two coupling pieces that fit in each other to hold the PVC pipe. Make sure to get one with the hexagon on it that you can glue to the barrel. The other piece can screw into it from the inside.

The black tubes coming out of there are aerator stones to kill bugs and also kill chlorine when we have to fill the barrel with city water. We also have a system going on here with drippers that take the rain water and pull it from the barrel with a pump, and there are little drippers coming out of the tubing that are laying along the roots of a lot of the plants and they are watering them automatically. I would have to ask boyfriend how all of that works exactly. He’s the mad scientist of the garden. I just help.

Rain Barrel 8

The top isn’t anything too fancy. We can’t really glue the screen down because we need to be able to pull the aerator stones out if need be and stick a hose in.

Garden part 4-25

Here you can see the barrels in the top left corner of the photo. The dripper system comes out, and waters the pallets.

Rain Barrel Garden 5

Here it is! Our $18 rain barrel. Happy gardening!


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