DIY – Building a Rain Barrel From a Pickle Barrel. Capture the rain that falls onto your home to water your garden.
2 3/8 Hole Saw
1 5/8 Hole Saw
Pickle Barrel (Dark in Color) with a Screw Top and Grate
2-Inch Threaded Female Adaptor PVC Schedule 40*
2-Inch Threaded Male Adapter PVC Schedule 40*
Two Small Pieces of Schedule 40 PVC Pipe approximately 2-Inch long
45 Degree Two-Inch PVC Elbow
22 ½ Degree Two-Inch PVC Elbow
2 ½ Feet Long, 2-Inch Schedule 40 PVC Pipe for Overflow (note: different for different barrel depends
on height of barrel)
½ Inch Bulkhead Fitting
½ Inch Brass Spigot
Cable/zip Tie (11 inch)
Plumber’s Thread Tape
*The thread dimensions need to have a high tolerance for the 2-Inch PVC Schedule 40 male and female
threaded adaptors (e.g., NIBCO brand).
1. Unscrew the lid, and take the lid and solid top insert off the barrel and set aside.
2. Take the grate from inside the barrel and set aside.
3. Cut the center section of the solid top insert out along the ridge using the jig saw.
4. After cutting center section out, use a pocket knife to remove any burs left on the edges.
5. Find the center of the grate.
6. Measure 7 ½ inches from the center of the grate toward the outer edge and mark with a permanent
7. Using snips cut along line.
8. The grate should fit inside the top insert.
9. Cut a piece of aluminum screen (same size and shape) as the grate.
10. Locate the seam on the barrel. It’s recommended not drilling the overflow hole on the seam.
11. Choose a location to drill the overflow hole using the 2 3/8 hole saw. The distance from the bottom
of the barrel to the overflow hole will vary depending on the drainage system setup chosen but
generally the overflow hole is 2-3 inches from the bottom of the barrel.
12. You will need the following for overflow pipe assembly:
2 ½ feet, 2-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe (note: different for different barrel depends on height of
Two 2- inch long, 2-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe
45 degree 2-inch PVC elbow
22 ½ degree 2-inch PVC elbow
2-Inch threaded male adapter schedule 40 PVC pipe*
2-Inch threaded female adaptor schedule 40 PVC pipe*
*The thread dimensions need to have a high tolerance for the 2-inch PVC schedule 40 male and female
threaded adaptors (e.g., NIBCO brand).
a) Using PVC cement, glue the 22 ½ degree 2-inch PVC elbow to the 2- inch long, 2-inch schedule
40 PVC pipe.
b) Next find the seam of the 22 ½ degree 2-inch PVC elbow and the seam of the 45 degree 2-inch
PVC elbow. Match the two seams up, and glue the 45 degree 2-inch PVC elbow to the newly
glued piece assembly in the previous step.
c) Next glue the 2-Inch threaded male adapter PVC schedule 40 to the 45 degree 2-inch PVC elbow.
d) Now glue the 2 ½ feet, 2-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe to the 22 ½ degree 2-inch PVC elbow
(note: different lengths for different barrels, depends on height of barrel).
13. Place the overflow assembly inside the barrel.
14. Place the end of the overflow (male adapter end) in the overflow hole. (Make sure the 2 inch Oring
is on the male adaptor on the inside of the barrel, not the outside.)
15. On the outside of the barrel, screw on the 2-inch female adaptor schedule 40 PVC pipe. (Make
sure that the adaptor is snug, but not too snug as to distort the O-ring.)
16. Place a piece of aluminum screen over the overflow pipe on the inside of the barrel using a cable/
zip tie. Make sure that the O-ring and the bulkhead gasket are on snug, but not too snug as to
distort the O-ring and the gasket.
17. Choose a location to drill the hole for the spigot using the 1 5/8 hole saw.
18. Place the ½ inch bulkhead fitting in the spigot hole. (Make sure the gasket of the bulkhead fitting
is on the inside of the barrel, not the outside and that the bulkhead fitting is snug, but not too
snug as to distort the gasket.)
19. Place plumber’s thread tape around the threads of the spigot. Using a adjustable wrench, screw
the spigot into the bulkhead fitting.
20. Screw the lid with grate and screen onto the barrel.
21. Now you are ready to install and use your barrel.
Ashley Osborne and Roger Rhodes. Environmental and Natural Resource Issues Task Force.