Cheap Rain Barrel | Upcycle a Recycling Bin

A friend gave us a few recycling bins that 
were headed for the dump 
(quite the oxymoron eh?)  

We decided to turn one of them into a rain barrel.  Zuki picked up the supplies and all the fittings cost $10.  About an hour of work and we had a great rain barrel.  I used an old feed sack and filled it with compost, zip tied it shut and placed it in the bottom (like a giant compost tea bag).  After the rain we had today I now have a huge bucket full of compost tea to water all my plants!

Here are Zuki's directions:

I thought it would be relatively easy . . . run into a hardware store, pick up a rain barrel faucet, drill a hole and pop it in . . . not so much. I checked three of the big box home improvement stores and there was no such thing as a rain barrel faucet . . . so I had to create one from plumbing parts. From top left going clockwise: ½ inch galvanized coupling, ½ inch galvanized nipple, ½ inch rubber washers, faucet lock nuts and a ½ inch threaded faucet.

Tools needed was a crescent wrench, tongue & groove pliers (pipe wrench could also work), 5/8 spade drill bit and drill.

I took white plumbers tape and wrapped the ends of the faucet and the nipple. The tape was wrapped in a counter clockwise direction so that it would not unravel when threading in the coupling.

This is the final unit with the faucet lock nut installed.

I then drilled the 5/8 inch hole near the bottom of the barrel. The hole was a little small so I got a half-inch drill bit and slightly reamed out the hole so that it was only slightly smaller than the outside dimensions of the nipple. I placed a washer over the nipple and slowly threaded it into the hole. It was a very tight fit, but as the threads were metal they grabbed the plastic and screwed in flush with the surface of the bucket. I then crawled inside the bucket, installed another washer on the inside and put on the faucet lock nut to ensure that it would not come out.  We installed it with the treads to the side to make it easier to screw on the hose.

And here it is in use:


  1. Absolutely LOVE this! I've been wanting to get some composting and rain capture going and this is going to be a super easy project. Thanks for sharing and now I know what to do with our extra garbage can :)

  2. Glad you enjoyed the instructions. It's wonderful to have great compost tea for the garden...After using it all summer I have a suggestion, put the bucket up on blocks. If you put the faucet up too high then it will never drain, and if you put it low like we have done, it's hard to maneuver your hands under the faucet and impossible to fill a watering can. If you build a little platform under the bucket then it will have more pressure for the hose and if you want to fill a watering can you will have the space to do so. :)

  3. love this! Tomorrow I will attempt this all by my self. (without husband). lol

  4. This is awesome thank you

  5. Fantastic Information !! I appreciate your work.Thanks for sharing with us.
    Plumber Homewood, Al

  6. These things should hold about 95 gallons for reference. I haven't actually tried one. Does it buckle when its full? I'm worried since its usually not used for liquids.

  7. I've been looking for the best way to connect my gutter to my barrel and I came across this article ​ are rain water diverter kits the best way to go? or is there another way to create something for the overflow of water, and keep the barrel sealed from out side air and bugs?


Post a Comment

My Favorite Cosmetics