Make Your Own Rain Barrel!

Let's be real here, I've wanted rain barrels for my house for about two years...TWO YEARS! But one thing led to another, and I procrastinated that project right off my to-do list. 

Until last weekend. 

When I bought three PVC barrels from the Kalona Cheese Factory. For $10. Total. 

Yep. Three barrels for $10. Total. 

I think this might be one of my favorite projects yet. Wanna know how to make your own? Have about 45 minutes to spare? Ok, follow along my friends, as I narrate one of the greatest eco-friendly, marriage strengthening home projects of all time - - 

Step #1
Get yourself all of the supplies. Which, for the white trash eco-novice frugalista, that means spending about an hour in Menards finding all of the supplies you need. Whatever you do, DO NOT put a special 'rain barrel spout' from the 'rain barrel aisle' at Menards into your shopping cart. You'll get up to the cashier and you'll discover the special 'rain barrel spouts' are $19.99 each, then you'll have to sheepishly bow out of line to put them back in the 'rain barrel aisle' and start all over with the hunt of finding the right spout. 

Just save yourself some time and get a $4 spout and a $4 electrical coupling doo-dad instead. Then, get your tree-huggin', earth-savin' self a roll of window screen and a decent sized bungee cord. Or three bungee cords, if you're makin' three rain barrels, like yours truly. 


And then, once you've finally gathered everything you'll go back to the same cashier that you sheepishly rejected 30 minutes prior, and pay for your rain barrel supplies, totaling $38.20. Or, if you're using a Christmas gift card from a loved one, it'll cost ya $13.20.



Step #2
Have your local handyman, or whoever isn't scared of saws, cut a half-moon shape into the top of your barrel, transforming the cheese factory find into a more picturesque...well...rain barrel. 



And then peel off any stickers and stuff. Also, this would be a great time to clean out your rain barrels really, really well. Although these are food grade containers, they still need to be thoroughly washed. But since it's the middle of February and the temperature is 10 below with wind chill, I'll wait until a spring thaw.

Step #3
To further strengthen your marriage (ahem...) and involve your husband (or wife!) in this project as much as possible, have them drill a hole with a special hole-drilling bit into the bottom of your barrel.


John drilled a 1/2 inch hole, because our spout was...wait for it... a 1/2 inch.


Step #4
Get one of these electrical coupling doo-dads from the electrical aisle. The big, chunky part of the doo-dad goes on the outside of the barrel, and the smaller circle-like part goes on the inside of the barrel.


Then here's where the most marital bliss comes from in this project: One person must insert half of their body inside the stinky cheese barrel to hold the smaller circle-like part steady, whilst the other screws in the big, chunky part of the doo-dad.

But let's be real here, it got pretty ugly in Step #4, people.


After some whimpering, then yelling, the outside of the barrel will look like this.


And the inside will look like this.


Step #5
Put some fancy white tape on the screw-part of your spout to prevent leaks.


Then screw your spout into your electrical coupling doo-dad.


Step #6
Using that window screen that you bought, cut a square big enough to cover the top of the barrel - or at least the half-moon that is in the top. Bungee cord that window screen to the top of your barrel.

Then, allow your project partner some time to ponder the deformities of your rain barrel, and calmly explain that when dealing with a 3-for1 deal from a cheese factory, you get what you pay for. Even if that includes a deformed rain barrel.


Step #7
Using scissors, trim the excess window screen from your rain barrel so it doesn't look too white trash frugalista-ish.

Step #8
And give your new rain barrel some love!  'Cuz baby, it's gonna love you back this summer when it lowers your water bill, keeps your garden lush and green, and saves Mother Earth!


Step #9
Make two more rain barrels. 'Cuz you're a boss.


Total Cost: $23.20 (or $48.20, if you don't count our $25 gift card).
Total Time: 45 minutes of build time, about an hour in Menards (mostly because I'm an idiot), and a few minutes on the road.

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