How We Made Rain Barrels

Yes! Finally! We have rain barrels! We have only had these barrels sitting around the yard for oh, 2 years???

We decided on a manifold system after seeing a video on you tube. All of the PVC piping we used were 3/4 inch. Grand total? $50 including the barrels, which we have owned for like, 2 years, so really that shouldn't even be included.... As for how much water we will actually get?? I have no idea... I will let you know the first time it rains. The design we chose is actually upside down. This allowed the least amount of special connectors and tools to connect the barrels, better drainage, and over all more ease of installation.

Supply List:
3 - 55 gallon drums with caps, rinsed out and drained dry (ours used to hold apple juice)
3 - male extenders
3 - female and blunt end elbows (90 degree)
2 - elbows with ends to fit the pipe
1 - 4way extender
1 - spigot
12 cinder blocks
silicon sealant
teflon tape
gutter extender thingy (I have a picture, and you will know what I am talking about)
an old flower pot (mine was from my hydrangea plant from the nursery, free!)
3/4 inch drill bit\
PVC primer and glue (they come in a nice little set)

Ok, first things first, set up your cinder blocks and empty barrels to make sure you like the spacing and position and all that for the barrels. 
Ok, FIRST Start with your rain barrels right side up, with the caps off. Squeeze some sealant around the inside edge of the hole for the cap. Cover the cap threads with teflon tape, and screw them back into place.

Drill a hole into the cap with the threads with a 3/4 in bit, then cover the threads of the extender with teflon tape, and screw into place. I don't have a picture of this, but use the PVC glues to then attach the elbows  and 4way as shown below....
So here we are ready to connect the barrels
Measure between the spots where the pipe will go, being sure to measure inside of the elbows. Use your PVC glue to hook everything together. Then cut a small piece of piping to connect the spigot and 4way together, again using your PVC glue.
Cut a hole in the new "top" of the rain barrel that will connect to the downspout. Drill holes all over the flower pot (or drainage piece now) and insert into the hole. Connect the extender to the downspout, and then lead it into the flower pot. (I still need to add some window screening to keep the skeeters out)

Let the thunder roll!!!


  1. Good job! I love our rain barrel

  2. Those look great! We also have our two year old blue barrels sitting out back behind the shed. Do you think if I leave this post up on the computer screen that DH will get the hint???

    1. You should definitely print out a picture and hang it on the fridge. Honestly, I don't know why it took us forever to get this done. I mean, it took like, 2 hours.

  3. so I am missing something... how does the water get to all 3 barrels?

    this is awesome btw

    1. The pipe on the bottom is connected to all 3 barrels, so that instead of each barrel filling up individually and then spilling over into the next one, they all fill at the same rate, functioning like one big barrel.

  4. How cool. So who's the one with the engineering degree?

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