How to Make a Mini Rain Barrel

Save water--and money--by watering your garden Mother Nature’s way. All you need is an old water jug or detergent dispenser, paint and some rain.

By Reader's Digest Editors
mini rain barrel© Meredith CorporationMount your rain barrel so you can easily fit a watering can under the spout.

Save water–and money–by watering your garden Mother Nature’s way. All you need is an old water jug or detergent dispenser, paint and, of course, some rain.


1. Select a container

Extra-large laundry detergent dispensers make the ideal DIY rain barrels, but countertop water dispensers will also do the trick. The key is that the container has a spout for filling watering cans with ease.

2. Clean it

If you’re using a water jug you can probably skip this step, but detergent dispensers should be thoroughly cleaned so your garden stays suds-free.

3. Paint it

Choose a spray paint in your favorite hue (ideally one that compliments the colors of your garden or patio furniture). Spray the container until the surface is completely covered in an even coat of paint. Leave it to dry overnight.

4. Cut it

With a sharp knife, cut a hole in the top of the container the size and shape of your rain gutter (be sure to measure first where on the container the gutter will enter).

5. Mount it

Remove the cut-away plastic and place the end of the gutter into the hole. Mount your rain barrel on a cinderblock or similarly sturdy item so you can easily fit a watering can under the spout.

5. Use it!

Place your watering can beneath the spout, press the button and fill ’er up.

Source: ReadyMade.com

  • Your Comments

    • Rhea Angle

      If you scout around a bit, you can score used 55 gallon plastic drums for low cost. Kits are available to turn them into rain barrels. I have six and the dollar investment was minimal. During a monsoon rain, I can fill a barrel in less than 10 minutes. It’s good soft water for the pool and the plants love it.

    • Kellie Alexander

      Great idea! I could see stacking several and having sort of a chain reaction fillup session each time it rained. Rain barrels cost a hundred bucks, so this is a very frugal solution! :)

    • JimHaddox

      What happens to all the gallons of water during a thunderstorm using a mini rain barrel that looks like a gallon or two?

      • Butterme4u

        looks like it would flow out through the open hole above the spout where the cap was removed.