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DIY Rain Barrel Stand

Elevate your rain barrels to get the proper water flow to your garden! Build this simple rain barrel stand with these free woodworking plans and tutorial!

DIY Rain Barrel Stand

Rain barrels are a great way to save water for your garden, but it can be difficult to get the water pressure you need. This DIY rain barrel stand elevates your supply to allow gravity to help keep the water flowing!

This post was sponsored by The Home Depot and contains affiliate links for your convenience. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you.

We live in Seattle, where we're famous for our endless rain. But we actually have a drought every summer! I wanted to capture some of that water and save it for the dry months to keep my garden happy.

Rain barrels have come a long way from the ugly drums that eco-conscious gardeners once used. Now you can find stylish options that won't look out of place in your garden! Home Depot carries lots of different rain barrels to fit your outdoor decor, from rustic barrels to sleek urns.

I chose these simple black rain barrels from The Home Depot for my project. The top can be used as a planter for added curb appeal!

rain barrel with planter top

Head on over to The Home Depot website to see how I installed this rain barrel to our existing downspouts. Then come back to learn how to make your own rain barrel stand to go with it!

Materials Needed for DIY Rain Barrel Stand

Don't forget your safety gear when woodworking! Here are my recommendations for safety glasses and ear protection. No excuses!

How to Make a Rain Barrel Stand

Download the free woodworking plans

It can be a little tricky to get all the notches cut in the right place, so I created these free woodworking plans to help you out! Just enter your email address below to sign up for my newsletter and get the plans sent straight to your inbox!

Measure and Cut Pieces

Start by measuring the bottom of your rain barrel. You'll want it to fit snugly in the stand so it doesn't tip over easily. Take that measurement and add 7". Then cut two 4 x 4 pieces to that length.

cutting 4x4s for rain barrel stand with miter saw

Next, decide how tall you want your rain barrel to be. I decided to elevate mine about a foot off the ground to make it easier to access the spigot, plus four inches at the top to hold the barrel in place. So I cut four 16" 4 x 4 pieces for the legs of the rain barrel stand.

Cut notches for half lap joints in legs

I'm using half lap joints that I cut on the table saw to connect the pieces together. These joints allow the weight of the water to rest on solid wood, instead of relying on screws for support.

You can do this with a circular saw as well. Here's a great video to show you how!

Measure the width of the board, then mark the halfway point. Set your table saw to that depth.

Cut a line 4" down from the top of each of the rain barrel stand legs. Then mark the width of the crossing board (usually 3 ½", but it can vary slightly).

first cut of half lap joint on rain barrel stand legs

Then cut a line for the bottom edge of the notch.

cutting edge of half lap joint on the table saw

Then gradually cut away at the wood between the two edges with the saw blade. This process creates a TON of sawdust, but the cut cedar smells amazing!

cutting half lap joints on the table saw with lots of sawdust covering feet

It's ok if you're left with small slivers of wood between each cut.

cuts for half lap joint made with table saw

Use a chisel to clean up the joint. It should be pretty easy to break off the slivers. Then run the chisel over the surface at a diagonal to flatten it as much as possible.

Cut notches for the crossed center pieces

Use the same process to cut half lap joints in the center of each of the longer pieces. They should fit together snugly, although the rounded corners make it difficult to get a seamless joint.

crossed center pieces of the rain barrel stand

With the center boards crossed, hang a leg off the ends to accurately mark the sides for the half lap.

half lap joint marking with rain barrel stand leg

Then cut away that portion on the table saw with the same method as above. This is what the center pieces should look like once all the half lap joints have been cut.

rain barrel stand center supports

Assemble all the pieces together to check the fit.

rain barrel stand in workshop

Sand and Glue Up Joints

Sand down the inside of the half lap joints with a sanding block.

using a sanding block inside half lap joints of a rain barrel stand

Apply wood glue that is suitable for outdoor use (I like Titebond III for this) to the inside of the center notches. Make sure to get all the surfaces for proper adhesion.

applying wood glue to inside of half lap joint with a finger

Join the two cross pieces together, and clamp them into place. Allow the glue to dry.

clamped pieces of rain barrel stand

Attach Legs to Cross Piece

Apply wood glue to each end of the cross pieces, and fit them into the notches of the legs. Clamp them into place.

rain barrel stand legs clamped in place

The rain barrel stand can be finished at this point. Cedar can be left outdoors untreated, so I left the color natural. But you can stain or paint it any color you want!

Add Decorative Hex Nuts and Screws (Optional)

The rain barrel stand was looking a little plain, so I decided to give it an industrial look with black metal accents that would coordinate with the black rain barrel.

Measure the center of the joint on each legs. Then drill ⅜" pilot holes into the face of the cross piece on each leg.

drilling pilot holes into legs of rain barrel stand

The decorative hex nut washers had a little lip on the back, so I widened the hole at the surface with a spade bit so they would sit flush against the wood.

adding decorative hex nuts to legs of rain barrel stand

Then screw the 3 ½" outdoor wood screws through the holes to securely join the pieces together. I love the chunky industrial hex nut against the natural color of the cedar!

decorative hex nut on rain barrel stand leg

Add Post Caps (Optional)

To protect the end grain of the wood from the rain, I added these decorative metal end caps to the tops of the legs.

DIY rain barrel stand on concrete pavers

Just slip them on top, then nail them into place with 1" galvanized nails.

Place Rain Barrel on Stand and Install to Downspout

You can read more about how to install a rain barrel in my post over on The Home Depot website! You can also learn how to install drip irrigation from your rain barrel or your outdoor faucet here.

black rain barrel on DIY rain barrel stand

Want to make your own rain barrel stand? Download the free woodworking plans and get building!


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DIY Rain Barrel Stand