How to Make a Homemade Rain Gauge

Updated November 21, 2016

Rain gauges are used to determine approximately how much rain has fallen. They also make a great science projects for kids learning about weather or the water cycle. Making a rain gauge is easy and requires minimal supplies. This article will explain how to make a homemade rain gauge.

Find a container. Ideally, your container should be cylindrical. A flat bottom will give you a truer reading than a curved one. The mouth of the container should be equal to the sides of the container, not smaller. It should also be made of clear plastic or glass, so that you can monitor the amount of rain it collects easily.

Take a plain piece of paper and a black fine-point marker. Measure the paper and cut so it is approximately 2 inches wide. Make it slightly shorter than your container.

Lay the paper on a flat surface and place the ruler against it. Starting at the paper's bottom edge, mark a line at each 1/2 inch, going up to the top. Write the measurement next to the line. The lowest number should be at the bottom. The numbers will increase up the strip of paper.

Seal the paper between two pieces of clear adhesive paper. You can use a laminating machine if you have access to one. This coverage will protect it from getting wet.

Tape the paper with clear tape to the inside of the container. Make sure the paper goes all the way down to the bottom and runs straight up the side of the canister.

Place your rain gauge in an open area. Avoid areas where trees or branches . Don't set it up too close to buildings. Try to keep the area over the top of the gauge as obstacle free as possible. If wind blowing the gauge over is a concern, attach it to a wooden stake or dowel with rubber bands. Push the bottom of the stake into the soil to keep the gauge sturdy and upright.

Check your rain gauge after rainfalls to see how many inches of rain it has collected. If you like, you can record your readings. Empty your rain gauge after each rainfall so you will keep your readings accurate.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Ruler
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Fine-point marker
  • Clear contact paper or laminating machine
  • Clear tape
  • Wooden stake or dowel
  • Rubber bands
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