How to Drill & Tap a Barrel

Updated February 21, 2017

Barrels can be tapped for a number of uses. Tap a food-safe, plastic barrel, for example, to transform it into a drink dispenser. A barrel drink dispenser is convenient at parties, sports events, campsites and work sites. Tapped plastic or wooden barrels can be used for the collection of rainwater. Open the top so the barrel can fill up with rainwater and use the tap to fill a watering can for watering plants.

Drill a hole into the side of the barrel, 3 to 4 inches up from the bottom. Use a drill bit that is 1/8 inch larger than the diameter of your barrel faucet. For large diameters, start with a smaller bit to get the hole started.

Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of the barrel faucet.

Apply a thin bead of silicone caulk around edge of the faucet hole, using a caulk gun.

Twist the barrel faucet into the hole until it is firmly in place, with the spout facing down and the handle facing up.

Drill a hole near the top as well, if you are using the barrel for rainwater collection.

Insert a tubing adaptor into the hole until it is tightly in place.

Attach a length of tubing to the adaptor to divert and channel any overflow.

Apply a thin bead of silicone caulk along the seam between the hole and the tubing adaptor to prevent leaks.


Another option for wooden barrels is to use a wooden tap. The tap is simply hammered into the hole until it is firmly in place. When the barrel is filled with liquid, the wooden tap will expand in the hole, creating a watertight fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Teflon tape
  • Barrel faucet
  • Silicone caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Tubing adaptor (optional)
  • Tubing (optional)
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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.