Things to Make From Plastic 55 Gal. Drums

Updated June 15, 2017

If you dig through your garage or storage shed, chances are you'll find at least a few 55 gallon drums. These drums are typically used for storing water or gasoline, but with a bit of creativity, you can turn them into something useful and fun. The drums are made of pliable, sturdy plastic that you can cut or reshape into something new.

Lawn Furniture

A single 55 gallon drum can be turned into a comfortable lawn chair. You'll need bolts, nuts, washers, and a few basic hand tools. Draw a line around the center of the barrel, and use a jigsaw to cut it in half. One half of the barrel will be used as a sturdy base for the chair, while the other half will be cut up into the back and armrests.
Cut a section from the top of the barrel to be used as the base of the backrest and armrests. This will be attached to the base of the barrel. The remaining part of the top half can be cut into a backrest, which can be as tall as you'd like, and armrests that will be bent to your liking and attached to the support base. Use your screws and bolts to fix these pieces together.


Due to their enormous air capacity and the low density of plastic, 55 gallon drums make for excellent flotation devices. For this project, you'll need rope, bolts, wooden boards, and some basic hand tools. The size of your raft will depend on the number of drums you use. Inspect your barrels for any leaks, and patch them if necessary. Lay the drums on their sides adjacent to each other, and tie a long length of rope around them, weaving between the drums.
Do a test float to find any leaks, and patch them if necessary. Attach the wooden boards to the top of the structure. This will make an excellent addition to your camp or lake house, and provide a diving platform for swimmers.


Fill each drum with a different amount of water. When struck with a stick or mallet, the drums will produce a different pitch. You can also create an enormous xylophone by tuning each drum to a pitch within a scale.

Rainwater Collection Device

Cut a hole no more than eight inches wide in the top of the drum, and position it underneath the run-off from your rain gutter. Drill a hole near the bottom of the drum, and attach a garden hose valve. This will serve as a spigot. The valve should have a rubber washer to tighten around the edges and prevent leaks. Attach a filter, such as a section of a screen door, to the top. This will prevent any large chunks of debris or insects from getting into your water. The water you collect probably won't be suitable for drinking, but it's excellent for watering plants.

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