Old Barrel, Outdoor Fire Pit

How to Turn an Old Barrel into a One-of-a-Kind Outdoor Fire Pit

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Summer evenings are perfect for gathering around a fire pit with family and friends, sharing stories, and roasting marshmallows. But did you know you can create a unique outdoor fire pit from an old barrel? This article will guide homeowners through transforming a used barrel into a beautiful and functional backyard centrepiece.

Finding the Right Barrel

The first step in creating a unique fire pit is finding a suitable barrel. When selecting a barrel, keep these factors in mind:

  • Material: Choose a metal barrel, preferably steel or cast iron, as these materials can withstand high temperatures.
  • Size: Depending on your desired fire pit size, opt for a 30 to 55 inches diameter barrel.
  • Condition: Ensure the barrel is free from rust and corrosion for safety and longevity.

While you might find barrels for sale at local hardware stores, consider alternative sources like barrel shipping companies or wineries. These businesses often have used barrels available for purchase or even for free, allowing you to reduce waste and save money. Just make sure to check the barrel’s history to avoid any that previously contained toxic materials.

Preparing the Barrel

Once you have your barrel, it’s time to prepare it for its new life as a fire pit. Follow these steps:

  1. Clean the barrel: Remove any dirt, grease, or residue from the barrel’s interior and exterior. You may use a wire brush and a mild detergent to remove stubborn stains.
  2. Cut the barrel: Using a metal cutting tool, such as a saw or angle grinder, carefully cut the barrel in half lengthwise. This will create two halves, one of which will be your fire pit base.
  3. Drill ventilation holes: To ensure proper air circulation, drill several evenly spaced holes along the bottom of the barrel half you use as your fire pit. Each hole should be about a quarter to a half-inch in diameter.
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Adding Safety Features and Personal Touches

Safety should always be a priority when creating an outdoor fire pit. To minimize potential hazards, consider these safety features:

  • Attach metal legs: Elevate your fire pit off the ground by attaching metal legs to the barrel’s base. This will help prevent heat damage to the ground and create a more stable foundation.
  • Install a spark screen: Place a metal spark screen on top of the fire pit to prevent embers from flying out. You can find ready-made screens online or create a custom one using metal mesh.

You can also add personal touches to your barrel fire pit to make it unique. For example, consider painting the exterior with high-temperature paint in your favorite color or adding decorative elements such as metal cut-outs or tile mosaics.


Transforming an old barrel into a stunning outdoor fire pit is eco-friendly and budget-friendly to enhance your backyard living space. Following the steps outlined in this article, homeowners can create a unique gathering spot for friends and family to enjoy for years to come. So, get creative, stay safe, and start making memories around your barrel fire pit.

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