What Can You Make With A 5-Gallon Bucket? A Lot With This New Book!


Quarto Publishing released the new 5-GALLON BUCKET BOOK: DIY Projects, Hacks, and Upcycles which includes 60+ DIY projects for homeowners, gardeners, tinkerers, and more. This one is a Must-Buy for any adult who loves to do DIY projects. I was impressed with the easy to follow instructions and all the different projects!


The five gallon bucket is an amazing invention –remarkably strong, they’ll hold up to high pressure and heavy loads. They can take a beating with getting bent out of shape.  They can be cut, melted, glued, drilled and more, making them amazingly adaptive.  These simple, handled containers can do so much more than just carry materials from one place to another.  They can be upcycled into a mind-boggling array of new conveniences and handy inventions.


Five-gallon buckets are ubiquitous and cheap (indeed, they are often free). But did you know they can also be hacked, hot-rodded, reengineered, and upcycled to create dozens of useful DIY projects for homeowners, gardeners, small-scale farmers, and preppers? The new 5-Gallon Bucket Book contains 60+ ideas that put these humble and hard-working mainstays to work past their prime and keep them out of landfills. Simple step-by-step instructions, as well as parts lists and images of the completed projects, make sure you will have fun and love the results of your work.


The wealth of projects collected in this book includes inventions that range from useful to just plain fun, and from as simple as it gets to fairly involved. These can serve apartment dwellers (Small-Room Air Conditioner, page 12); homeowners (Cyclone Dust Collector, page 34) and their children (Air Cannon, page 94); small farmers (Chicken Feeder, page 72); hobbyists (Post-Mounted Birdhouse, page 137); and even back-to-the-land homesteaders and survivalists (Camping and Composting Toilet, page 48).  The odds are good you’ll find something to make that’s fun and handy!

One of my favorites is the Child’s Bucket Seat!




Time: 1 hour | Difficulty: Moderate | Expense: $$





Measuring tape

Cordless drill and bits


Carpenter’s compass

Staple gun and staples

Hot glue gun and glue


5-gal. bucket

80-grit sandpaper

100-grit sandpaper

1/2″ pipe wrap insulation

Fabric (16″ square)

Fabric adhesive (liquid or spray)

1/2″ plywood scrap (at least 14″ square)

2″ foam sheet (at least 14″ square)

Loose cotton batting

2″ flathead wood screws


Any toddler would be delighted to have his or her very own bucket seat. It will become a wonderful place to sit at a low table coloring or playing with blocks, and it can even be moved to the living room so that youngsters can have their very own place of honor to sit and watch their favorite TV programs or videos. But given the durability and ruggedness of a five-gallon bucket, you can also turn this into a nice place for your little one to sit outside, enjoy a little sun, and get the daily dose of vitamin D as he or she reads a picture book.

Although the construction of this tiny seat is not difficult, you will have to pay attention to the details. It’s especially important to completely sand all the cut edges smooth. You don’t want a sharp plastic edge cutting your child’s leg or back. There are also a number of ways to add to the comfort of the seat. You can easily increase the seat’s padding to make it even more comfortable and, instead of the rim padding outlined in this project, you can make a fully padded back by gluing down padding across the entire surface and then wrapping it in fabric.

You can also customize the seat to suit the sitter. Pick out fabric with your child’s favorite superhero or cartoon figure, or just use a brightly colored pattern. You can also paint the base to match (see Painting Your Bucket, page 56), complement or contrast the fabric, and stencil it with designs such as stars or even the child’s name. You can even adapt the project to make the seat a bit more useful by making it removable, which will open up the space underneath (see Smart Seat Mod, page 61).



  1. Use the Sharpie to mark a line under the

lowest ridge on the bucket, all the way

around to behind the handles on both

sides. Use a straightedge to draw a line from

this top line, down to about 3″ above the

bottom of the bucket, on both sides.

  1. Measure and mark points around the front

of the bucket, 3″ up from the bottom. Mark

a point every 1 to 2″ around to the opposite

vertical line. Use a flexible straightedge to

draw a line through these marks connecting

the two vertical lines. Draw a gentle curve

at the lower corners where the bottom

horizontal line meets each vertical line.


  1. Drill an access hole at one corner where the

vertical line meats the top horizontal line.

Use this hole to start the jigsaw cut. Follow

the line as closely as possible with the

jigsaw, across the back, down one side,

across the front, and then up the other side.


  1. Sand the cut edges of the seat, starting with

80-grit sandpaper and progressing to

100-grit. Make sure all the edges are smooth

and free of any snags or sharp points.

  1. Cut one piece of pipe wrap insulation long

enough to run up one side of the back,

around the top of the back, and back down

the other side of the back. Cut a long thin

piece of fabric to wrap around the insulation.

The fabric should be wide enough so

that the ends can be folded up into the

wedge of the pipe insulation slit.

  1. Lay the pipe along the center of the fabric.

Apply a line of fabric adhesive along the

fabric edges at each side. Wrap the fabric

up on each side, folding the ends into the

slit, and pressing tightly along the fabric

adhesive. Set aside to let dry.

Measure the diameter of the seat, from the

front cut edge to the back wall. Transfer this

measurement to the plywood scrap, and

draw a circle using the compass. Cut out

the plywood circle with a jigsaw, using the

method described on page 23.

  1. Use the plywood circle as a template to cut

a corresponding foam circle. Cut a large

fabric square for the seat, about 4″ larger

than the diameter of the foam. Glue the

foam to the plywood with fabric adhesive.

Mound cotton batting on top of the foam

and then lay the fabric over the top. Collect

the fabric at the edges, flip the seat, and,

holding opposite sides, staple the edges of

the fabric with the fabric held snug (it is

much easier to do this with a helper).

  1. Snug the seat down level inside the bucket.

Drill 6 pilot holes equidistant around the

perimeter of the bucket, into the edge of

the plywood (A). Drive wood screws

through the holes to secure the seat. Lay a

bead of hot glue along the inside edges of

the fabric-wrapped pipe insulation and

press it into place (B). Let the glue dry

before letting your child use the chair.

1-BucketSeat6    1-BucketSeat8   1-BucketSeat9A


It’s easy to make this handy chair even more useful by making the seat removable so that you can use the space underneath for storage. Instead of screwing the seat in place, measure and cut three two-by-two-inch pieces long enough to run f rom the bottom to one-half inch below the edge of the chair. Place the supports equidistant around the inside of the bucket, and drill pilot holes through the outside and into the wood. Screw the bucket to the wood f rom the outside, using two-inch flathead wood screws. Sew or glue a small fabric handle to the back edge of the seat, and push it down into place over the supports. Now your child can hide a favorite toy or other precious items inside a comfy chair.


Photo Credit: Chris Marshall.  Self Disclosure: I received a free sample of the book to facilitate this post.

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