There are tons of DIY projects you can do with old wood whiskey barrels as well as many great ways to decorate with them. Unfortunately, they can sometimes be hard to come by. In this post I’ll show you where I’ve had luck finding wood whiskey barrels for cheap in the past as well as how much you should expect to pay locally and online. Then we’ll take look at 7 DIY old wood barrel project ideas.
Where to Find Wood Whiskey Barrels
Yard Sales – This is where I’ve personally had the most luck. If you’re looking for old stuff like this and don’t want to pay top dollar you’re gonna have to put in the footwork. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to waste time driving from sale to sale every Saturday morning in hopes of finding one elusive piece of wood. You can be much smarter, and much more efficient than that.
Search on Craigslist beforehand and find the yard sales coming up that will most likely have an old wood whiskey barrel at them. The post will give their address. Plug it into Google Street View and see if it’s the kind of place that would have an old wood whiskey barrel. If there’s barn or it’s out in a rural country area you’re in. Also, if they have posted a phone number on their ad it’s worth a shot to text or call ahead to ask if they have an old wood whiskey barrel for sale, they might even let you pick it up that day before anyone else has the chance to swoop in a snag it.
Barns, Farms, Rural Homes – This is a little more of a forward and aggressive way to track down an old wood whiskey barrel but if you’ve ever watched the show ‘American Pickers’ you know that it can work with a decent rate of success. The idea here is simple, scout your area for places that seem likely to have the item you’re searching for, in this case old wood whiskey barrels, then stop and ask the owners if they are willing to sell them.
This method can work for almost any item you can imagine. Believe it or not, my grandmother in-law actually sold her house this way; some guy randomly knocked on her door and asked if he could buy her house and she said yes, despite it not even being on the market. The trick here is to not be afraid of rejection. For every yes you get, expect 3 or 4 no’s.
Craigslist and Facebook – You probably aren’t going be fortunate enough to live near someone who has old wood whiskey barrels listed for sale on craigslist, but that’s okay. You can still put out listings on Facebook and Craigslist posting that you are trying to find an old wood whiskey barrel. Chances are that someone scrolling past your ad either has one laying around or will have a lead on where you can find one. Never underestimate the power of leveraging your community and social media.
Junk Yard or Lumber Yard – This one is a long-shot, but before you totally strike out finding an old wood whiskey barrel in your area, call your local junk yard and lumber yard just to check. While it’s an odd item for them to have laying around, you might just luck out, or else they may be able to give a hot lead to find one elsewhere.
Amazon or eBay – the last resort (or first if you don’t want to hunt one down locally), is to just fork over the extra cash to buy an old wood whiskey barrel online. Shipping will definitely cost you on such a heavy and bulky item, but sometimes it’s worth it for the convenience of having it shipped right to your home. You also have more of a selection to choose exactly what you want, especially if you’re looking for an old whiskey barrel that has already been refinished.
I did a ton of online research before I actually found my own old wood barrel and this is the one I would recommend if you’re okay spending around $260 on a nice, authentic old wood whiskey barrel. Here’s the Amazon link. It’s sourced by Midwest Barrel Company, a company that specializes in selling barrels that have been used to distill alcohol.
My Old Wood Barrel Find
This post was inspired by this awesome find I made a few weeks ago when I was perusing a yard sale. By the way May and June are crazy good months for yard sales; everyone is clearing out all the stuff they don’t want anymore after spring cleaning. I found this barrel just sitting off to the side (I don’t think they originally intended to sell it) and asked the guy how much he wanted for it.
He said he’d take $40 for it so I dug out two little pieces of paper in my wallet with Andrew Jackson’s face on them and gladly made the exchange. He even helped me dust it off and load it into the trunk of my Jetta (it barrel-y fit). Okay I admit that was a lame pun.
I love that this one is worn and beat up and has no top; My plan is to throw a couple bags of soil in it and use it as a planter. I’ve considered staining it and adding a coat of varnish to spruce it up but I’m not sure… Part of me really likes the old worn look it already has. Another part of me wants to paint it white. I can’t make up my mind!
When I got home I did some online research because I suspected that my particular wood barrel wasn’t used for whiskey. I found out my old wood barrel find was actually used for holding water (probably for livestock). The more you know!
How much do Old Wood Whiskey Barrels Cost Online?
If you search for whiskey barrels on Amazon or eBay, you’re going to get a bunch of results for small, brand new whiskey aging barrels that are used by home-brew whiskey enthusiasts.
That’s fine and dandy, but not really what we’re looking for unless your DIY project is actually making your own whiskey. Chances are you’re looking for something to turn into a planter for your back yard or else just a nice, beautiful decorative piece.
Prices vary greatly depending on the quality and authenticity of the barrel you’re wanting to purchase. For example, this is one of the cheaper options I came across and it’s actually a wine barrel, not a whiskey barrel. This one cost you about $150 after shipping.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can pay between $400 and $500 on Amazon for a Jack Daniels Laser Engraved Old Wood Whiskey Barrel.
7 Old Wood Whiskey Barrel DIY Project Ideas
Old wood whiskey and wine barrels are great for a variety of DIY projects, here are a few of my favorite uses I’ve seen:
1) General Wood Barrel Decor
This is a beautiful example of just using the whole wood barrel without modifying it in any way. Sometimes you just have to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the natural original wood and not get caught up in the idea of painting, staining, or cutting!
2) DIY Old Wood Barrel Sink
Don’t be intimidated by how complicated this wood barrel sink looks. It’s really as simple as cutting a hole for sink the top, cutting a door in the front for access, then running the plumbing through it like you would with any other sink. What a unique piece to have in your bathroom…
3) Wood Barrel Fountain
Here’s another great DIY project that uses old wood whiskey barrels. I can’t claim to know exactly how this was made, so unfortunately if you want to make a DIY wood barrel fountain you’re on your own to do research. What I do know is that with enough persistence and research any DIY project is possible!
4) Old Wood Barrel Dog House
This DIY wood barrel dog house is super simple. As you can see from the photo they just removed the top of the barrel, tipped it over, and put some cushioning inside. I’m sure a little creativity would go a long way here in making this old wood barrel dog house look even better. And what a beautiful dog!
5) Old Wood Barrel Planter
This has been a classic DIY use for wood barrels for a while now, but it still looks great. What’s even better is that you have the option to cut the wood barrel to make a low planter or leave it in tact for a taller planter.
6) Wine Barrel Furniture
Both the stools and the table in this picture are made from old wood wine barrels. I’m betting the table took considerably less time to build than the stools!
7) Old Wood Barrel Slat Succulent Garden
It doesn’t get much easier than this; it’s just two wood barrel slats!
Thanks for reading and I hope this post helped you learn where to find old wood barrels, how much old wood barrels cost, as well as gave you some ideas for old wood barrel DIY projects! If you liked this post check out some of our DIY projects!