7 Unique Ways to Repurpose Wooden Whiskey Barrels

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Repurposing wooden whiskey barrels is a great way to upcycle and create unique, useful, and beautiful DIY projects for your home or garden. While wine barrels come in different sizes and types of wood, whiskey barrels are consistently 53 gallons (200 liters) and made of oak, which is often charred on the inside to filter impurities from stored whiskey. You can easily purchase whiskey barrels from specialty distributors or home improvement and garden stores. Here are seven cool ideas for using whiskey barrels:

1. Whiskey Barrel Garden Pond

A whiskey barrel can be transformed into a charming container pond for aquatic plants and fish. Simply find a used barrel that has been cut in half or have a full-size barrel cut in half, and add a plastic lining if needed. Fill the barrel with rainwater or a hose, and add oxygenating water plants. The barrel pond is low maintenance and adds a beautiful water feature to your outdoor space.

2. Whiskey Barrel Lazy Susan

A whiskey barrel top is the perfect size and shape for a lazy Susan, a rotating disc used as a serving tray or storage. You can easily transform a barrel top into a lazy Susan with a hardware kit and cutting off the top of the barrel. The end result is a practical and unique piece for your home.

3. Using Whiskey Barrels as Wall Decor

You can get creative and use old barrel tops as abstract wall art. You can paint them different colors or add faces to them. The design of the Laizhou Bar in Shanghai, China was inspired by dismantling whiskey barrels into 6,000 different pieces. Roomoo Design Studio used recycled whiskey barrels that were taken apart and then classified according to the length, width, grain, and curvature of each piece. The designers then installed the grouped pieces in various parts of the bar, ranging from the fa├žade to the ceiling dome to the entrance to the tasting area. This not only looks visually stunning but is also in keeping with the distillery’s environmentally friendly production methods. You can use old barrel tops to create abstract wall art or tack individual whiskey barrel boards to a wall for a unique woven look that will serve as decoration and a conversation piece.

4. Whiskey Barrel Trash Can

You can transform a whiskey barrel into a trash can for your next cookout. A gorgeous oak whiskey barrel is a charming way to keep trash at bay and is a “done in a day” project that pays off for years to come. Start by finding an empty whiskey barrel and applying waterproof sealer to the exterior. Cut the top and add a hinge so that it is easily opened for trash disposal. You could add a custom-cut false bottom to make trash removal easier, and don’t forget to line it with a heavy-duty trash bag.

5. Whiskey Barrel End Table

You can use an old whiskey barrel as a side table and embrace the rustic look. Creating a whiskey barrel patio table or an end table to use next to a sofa is an easy project that will spruce up your space in no time. All you need is a whiskey barrel that has been cut in half horizontally. Either the top half or the bottom half of the barrel will work as a petite patio table. Simply turn the half-barrel so that the solid end is upward and the opening is resting on the porch, deck or patio. And that’s it! You’ve just created a patio table that can be used as a place to set cold drinks or summer plants.

6. Using Whiskey Barrels for Collecting Rainwater

After a whiskey barrel has been emptied of its spirits, it can be used for collecting rainwater. With their stately oak planks held in place by rustic hoops, whiskey barrels are not only a practical way to collect and store rainwater, but they are also beautiful.

If you plan on using a new whiskey barrel for rain storage, it’s likely to be waterproof. However, if the barrel has been unused for a while, it’s best to check for leaks. Small leaks can be fixed by adjusting hoops or filling gaps with wax or wood shims. The barrel should be positioned with a gutter flowing into the top, and you can buy conversion kits that come with spigots, drains, and covers.

Once the barrel is ready, you’ll have plenty of water for gardening, bird baths, or even a container pond made from a half-size barrel.

Now, if you’re feeling handy, you can transform a used whiskey barrel into a coffee table. This requires some woodworking skills and the right tools and materials, but the end product is sure to impress. To make the table, clean the barrel and cut it vertically in half. Attach it to a base and top with a hinged wood slab. You can use the interior for storage or, in some cases, as a cooler for drinks.

Fun fact: Oak whiskey barrels can be used to age spirits for over a century if properly maintained.


1. What are some unique ways to repurpose wooden whiskey barrels?

There are many creative ways to use wooden whiskey barrels beyond their original purpose of storing alcohol. Some popular ideas include turning them into outdoor planters, using them as rustic coffee or side tables, transforming them into outdoor seating, and even converting them into unique lighting fixtures for your home. Additionally, they can be used for storage in your garage or backyard, and can add a great rustic touch to any space.

2. How can I turn a whiskey barrel into a planter?

First, make sure the barrel is clean and free of any residue from the whiskey. Cut out the top of the barrel using a saw, and then drill drainage holes in the bottom to ensure proper drainage for your plants. Fill the barrel with soil and plant your desired flowers or vegetables. For added stability, you may want to add a few rocks or bricks to the bottom of the barrel before adding soil. With a little creativity, you can turn your whiskey barrel planter into a beautiful addition to your garden or patio.

3. Is it possible to make a table out of a wooden whiskey barrel?

Absolutely! Turning a whiskey barrel into a table is a popular DIY project that can add a unique touch to any room. Start by cutting the top off the barrel and sanding down any rough edges. Then, attach legs to the bottom of the barrel or add a glass top for a more polished look. You can also add a coat of paint or stain to match your decor. A whiskey barrel table can make a great addition to a rustic-themed living room or outdoor patio area.

4. Can wooden whiskey barrels be used for outdoor seating?

Yes, whiskey barrels can be used to create unique outdoor seating options. You can turn a barrel on its side and add a cushion to create a comfortable seat, or stack multiple barrels and add a wooden board on top for a picnic table-style seating area. For added comfort, you can also add cushions to the top of the wooden board. Whiskey barrel seating can be a great addition to any outdoor space, from a backyard BBQ to a rustic wedding reception.

5. Are there any safety precautions I should take when repurposing a wooden whiskey barrel?

When repurposing a wooden whiskey barrel, it is important to take safety precautions to ensure that the barrel is clean and free of any harmful chemicals or residues. Wear gloves and a mask when sanding or cutting the barrel, and make sure to properly dispose of any sawdust or debris. It is also important to properly seal any holes or cracks in the barrel to prevent leaks or water damage. With proper safety measures, you can create a variety of unique and beautiful projects using wooden whiskey barrels.

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