Wooden barrels originated in a time before plastic existed and when wood was the most convenient material from which to make a waterproof container. Today, most containers are made of plastic, metal or glass, although oak barrels are still made for aging wine. Wooden barrels can still be used for practical storage purposes, as well as in any number of creative and unusual applications. You can find wooden barrels for sale through numerous dealers online. Barrels can sometimes be found for under $100, although shipping may add to this cost substantially.
Make a wooden barrel into a sink base by cutting a hole into the top to fit the sink into and running the plumbing through the barrel. Cut carefully-sized holes in the back of the barrel through which you can run the hot and cold water lines and the drain. A barrel makes an interesting addition to a rustic-style bathroom.
Create beautiful planters by cutting wooden barrels in half to create two bucket-shaped planters out of each barrel. Drill some small holes in the ends to aid with drainage and put the barrel planters up on blocks to keep them from making contact with the soil and rotting.
Use a sealed wooden barrel as a water toy at the lake. An empty wooden barrel with no holes in it floats very well and can provide kids with hours of fun as they attempt to balance on it in the water.
Use a series of barrels as part of your interior decor. Barrels can be used for counter bases in kitchens and bathrooms or as supports for a bar in a den or recreation room. If you cut wooden barrels in half vertically, you can place them decoratively against walls, using half the floor space and getting twice as many barrel fronts. Attach the metal bands to the staves with screws before cutting a barrel in half to keep it from coming apart.
Paint the surfaces of a wooden barrel to create unusual artwork. The flat ends of a barrel make ideal surfaces for signs, and the sides can be decorated with everything from flowers to animals to landscapes. With some heavy-duty bolts, a wooden barrel can be mounted on the front of a country store, restaurant or bar and used as a unique sign.