How to Paint a Whiskey Barrel

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Creative gardening ideas can be fun and using painted whiskey barrels in your garden landscape can bring enjoyment. Painting a whiskey barrel for outdoors can extend the life of the whiskey barrel to a maximum of about 10 years or indefinitely for indoors. You can complement your house color with a coordinating paint color or choose a decorative theme for an herb garden. Included are 10 tips for painting a whiskey barrel. Just follow this step-by-step instructions for a unique growing container idea.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Tack cloth
  • Goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • 1-inch diameter spade wood drill bit
  • Hardboard
  • Water-based primer
  • Latex acrylic paint, exterior siding
  • 3 or 4 bricks or pavers

Decide where you are going to place your whiskey barrel in your landscape and if you are going to do a decorative pattern or a solid color.

Work in an open and well-ventilated space. The whiskey barrel needs to dry undisturbed between coats and preferably under a roof cover, since it will take several days to complete. If you do not have a painter’s drop cloth, use a plastic tarp or old shower curtain to collect any paint drips. Cover your project if weather is inclement. When you are ready to get started, get someone to help you move the whiskey barrel to project area.

Check the whiskey barrel and make sure the barrel hoops are secure. If they are not, attach the barrel hoops to wooden staves with screws.

Most whiskey barrels have rust on the barrel hoops, so clean those areas first. Use a wire brush to brush the barrel hoops to smooth out the metal.

Use a 1-inch wood drill spade to make several holes in the bottom of the whiskey barrel for drainage. Use an X-shape pattern for drainage holes.

Use a wire brush to remove splinters and dirt from the entire whiskey barrel. Remove any excess metal or wood debris by wiping the whiskey barrel with a tack cloth or other rags. For your safety, use goggles and gloves when sanding or wire brushing your whiskey barrel.

Prime the metal barrel hoops first, getting in between the metal and the wood. Adequately cover the rust on the metal, especially if your whiskey barrel will be outdoors. Apply a second coat of primer and make sure to let it dry between coats.

Prime the wood thoroughly with the exception of the bottom. Allow the first coat to dry and apply another coat of primer in the opposite direction.

Prime the rims last, trying not to drip the primer. Touch up any spots you may have missed.

Apply two coats of paint, allowing for complete dryness between coats. Use bricks or pavers to elevate your whiskey barrel for aeration under the barrel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be creative with your paint ideas. If you decide to use a decorative pattern, do this at the very end. It is a good idea to practice your decorative pattern on hardboard or poster paper. Or you could have a stripe on your whiskey barrel by painting the whiskey barrel hoops a different paint color. Let your creative imagination go free.

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