DIY · el cheapo · family fun · Kids

Day 149: Make your own fun! (sprinkler tutorial)

Running through the sprinkler on a hot day is one of the simple joys of summer. Even as an adult, if I’m out for a walk and someone’s sprinkler is watering the sidewalk, I’m absolutely running through it. But it’s not so simple when you don’t actually own a sprinkler — or is it?

(You heard me. We don’t own a sprinkler. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know how I feel about lawns. And why else would I own one? Oh yeah… that whole running-through-the-sprinkler thing. Right.)

E’s new friend down the block came over to play in the backyard today and I decided to make our own fun… by making our own sprinkler. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work (I found myself wishing I’d taken physics, but alas, I wasn’t allowed because my math grades weren’t high enough), so I managed expectations by telling girls that it was an experiment.

I got them to help me with the cordless drill and the tape, and with holding the hose in place. Then we set it up and — whooosh! — it worked! All it took was some tape, a plastic jar, a drill, and the willingness to be wrong. Want to make one yourself? You’re in luck: this post is a DIY tutorial. Grab your materials and let’s get started.


  • 1 clean plastic jar with lid
  • 1 cordless drill with a small (1/16″) drill bit, OR
  • A hammer and a medium to large nail
  • Duck tape
  • Utility knife (or something else to cut a hole in the side of the jar)
  • Your garden hose (no hoses will be harmed in the making of this sprinkler)

I’d like to have taken pictures while I was making it so that I could share them with you, but I didn’t think of it at the time. So for your delight and edification I’ve applied my mediocre drawing skills to illustrate the steps. I hope you enjoy them.


  1. Use the cordless drill (or hammer and nail) to make holes in the bottom of the plastic jar. You decide how many, but it’s a good idea to start with a few, test it, and then add until you like the spray.
  1. With the utility knife, cut an “X” on one side of the jar, near the lid. Push the end of the hose through the X. If it won’t go through, you can start cutting away between the cut lines until there’s enough room. Try not to make this hole too big, though. You’ll see why in the next step.
  1. Keeping the hose in place somehow (I used child labour; do whatever you need to), seal the hole around the hose with duck tape. Then seal that duck tape with more duck tape (make Red Green proud, you guys.) Close the lid of the jar tightly and seal that with duck tape too.
  1. Place the jar upside down on the lawn. Turn on the hose.
  1. Suddenly realize that your DIY sprinkler works so well (and sprays so far) that it’s getting your cordless drill wet. Go move your stuff. Then take off your shoes (if you were wearing any) and start cavorting in the water like you did when you were a kid.

  1. Leave a comment below to tell me all about the cool sprinkler you made. Bonus points for bloopers!

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