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Water runs through a DIY sprinkler made of PVC pipe.

How to DIY a Simple Sprinkler Using PVC Pipes

A look at the DIY sprinkler as water runs through it.

Everyone remembers the fun of running through the sprinkler on a hot day. So many hours of fun was derived from a tool that was never intended for kids. But it’s 2021, and we have the technology to improve on the wonderful invention of the sprinkler. Just in time for the mid-summer heat, we have the perfect project that will keep the whole family busy through the holiday weekend, a DIY kids sprinkler. Here’s our guide to building a do-it-yourself sprinkler made of PVC.

Tools

Tape Measure

Cordless Drill

Drill Bits

PVC Pipe Cutter or Miter Saw

Caulk Gun

Utility Knife

Materials

Eight 10-foot pieces of 1/2-inch PVC Pipe

PVC Cement

PVC Fittings (11 elbows, nine tees, four 4-way connectors, and a garden hose connector)

Clear Silicone Caulk

Painters Tape (Optional)

Drop Cloth or Cardboard (Optional)

Spray Paint (Optional)

Pool Noodles (Optional)

Misters (Optional)

DIY Sprinkler Instructions

Before beginning your PVC sprinkler build, ensure you have all your tools and materials before starting. Running back and forth from the hardware store is the perfect way to turn a project into a chore. Many steps in this build are optional; they each add to the project and provide flair to what would otherwise be a drab white pipe system. You can always add your own ideas as well.

1. Cut the PVC Pipe

A miter saw is used to cut the PVC pipe into smaller sections.
  • Measure seven of the 10-foot PVC pipes into 30-inch sections. 
  • Measure the eighth PVC pipe into 29-inch sections. 
  • Use either a PVC pipe cutter or a miter saw to cut the pipes at the marked spots. (Be sure to save the leftover piece for later from the eighth pipe for later)
  • You should finish with 38 30-inch and four 29-inch pieces.

2. Paint the Piping (Optional)

The PVC pipe is taped in preparation for painting.
Blue spray paint is used to coat the taped PVC pipe.

Painting isn’t a required step, but it’ll give the project a little more pop, plus it’s fun for the kiddos.

  • Apply painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to one end of each piece of piping and wrap around in a candy cane pattern until you reach the bottom.
  • Layout the taped pipes on either a drop cloth or a large piece of cardboard.
  • Spray each piece with the spray paint, being sure to evenly coat any exposed space. (Apply light coats and go back over the pipes once they dry. If you apply too much at once, the paint will run, and it’ll look sloppy).
  • Once the pipes dry, roll them over and paint the other side. Let dry
  • Repeat these steps until the pipes are completely covered.
  • Remove the tape once the pipes are completely dry. Dry time depends on the spray paint, but typically it’s about 15-20 minutes.

3. Lay Out a Design

Taped PVC pipe laid out on the ground in a design.

Lay out a rough design of what you want each sidewall to look like. There should be three across the bottom and middle for this specific build and four 2-piece vertical sections. Also, lay out the fittings in specific places to make sure you have all the correct items.

Each side should match with one side having an open 4-inch extension on the bottom for the garden hose connector that will be attached later.

  • Design Tip: You can make the design smaller if you like, which will help with the water pressure. The larger the structure, the less pressure will go through the system.

4. Connect Fittings and Pipes

PVC cement is applied to a PVC elbow connector.
  • Use PVC cement to join each fitting to the pipes. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area to prevent any inhalation of the fumes from the cement.
  • Be sure to attach the garden hose connector on the 4-inch extension.
  • The cement should be applied inside the fittings, and the pipes pushed into them.
  • Let the cement dry for 15-20 minutes before moving on to the next step.

5. Drill Sprinkler Holes

A cordless drill is used to drill holes in the PVC pipe.

Use a 1/8 drill bit to drill the holes during this step. You can use a smaller or larger drill bit if you like, but it will affect the water pressure either way. The smaller the hole, the higher the water pressure. 

  • Measure every six inches on the top portion of the vertical sections of each sidewall. Drill the holes at each mark.

6. Add Misters and Pool Noodles (Optional)

Caulk is applied around a water mister.
A pink pool noodle is wrapped around a portion of the PVC pipe.

This step is purely to add to the look of your DIY sprinkler and can be skipped entirely.

  • Measure the diameter of your misters and drill holes that are one step lower in size. Drill 6-inches apart in the top section of the sprinkler.
  • Insert the misters in the drilled holes. This may require using a rubber mallet, depending on the style of your misters.
  • Tip: If the misters are loose, use clear caulk to fill the gaps around the base. This will ensure you have a tight seal and no water escapes during operation.
  • If you forego the misters in the top section, you can use the 1/8 drill bit and drill holes similar to the vertical sections.
  • Cut the pool noodles into 27-inch sections. 
  • Use a utility knife to cut the sections vertically.
  • Slip the sections over the middle horizontal pipes on each sidewall.

7. Finish the Top Section

The top section of the sprinkler is connected to the sidewalls.

This is the final portion of the build. The top section shouldn’t be glued so it can be easily removed when the sprinkler isn’t in use. This way the project can be broken into sections and easily stored during the winter.

  • Stand the sidewalls up and attach them together using the top horizontal sections.

You’re done. You can now test out the system and spend hours of fun running through the DIY sprinkler with the family.

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