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How to Make a Trailer From Plastic Barrels

By Matt Allex ; Updated April 18, 2017
Trailers made from plastic barrels.

You have many options when choosing a trailer for your lawnmower, but it may never have occurred to you to build your own. Plastic barrels can be used to create simple, effective and fun trailers. Read on to learn how to make one.

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Basic plastic barrel.

Paint your barrel at the beginning, when it is easiest. You can also paint it after your trailer is fully assembled if you want the entire frame and barrel to be the same color. Most barrels come in white or blue, and either color can be applied with a couple of coats of spray paint.

Once you are satisfied with the color, turn the barrel on its side and cut the opening you want into the top. If you want an easily accessible open trailer, cut the barrel open along the entire length. If you want to make a trailer for riding and amusement, cut off only the top of the barrel and make an attractive seat.

Frame and undercarriage.

Next, create the simple rectangular frame that your plastic barrel will rest upon. Cut and weld your square hollow-section steel rods to a rectangle approximately 35"x20," adding a rod extending at a right angle from the center of one of the 20" sides. (This will become your trailer hitch.) Measurements will vary according to the size of your barrel, but you should end up with a frame that fits around your barrel from end to end when the barrel is lain on its side. Keep the frame small enough to allow the barrel to rest on it, but not big enough to pass through it.

Axle attachment.

Using your equal-angle steel rods, cut and weld two "V" shapes and attach them to the frame, on the end opposite the hitch, centering the point of the "V" approximately 10" from the back of the frame. Now weld your hollow circular rod into the crotch of the "V" shape; this will provide a housing for your axle. Finally, drill holes through the bars on the short sides and bottom of your frame and into the barrel, then insert nuts and bolts, securely fastening the barrel to the frame.

Profile view.

You can now insert your steel dowel or wheel axle though the hollow circular steel rod, and attach your wagon or wheelbarrow wheels. Inflatable tires are preferable to hard plastic wheels for durability, and a smoother ride, if used as transportation.

Interior seat view.

For most users, a flat steel tongue can be welded to the hitch and, by drilling a hole in the tongue, you can attach your new trailer to your lawnmower or ATV. Finally, you have the option of adding a seat to your trailer.

Things You Will Need

  • 55-gallon plastic barrel (approximately 23"x35")
  • Square hollow-section steel rods
  • Equal-angle steel rods
  • Hollow circular steel rods
  • Cutting torch
  • Welding torch
  • Wagon/wheelbarrow wheels
  • Circular steel dowel or wheel axle
  • Paint (color of your choice)
  • Flat steel tongue
  • Drill
  • Reciprocating or circular saw
  • Nuts and bolts


Take stock of your needs before you purchase materials to avoid wasting time and money on options you will not need. Take your time. While trailers like these are relatively straight-forward, careful work helps avoid frustrations.


Always wear proper safety gear when cutting or welding. Never work alone. Make sure you understand how to use the tools needed.

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About the Author

Matt Allex lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to writing, he scratches his creative itch by performing improv comedy, acting at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. He also pursues interests in skepticism, science, horror films, and comic books.

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