How to make a cheap rain gage for garden

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Often it rains in the Fort Worth area for several days continuously. Wouldn’t you want to know how much rainfall your lawn and garden are getting when it rains? Or how long to place your inside plants outside on a rainy day so they can get about an inch or two of good old natural rainwater? Learn how to put together a simple rain gage you can place on your lawn or garden, or on your driveway or paved area,  to determine the rainfall ….or to know how much water you’ve captured in your rain barrel connected to your downspout.  Learn a cheap, easy and fast way to save money on a rain gage and start a cottage industry in making and decorating them for your friends!

You’ll be delighted the first time you use your new rain gage and watch the water falling inside to give you readings! You probably won’t be able to stand it and will run and rab your kids and spouse to come see the  money you’re saving in action!

See slide show

How to make cheap garden rain gage

Things You’ll Need:

  • A straight sideed clear plastic glass about 8″ tall
  • A measuring ruler in inches
  • A Black Sharpie Pen
  • Ceramic glue or strong
  • One ceramic tile, 4′ sq. or 4×6, larger than plastic glass
  • Natural Rain Water

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Choose a clear plastic, straight sided drinking glass. If you don’t have one at home, go to a garage sale or Fort Worth Salvation Army  or Thrift store.. Get one of your permanent black Sharpies from another project. Find a straight inch ruler to stick in glass for measurements. Scrounge for a piece of ceramic tile about 4″ square or 4″ x 6″, just larger than base of the plastic glass. Find some super glue or ceramic glue from a former project or purchse at a Lowe’s or Home Depot. See Sketch No. 1 for type of glass.

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Place plastic glass on table, insert inch straight ruler inside glass, reading from inside. Make sure glass is vertical and ruler is right at edge of glass so you can read markings.  You will be marking increments for your rain gage so leave in glass until you have completed all markings.

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Use this type of plastic glass.

With zero at bottom of glass, mark on the outside of the glass short horizontal lines at half- inch increments. Mark at one inch, 1 ½”, two inch,  2 ½ ” ,  and so on until  you reach the rim of the glass which should be about 8″ . See Sketch No. 2.

Your glass should now have several horizntal lines ½”  apart. Now you will label the inches. 1″, 1 ½”, 2″ and 2 ½ ” and so on until you reach the rim of the glass which should be about 8″. Again, you may only want 1″ increments marked. It is your choice. See Sketch No. 3.

When you complete your measurement marks, go back and add the representative numbers beside each measurement mark. For example at one inch you have a horizontal mark and now put a “1” beside that mark. Do the same for second mark  which would be a “2”. Continue until you have representative numerical markings beside each horizontal mark. You can take the ruler out, you have just marked the inches for the rain gage.

Place  marked plastic glass  on its’ side and put  a bead of glue around bottom edge of glass. Let set for a few seconds, then turn glass right side up and place it in the center of the ceramic tile. Press firmly for about 30 seconds or as needed per manufacturers recommendations.

Let plastic glass glued to ceramic tile sit for several hours. Let plastic glass sit overnight undisturbed in spot where you placed it on tile. See Sketch No. 4.

When glue has totally set, place plastic glass on ceramic tile outside in prominent location where it can be seen, preferably from inside. Choose a level spot on your lawn, in your garden, on your patio or paved walk, or on your level driveway. Wait for the first significant rainfall to fill your new rain gage! Show your friends and family! Enjoy your success.

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Tips & Warnings:

  • The clearer the plastic glass the better you will be able to read the inches of rain that it collects!
  • The ceramic tile helps keep the rain gage from floating away until it is heavy with water.
  • Be creative and decorate your gage but don’t obscure the reading!.
  • Do not use a real glass drinking glass….it will break if you have an accident, the other, the only thing that breaks is the tile and it does not shatter in so many small pieces that you cannot pick them up.

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