Reclaiming an Outdoor Firepit

Written by  Rachael Ranney Tue Oct 18 2011 Last modified on Mon Jul 01 2013

Find out, step-by-step, how to make a firepit for your backyard or patio by using a salvaged metal stove. To see Rachael in action, watch her {Re}habitat video series on adaptive reuse and upcycling.

It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to create a unique place to entertain in your backyard. A salvaged woodburning stove can become a stylish outdoor firepit in a few hours, with a few simple tools, for a couple bucks. Join Rachael Ranney as she demonstrates how she took a rusty stove and turned it into the pride of her garden.

Project Steps and Details

Here’s the breakdown of this project in four easy steps.
  1. Clean. Rinse the stove inside and out to remove any loose dirt or rust with the garden hose. Apply yourself to the stove with the wire brush. Give it a little sweat equity! All of this rust removal will provide a better surface for the paint and sealant. Allow the stove to dry completely.

  2. Punch. Tape your pattern to the side of your stove where you’d like the firelight to shine through. Using the rubber mallet and awl, punch holes into the metal. With the rubber mallet, gently pound out any dents that you made inadvertently while punching your pattern.

  3. Paint. Be sure to use a respirator or mask while you are spray painting the stove’s interior. Check to make sure that the paint is designed for high-heat applications. Work in a  well-ventilated area for this step.

  4. Seal. Don’t remove that respirator or mask yet! Spray the sealant on the outside of the stove to prevent it from corroding any further.

When I installed the stove in my backyard, I followed these basic firepit safety tips. Leave a comment to let me know what repurposing project you want to see next.

Rachael Ranney

Rachael Ranney

Rachael Ranney is the host and one of the creative forces behind the sustainable design and home décor series {Re}habitat on This environmentally friendly how-to series focuses on repurposing salvaged, vintage, and recycled furniture and house wares in your home and garden.

As a lifetime treasure hunter, Rachael grew up scouring Midwest flea markets and thrift shops for unique and beautiful pieces. Raised among tinkerers and artists to value sustainable design, she is constantly pushing herself to see the beauty and possibilities within forgotten things.

Constantly inspired by the online green design and DIY communities, Rachael never stops searching for new projects and materials, discovering how to apply green practices everyday to her home and life.