Propane fire pits are all the rage. They’re simple to use and exceptionally easy to maintain and clean-burning, and aesthetically appealing. Most importantly, they keep you and your friends warm wherever you are, whether you’re relaxing on the patio in the evening or lying on the beach with a good book.
If you want your own propane fire pit but don’t have the resources or money to buy a high-end product, make your own instead. Create an environmentally friendly and chic model for your own backyard with the help of this step-by-step guide.
However you choose to make one of these pits, you’ll need to order a burner kit from a local store or online marketplace. Here are two approaches to creating a DIY propane fire pit. One is simple and incredibly cost-effective, while the other is more time-consuming but can lead to an impressive final result.
You’ll need to order a basic burner kit from a local store or online for this method. Ensure that this package includes a circular burner unit between 10”-14” in diameter, a bottle regulator and gauge that allows you to turn the gas on and off, a weather-resistant hose line, and a high-quality regulator for the propane tank. If you can find a kit that also includes a weatherproof cover for your burner, that’s a bonus.
Next, find a ceramic or terracotta flower pot that’s deep and wide enough to hold your propane gas tank. Terracotta is an ideal material for your homemade fire pit because the clay-based ceramic material retains the heat from the flames without melting or changing state.
A 5-gallon propane tank is 12” wide by 18” tall, while an 8-gallon canister is 12” by 24”, so you’ll need to use a relatively large flower pot. You don’t want the top half of the gas tank poking out of the top of your attractive and decorative clay container. You can easily find large, wide flower pots that are affordable and aesthetically appealing.
You also need a circular wood board to place across the top of this clay pot, hiding the propane gas canister from view. Buy a commercial pizza pan to attach to the wooden board. You’ll put your burner on this pan, so make sure that this circular aluminum or steel nonstick sheet is slightly wider than your burner. Most pizza pans are 14” in diameter, but if you’re using a 16”-wide burner unit, a 14” pan is too small.
Drill a 1”-wide hole in the center of your wooden board, then do the same in the middle of your commercial-style pizza pan. Lay your wood panel on top of the large terracotta pot, centering the hole, then put the circular tray on top of this panel. The bottom rod of the burner should fit neatly through the aligned holes. Your burner kit should come with a step-by-step instruction manual, so use this booklet to connect the bottle regulator to the hose and the hose to the bottom of the burner.
Once you’ve connected your gas tank to your burner’s base, you can drill a hole in the side of the flower pot for your key valve. When you want to turn the fire on or off, you can insert the key into this valve and control propane gas flow from the tank to the burner. This saves you the trouble of dismantling the whole unit to get to the top of the canister and switch the gas on that way.
When you’re ready to light up your propane fire pit, turn the key to switch on the gas, then use an electric firelighter to ignite this gas. You now have a portable and rustic-looking fire pit that you can put in your lounge, backyard, or on your patio.
This approach to making a DIY propane fire pit is more involved, time-consuming, and expensive than the flowerpot method. However, if you follow the steps, you’ll create a stylish fire pit table that has a sleek, contemporary look and multiple uses.
First, you’ll need to build the table. Put your burner kit to one side and start with the framework for this hardwood table unit. Cut the frame’s four main posts first. You can slice these to any length you want, but remember that you need to fit a 20 lbs. or 33 lbs. tank of propane and the bottom half of your rectangular burner inside this unit, so don’t build a structure that’s too shallow. The standard height of most fire pit tables is somewhere between 12”-15”.
Buy three 2” x 4” beams from a hardware store, each cut to a standard length 8’, then cut these into separate pieces so that you can create four rectangular frames. Two of these frames will slot into the front and back of your table, and the other two will slot into the sides. Pick your own dimensions, depending on how wide or long you want your fire pit table to be. Screw these frames into the sides of your corner posts to create a basic table structure, adding angle braces if you wish.
Use construction adhesive to stick four trim boards to the base of the framework for extra stability, then attach suitably sized planks to the back and sides. You can create a door frame for the front of the structure, inserting a ball catch in the bottom so that the door can swing either way. Board up half of the table’s front frame with the rest of the plank pieces, leaving space for your door. Apply caulk and finish to the frame.
Cut some galvanized steel roof flashing into suitable pieces so that you can fit it into the top of your box, then install a drip edge so that it’s face-up on top of this roof flashing. This process creates a heat shield that protects the rest of your frame from the propane burner’s high temperatures.
Cut the melamine tabletop form to size with a chop saw. This is the mold for your concrete, so you need to build a trench in the middle of the melamine for your rectangular propane burner tank. Mix and color your concrete, then pour it into the melamine template so that you have a walled, indented space in the middle for the fire pit itself. Let the concrete set, then screw the tabletop unit to the top of the wooden frame.
Use the space in the front frame panel to insert your propane tank under the tabletop and connect all the hoses and gas lines between the canister and the burner. You can connect your door frame to this front panel and drill a hole for your key gauge.
Making your own propane fire pit is a fun and fulfilling activity, and you’ll find that the final product can light up a party and warm your friends and family on a cold winter’s night. If you’re crafty, love DIY projects, or just enjoy a cost-effective solution you can create on your own, a DIY propane fire pit is a fun project for you and your children to build together.