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DIY Stock Tank Shower

I have gotten so many questions about this project, so I’m really excited to show you how to make the DIY stock tank shower that you saw in the bunkie bathroom renovation.    It’s such a fun surprise because when you walk into the bunkie bathroom, you see this:

Rustic modern bunkie bathroom renovationDIY shower curtain for round shower

And you might think there’s a plain old shower hidden behind the shower curtain – But SURPRISE!!  Behind that custom shower curtain is a DIY stock tank shower!

Learn How to Make a DIY Stock Tank Shower Using a Stock Tank from Tarter USA

The scariest part of the bunkie bathroom renovation was creating this DIY stock tank shower.  I had only seen one or two photos of stock tank showers online, with no idea how to build one or even if a stock tank shower is a good idea – but Hubby and I researched as much as we could and forged ahead turning a stock tank for livestock into a cool and compact shower.

How to Make a DIY Stock Tank Shower

The Bunkie Bath Before

Here’s a quick reminder of the bunkie bath before – you can see lots more photos by clicking here.  The most annoying part of this tiny bathroom was how the bathroom door couldn’t open full (it hit the shower) – but neither could the shower door (it hit the vanity).  We wanted to create a bathroom with no more swinging doors!

Cheap alternative to a corner fiberglass shower

How to Choose a Stock Tank for a DIY Stock Tank Shower:

The first step was tracking down a good stock tank.  We checked around locally, but all of the stock tanks were really dented with somewhat rough edges.  They’re made for livestock, so of course they weren’t designed for beauty!  I think people around here genuinely think I had gone off the deep end when I rolled up at the local farm supply store in my bright green Camaro, asking about a stock tank to use as a shower.  After doing a lot of research online, I found Tarter USA and realized that their galvanized stock tanks were perfect!  I love the simple design.  Plus the rounded edge (meant for livestock safety) looks good and ensures human safety too.  Tarter designs their stock tanks with multiple uses in mind, so they don’t seem as… rustic as other brands I looked at.  I reached out to Tarter and the company generously sent me a stock tank (and a spare) to use in my bathroom reno.

What Size Stock Tank is Used for a Shower?

You can use any size stock tank for a shower or tub – compare measurements to what you already have in place to get a good visual of what will fit.  I wanted a 36″ inch stock tank to comfortably fit in the small bunkie bathroom.  I learned that the 36″ size that I needed is actually shipped nested, so some are smaller than others.  This worked out perfectly because one of the tanks I was provided was actually about a 32-33″ – which fit even better in the tiny bunkie than I had planned.  I had measured for a 36″ but this bought us a little more wiggle room and the bunkie feels way more spacious.

How to add a drain to a stock tank

Prep for Installing a DIY Stock Tank Shower:

Prior to installing the stock tank shower, we tiled the bunkie floor with a small charcoal hex and ran that tile up the wall where the old fiberglass corner shower had been.  The pine didn’t run behind the previously installed shower, but I think the tile running up the wall from the floor to cover the drywall helps make this look intentional.  Plus, although there is a shower curtain, and the sides of the stock tank are plenty high, the tile is more water resistant than pine in case someone splish splashes water out.  If you’re prepping a space for a stock tank shower, having a level floor will help the installation go more smoothly.

Charcoal grey hex tile from Lowe's

Because the stock tank shower uses a lot of the footprint of the room, before installing it we also installed, patched and painted the trim, installed the ceiling mounted shower curtain rod, the shower head and valve.  It was easier to do this before the stock tank was in place – just something to think about!

Charcoal hex tile

How to Position a Drain Hole for a Stock Tank Shower:

We already had a hole in the floor for the old drain but we had to reposition it first.  We were replacing the sub floor anyway, because it had totally rotted due to the leaking fiberglass shower, so this was no big deal.  In terms of positioning the drain, we left enough room around the sides to keep a comfortable distance between the stock tank and toilet, plus I left enough room between the walls and tank so that I can reach a cloth in there and clean.  I didn’t want it butted up to the walls, leaving me a sliver of space that would collect dust.  This placement is personal preference – you just want the drain positioned in line with the center of the stock tank bottom.  I suggest marking the floor with masking tape so you can clearly envision where the stock tank will be.

How to position a drain hole for a stock tank shower

How to Make a DIY Stock Tank Shower

How to Make a Stock Tank Shower - step by step tutorialLearn How to Make a DIY Stock Tank Shower Using a Stock Tank from Tarter USA #stocktank #diy #bunkie #bunkiebathroom #diyhomedecor


Tarter USA stock tank shower

How to Add a Drain to a DIY Stock Tank Tub:

Adding a drain to the stock tank was pretty simple but one concern we had was that water might sit in the bottom.  I learned that some people built up a base with mortar and penny tile to create a sloped bottom so the water can drain.  We did something a little different: before creating the hole for the drain, we decided to counter sink it by creating a concave hole slightly larger than the drain hole so that the water can flow toward the drain.  We did this because we wanted to make sure that the drain is not higher than the bottom of the stock tank.  So far, we do not have issues with water pooling in the stock tank shower – but this could change if the bunkie shifts.

Why I chose a pop up drain: I chose a pop up drain as opposed to a plain grid drain or non-closing umbrella drain, because I wanted the option to fill the stock tank with water so people could soak a swimsuit in here or steal baby geese, I don’t know.  I thought this feature would be used more, but so far nobody has used the bunkie for anything other than a shower so a pop up drain really wasn’t necessary and is probably more of a trip hazard than anything.

To install the drain: flip the stock tank over and measure to find the center of the bottom.  We stuck on a piece of tape so we could clearly draw a guide.  These stock tanks are designed for livestock so they’re not 100% round, so the “center” might be an “ish” measurement.  But to the naked eye, our mark is perfect.

How to add a drain to a stock tank

Next, drill a pilot hole for a hole saw, using a metal drill bit large enough for the pilot bit to chase it.

How to add a drain to a stock tank

Now we made a homemade “jig”.  It’s just a piece of plywood, with a circle roughly cut out.  This circle is sized for the indentation we wanted for the drain.  The two stir sticks are spacers to allow the circle to sit lower than the rest of the wood.  With this “jig”taped  in place, we flipped over the stock tank and hammered the center with the ball peen hammer from the inside.

How to add a drain to a stock tankHow to add a drain to a stock tank

From the inside, this is what we ended up with: a counter sunk area larger than the actual drain fitting.

How to add a drain to a stock tank

Here’s a look from the underside:

How to add a drain to a stock tank

Then we used a hole saw to drill out the hole, from the bottom, and filed the edges with a metal file to remove any burrs.  With those steps completed we were able to install the drain – per manufacturers instructions.

How to add a drain to a stock tankHow to add a drain to a stock tank

How to Install a DIY Stock Tank Shower:

Before installing it in the bunkie, we added a thin layer of foam under the stock tank to compensate for unevenness in the tile.  This foam just helps the tank sit more evenly.

How to add a drain to a stock tank

We carefully placed the tank where we wanted it, running a bead of construction adhesive along the underside edge.  We will also go back and do a bead of clear silicone along the outside bottom edge (the same way you do this for a toilet base), but we just didn’t have time before the colder weather set in – so that’s a spring job.

How to add a drain to a stock tank Cheaper DIY shower ideas

The Finished Stock Tank Shower Project

This DIY stock tank shower is definitely a fun and quirky feature – perfect for a bunkie!  I’m not sure I’d use this in a main bathroom, but out here I love it.  A DIY stock tank shower fit out needs perfectly.  I didn’t want another fiberglass shower (I actually bought one and then lugged it back to the store to return), after the major leaking that happened with the old one.  And I didn’t want a glass shower because I HATE cleaning glass!  This is a bunkie, meant to be casual and fun.  I’d rather toss the shower curtain in the wash from time to time than spend hours out here with glass cleaner.  I also didn’t want corners – it’s a tight spot and this round stock tank shower fits in here nicely.  With the old shower you couldn’t open the door without hitting the vanity, and I often stubbed my toe on a corner.  This stock tank shower solution really fit our needs!

Corner fiberglass shower alternative for small space

Round Ceiling Mounted Shower Curtain Rod

To finish off the shower, we hung a ceiling mounted shower curtain rod – it wasn’t easy tracking down the right size, but it was worth it.  To play up the charcoal tile and matte black faucet, I ordered this modern square shower head.  I wanted a rainfall style shower head so the water would flow straight down the middle of the stock tank:

Modern black rainfall shower headBest shower head for stock tank showerCeiling mounted shower curtain on round ceiling mounter curtain rodRustic modern black and pine bathroom detailsBlack rainfall shower head

It’s difficult to see it with the shower curtain, but this corner of charcoal tile running up from the floor looks so good!  The tiles were three different materials so there’s a bit of variations, which lends a handmade quality.  I finished it off with wood trim, painted with a matte black outdoor paint for more water resistance.

DIY corner tiled shower areaDIY lined shower curtainLearn How to Make a DIY Stock Tank Shower Using a Stock Tank from Tarter USA

The bunkie is still a work in progress, but I am so glad we could re-do the bathroom!  I still have some decorating I want to do, plus we’re finally going to re-build the sauna benches and start using it.  I also want to tackle some outdoor projects, like maybe a new roof?  Definitely black deck stain to match the house.  But the bathroom, and its DIY stock tank shower, is pretty perfect, if you ask me – if you missed the before/after reveal, check it out here.


Square Rainfall Shower Head (Amazon) | Shower Curtain (DIY) | Curtain Fabric (c/o Online Fabric Store) | Stock Tank (c/o Tarter USA) | Hex Tile (c/o Lowe’s) | Ball Shower Curtain Rings | Ceiling Mounted Shower Curtain Rod (similar) | Skirted Toilet (c/o Pfister) | Turkish Towels (similar) | Sliding Barn Door Hardware (c/o Renin) | Retro Folding Stool (DIY Vintage)

P.S. I recently created an Amazon Storefront with a list of cute finds with the bunkie bathroom vibeclick here to take a look around.

Can a Stock Tank Be Used for a Bathtub?

Yes, you can definitely use a stock tank for a tub.  However, I will say that with a larger tank, making sure the water can drain would be a bigger issue.  You’ll want to install it such that the water can flow to the front of the tub, which the drain will be located.  You may choose to embed or build up the stock tank underneath so this draining can happen.  I will also caution you that while my guests love to stand in the stock tank, I’m not sure how many would like to sit down and relax in it.  It’s definitely doable, but it won’t have the same luxury as the bathtubs you may be used too (like a sloped back and seam free surface).  I would definitely recommend finding a local farm supply shop and sitting in a stock tank before committing to a reno like this, just to make sure you really like the look and feel.  But it’s definitely a cheap bathtub idea and can really look great in a rustic or farmhouse style home.



  1. cathie
    March 8, 2019 / 8:57 pm

    Kind of off-topic but I’m wondering what happens with this bunkie in the winter Do you have to keep it heated (if its not heated is mold a problem?) Do you have issues with mice or other critters taking up residence, are frozen pipes a big problem? Is it habitable or do you really shut it up and don’t go inside for the whole winter? So many questions from this (obvious) city girl!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      March 9, 2019 / 2:20 pm

      Good questions! We do not keep the bunkie heated, but we haven’t had an issue with mold. That might be the climate here (?): it can be very dry here. I actually have had problems with wood due to dryness. Frozen pipes would be a problem if we kept using the water in the winter. The water in them, freezing, could causing cracking etc. Once it starts to get cold, we drain all of the water, shut off the water and put antifreeze in the toilet – kind of the way you would prep an RV for winter storage. I’d actually like the insulate the water lines but we’d have to do some major work and dig up the lines. For mice, we have a little plug in device that deters mice and (knock on wood) we haven’t had issues with them. We’ve never seen any signs of them in there at all. We have the same mice deterrent in the garage too, to protect the Camaro when it’s off the road for winter, and we also stuff it with bounce sheets (apparently they hate those). We could definitely use the bedroom/sauna part in the winter but we just don’t. It isn’t insulated super well, so heating would be expensive and I think letting it get hot/cold/hot/cold would be worse. This way it gradually gets colder, then gradually warms up. I was actually in there the other day, tidying a bit. I can’t wait to open it up again.

  2. Deirdre
    March 14, 2019 / 4:05 pm

    It might not look very pretty, but have you thought about installing a grab bar ? Looking at how high that tank is, all I can think of is the potential for falling when climbing in to the shower. You don’t have to be old to lose your balance!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      March 14, 2019 / 4:16 pm

      We did think about it but I haven’t noticed grab bars near any of the stock tanks I’ve seen online, so I’m not sure if it’s a big issue… You can just grab the tub edge (it’s sturdy, with a thick edge that’s rolled). It’s easier to hop in than it looks. But it’s definitely something to think about again as we open the bunkie for the spring (soon). Thanks for the food for thought 🙂

  3. Melisa L Smith
    June 3, 2019 / 10:38 pm

    Where did you find your circular shower rod? I am about to do the same exact thing and havent been able to find a shower curtain rod that fits the 3ft tank.

  4. June 18, 2019 / 3:04 pm

    Where did you find the tub plug? Most I’m finding have something like a handle or button attached… which wouldn’t be good to slide into or a kid land on. Yours looks so sleek but simple!

  5. Chelsi Slater
    July 23, 2019 / 11:24 pm

    I LOVE THIS!!! thank you for sharing. where did you find your beautiful tile and is it hard to keep clean?

    • July 25, 2019 / 3:16 pm

      Thank you so much! The tile is from Lowe’s and it’s one of the styles that goes on sale often. You can find it with this link. The stock tank is pretty easy to keep clean, but that’s probably also because it’s a guest space so it doesn’t see daily use. The tile has a lot of grout, which I normally avoid, but it’s black which is good! There are different textures, but none of them really hold the dirt which is nice. In my own main bathroom, I chose large tile for the floor and shower so in a space that’s used a lot I still prefer that, but this has been fun for a bunkie for sure.

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