I built raised gardens this year and added cheap DIY PVC irrigation. I used a 1/16" drill bit and drilled several holes in 1/2" PVC pipe. The 1/16" drill bit was the smallest I had but the holes were still too big for the misting action I was going for; the water comes out in streams and pools in the low spots of the soil.

I am looking for ideas on how I can get more of a "misting" action. My ideas:

  • drill smaller holes: problem with this is that 1/16" is my smallest bit, I would have to buy specialty "micro" drill bits plus a special chuck and/or Dremel to use them
  • drill more holes: I currently have pairs of holes every 9" or so; I could turn the PVC into swiss cheese and put holes every 1/2" or so; I can't really go back once I take the plunge, though
  • use duct tape: the answer for everything! I could tape over the existing holes with duct tape and use a needle to poke pinholes in the tape; this seems like it would work but might not hold up well

Any thoughts?

  • 1
    I like the duct tape option. You should try that and see if you get the misting action you desire. Let us know because I'm really curious if that would work. Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 17:15
  • 1
    For ~$40.00 you could get a Portable Misting Tower.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 17:35
  • 2
    electrical tape might be a better option than the duct tape.
    – DA01
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 18:38
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    You really don't want misting. Misting makes the water evaporate faster and could get water onto the plant leaves and stems which could promote disease. You want your irrigation to slowly saturate the soil so the roots can drink it up. Just get some drip emitter line. They don't clog and deliver water very slowly so you won't waste as much due to gravity or evaporation as you will with your home brew solution. It's not very expensive either. Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 18:40
  • Do you insist upon pvc? Drip irrigation kits are available from many sources; I even found a cheap version at Harbor Freight.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 15:24

13 Answers 13


Your best bet would be to get some 1/2" PVC Couplings with threaded port

enter image description here

and some Misting Nozzles.

enter image description here

You should be able to find them both online, or at your local landscaping/gardening center. This setup would allow you to get the desired spray pattern, by selecting the appropriate nozzles.

  • 2
    +1 That is a good long term solution, but I would need over $100 worth of that equipment. I have about $15 in materials invested so far. I think I'd like to explore other options first. Great links, by the way. Much better than the limited options I was finding on other sites (Home Depot, Amazon, etc.)
    – mwolfe02
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 15:23
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    @mwolfe02 I don't think you are going to get what you are looking for by simply drilling holes, you need some type of nozzle to shape and direct the spray. The only option I can think of where holes might work, is if you bury the pipe and let the water seep into the soil.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 15:35
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    These products are intended for the exact opposite of irrigation as they are designed to make as much of the water evaporate as possible by making the water drops very very small and maximize the surface area. For irrigation you want to deliver as much water to the plants as you can and minimize the water loss due to evaporation. Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 20:49
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    @PhilipNgai The nice thing about a setup like this, is that you can easily change the nozzles to achieve the desired watering pattern.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 11:44
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    Drill and tap your PVC then you only have to get the misting nozzles. Still some investment, but not as much.
    – Freiheit
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 14:56

I haven't tried this, so no idea if it'd work, but one thought would be to find a needle and a torch. Get the needle as hot as you can and then poke it into the PVC to melt a tiny hole.

  • 1
    +1: Exactly what I was thinking. You'll probably want to ensure good ventilation though. Melted PVC fumes (Hydrogen chloride) is not good for you. ;)
    – techie007
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 15:55
  • and a side of dioxin, yummy!
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 13:05
  • This will still create a simple 'nozzle' effect. In order to get misting, as requested, there needs to be a shaped nozzle and/or venturi Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 17:50

You have two choices depending on whether you have continuous areas of plants to water or discrete plants to water.

For the latter, you would use drip emitters, bubblers or misters like these:


all depending on your desired flow rate.

For continuous plants, dripline is good:


BTW, there is a time and place for DIY. In this case I regard it as re-inventing the wheel with little chance of generating much value. Precisely sized nozzles for uniform water distribution is, as you have found, a challenge to create at home.


Although I'm not convinced a round hole of any size will give you the misting pattern you are looking for, micro-sized drill bits and an accompanying hand tool (pin-vise) are actually not that expensive, and will last you a long time (if not abused ;) ).

For ~$20 you can get a pin-vise and micro bits from many hobby shops (real or on-line).

Hobby Pin-vise and Bits

Alternatively, another (often cheaper) version of this is a drill-style welding tip cleaner:

Welding Tip Cleaner

They are REALLY good bits (they have to stand up to drilling carbon deposits out of the welding tips) and when sharp will go though PVC very easily. So easily that using a moto-tool (like a Dremel) may actually make the job more complicated and take longer in the end.


A slightly more robust version of your duct-tape solution might be to drill larger holes, then use a hot glue gun and a needle to form permanent tiny nozzles in place.

Edited to add: the way I'd envision this working would be to ensure that you have a slight "mushroom cap" of solidified glue on each side to keep it in place, trying to make a thinner membrane of glue in the middle so that you can poke it through without too much effort -- you might have some luck poking the glue with the rounded end of a normal pencil or something similarly shaped while it's cooling, to spread it out and thin the middle, ending up with something like:

       __   __
______|_ \_/ _|_____
________| _ |_______  <-- pipe wall
      |__/ \__|
       |_ glue
  • 1
    Can you expand on this a bit? I would think there wouldn't be enough hot glue to PVC contact area. I imagine the water pressure would blow out the dab of hot glue rather than squeeze through the pin hole. Or am I not understanding?
    – mwolfe02
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 17:16
  • Just to be clear...I appreciate your answer. This is the sort of out of the box thinking I was hoping to generate with this question.
    – mwolfe02
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 17:17
  • Hopefully that edit should make it a bit clearer - but I should emphasise, I haven't tried this.
    – Aesin
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 17:40
  • +1 I've never tried binding hot glue to PVC myself, but this is certainly an interesting idea. Thanks!
    – mwolfe02
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 17:57

What about a small slit cut horizontally with a Dremel tool cut-off wheel? This would create a fan shaped spray instead of a stream.

  • That's an interesting idea...
    – mwolfe02
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 13:15

Resurrecting an old thread, but another idea...

1/2" pvc pipe with 1/8" holes drilled. Then slide 1" sections of heat-shrink tubing over each hole and shrink to tight fit. Then poke a TINY hole (very fine needle) into the tubing.

My concerns would be the shrink wrap tubing tearing out under too-high pressure (like, U.S. public line pressure), or the holes plugging from mineral deposits.


I'm in the process of installing a drip system. What I've done is purchase blue line, 1/2" irrigation tubing. I then poke holes where I want them using a hat pin and different sized safety pins. It works wonderfully and I've saved hundreds on materials.

I decided to do this after learning that the high priced drip line with the emitters already installed has a life expectancy of 10 years, and the individual emitters 3-4. In my opinion, it's a great example of how marketing gets us to believe there's only one way. Really glad to know you're thinking outside the box. Good Luck!


Instead of tape with an adhesive, use self-healing tape if your holes are too big. Then you can make a pinhole in the tape. Tape is available at Radio Shack but maybe others places also.


The Dremel cut wheel sounds like it would make a good fanned spray. Would make a cut that looks like some of the spray novels on the bissel carpet cleaners.
But to drill and try to make a mist I would start with the smallest bit. Don't drill the whole way through. Just thin the wall till you can push a tack or needle through. My theory is that the shape of the drilled section will help pull the water into a fanned out must rather than a stream. (And the needle would give a smaller hole. )


PVC can be melted. Get a needle, lock the eye hole down in vice grips, use a lighter to heat the needle (or if the needle is long attach it to a 9V battery) and the start pressing into your PVC. It may take a few times in the same place but you will get a micro hole. Once through the pipe use your 1/16 drill bit to tap a cone at the tip of the needle hole to give yourself a spray pattern.

  • This duplicates DA01's solution from 2012.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 5:33

Since you are going for irrigation (not evaporative cooling), you do NOT want a mister. You want a soaker hose!

The advantage is that the soaker hose delivers bigger drops and puts them directly onto the soil. Very easy to place the moisture where you want it, and losing less to evaporation means you are more efficient at watering your plants.


Unaware of your idea I have been trying something similar myself. Rather than use a small drill I have used a fine sowing needle. I have only tried a piece of hose about 4 feet long so far but it seems to work well. To hold the needle i use long nose pliers, not very long, about 1-1/2 inch. I hold the needle length ways in the pliers with less than half an inch sticking out beyond the end of the pliers. I was surprised how easily the needle went into the hose. It is cheap hose bought from a bargain store. I suspect it might be more difficult with good quality hose.

  • 1
    The question is about making a PVC mister. A garden hose is a very different animal. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 17:21

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