Several people have mentioned they needed barrels for a pirate theme. I need a bunch to really create the scene and didn't want to shell out the bucks for planters from the garden center. Or try to build wooden barrels from pallets - I have a friend who has access to a bander, but we'd still have to cut the wood and he's not sure how soon he can borrow it. Then today I noticed the foam underlayment board at my Home Depot and the light bulb went off. For $31 I got a bundle of 25 sheets of 1/4-inch 2x4 foot boards (bundle is fanfolded - open it would be a 4 x 50 foot panel.) I cut 3 by 10 inch slices along each 4-foot length (leaving the center of the board uncut until I could get tape on the back of the board), slapped some duct tape on it and, ta da - barrels!
Now that I know the concept works, I plan to paint and grain the foam first (using MikeC's great technique) and cut circles for the top and bottom. And buy more duct tape! Just wanted to get the idea out there for you other pirates.