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Make your own wind chimes

Wind chimes are one of the easiest crafts you could make. They don’t need to be fancy: you just need some materials that dangle and make a nice clinking noise, then you fasten them all to something long (like an old knife) or circular (old embroidery hoops, hubcaps, etc.) and you’ve got a wind chime.

I’m not really going to give you a how-to, because I already pretty much did when I said you attach dangly things to a base. All that’s left is using string and a hook to attach the base to wherever you’re going to let it hang. There are, however, quite a few tips to help you make great wind chimes.

Tips to making your own wind chimes

  1. It’s all about balance. The chime materials need to be light enough to move in the sort of breezes you get in your area, but not so light that they jangle constantly and annoy people. They must be far apart enough to avoid tangling, but close enough to bump into each other. If the strings you dangle them from are too long, they’ll get tangled all the time (and stop chiming). And so on, and so forth. The good news is: almost every mistake you make with wind chimes is easily fixed.
  2. Optional striker. You can just let the chimes knock against each other, but a striker will often provide more and better sound. This should be a small piece of wood or finished ceramic – for some reason, the best combinations I’ve see involve porous strikers with non-pourous chimes.
  3. Great materials include bamboo sticks (for that lovely, deep hollow sound), metal tubes (junk yards), bits of glass (stained is gorgeous), PVC piping (not very resonant, but a nice sound), old tools, old keys, seashells from your last beach trip, small rocks and old silverware.
  4. Acceptable materials include anything that makes a noise you can hear across a fairly large room, that’s safe for birds and squirrels (not that they’re likely to come near wind chimes, but you never know), that’s reasonably weather-proof, and that’s not going to break when it collides with the other parts in a strong wind. Some breakable parts can be combined with less breakable ones: for example, I’ve seen lovely wind chimes made using finished bathroom tiles as the striker with metal tubes for sound. The tubes never broke the tiles, but another tile might have.
  5. Use fishing wire to make the wind chime. It’s strong enough to hold up the sort of materials that will chime. It’s bird-safe (birds can get bits of yarn, for example, stuck in their respiratory systems, which can be fatal). And it’s invisible.
  6. You’ll need a drill to make holes in the parts that will be suspended from the tops. Be sure to wear safety goggles when drilling, and keep your face away (or masked) so don’t breathe in dust from the materials you’re drilling. Sand the hole to get rid of sharp edges. Holes should be drilled about 1/8 of an inch from the top of the part (this is where you’ll pull the fishing wire through to attach the suspended part from the top piece).
  7. Height. As you’re stringing the parts up, pay attention to height – they have to be able to collide with each other or with the optional striker in order to make noise. This is easy to fix, even after you’ve finished your chime.
  8. If you want to use materials like metal tubes, you’ll need tools for cutting them. Each metal tube should be a different length from each other one – a difference of about two inches is needed for them to hit different notes.

Wind chimes don’t need to be elaborate or fancy, or even musical. A mellow tapping sound can be very soothing on warm breezy evenings.

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