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How to Make 15 Upcycled DIY Wind Chimes Or Invent Your Own

Wind chimes are one of the easiest crafts you could make. They don’t need to be fancy, and you can make them with things you’ve got laying around the house.

Metal wind chimes on front porch

You just need some materials that dangle and make a nice clinking noise. Then you fasten them all to a base and hang it up outside, and you’ve got a wind chime.

The beauty of making wind chimes is they can be anything. And the more creative you get, the more original and interesting they’ll be.

You can find the materials you’ll need to make one around your home or at a flea market. Except for the drill and the fishing line, and possibly some sealant, if you don’t already have those on hand.

Choosing the Materials

The Chimes

Almost anything can be a chime, as long as you like the sound it makes. Sometimes – especially in a densely packed neighborhood – one that makes a soft “clunking” or “clacking” sound can be better than an actual ringing/chiming noise.

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.

Examples of items you can use as chimes:

  • Pieces of metal pipe (sound like traditional wind chimes)
  • Pieces of plastic pipe (a soothing clacking sound)
  • Bamboo sticks (lovely clunking noise)
  • Old tiles or old broken bits of tile or pottery (these can make a very pretty clacking sound)
  • Seashells
  • Pieces of heavy glass
  • Large wooden or glass beads
  • Pieces of wood or pencils
  • Old metal kitchen utensils or silverware
  • Keys
  • Old bottle caps
  • Old cans
Bamboo wind chimes in front of trees

You can use 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.

And if you want to use something that’s not weather proof, you can spray it with a sealant to make it more weather resistant. It’s okay for wind chimes to become weathered. That’s part of their charm.

Some breakable pieces 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.

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.

The size of your base should allow the chimes to be spaced far enough apart 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).

The bad news is: some of this is trial and error. There’s no better way to learn how to make them than by making them. But the good news is: almost any mistakes you make can be fixed.

The Base

Your base can also be a household item or flea market find. It can be round, allowing chimes to sway in every direction, or it can be long with the chimes lined up side by side, bumping into each other in the breeze.

It needs to be big enough to let the chimes be a short distance apart. Usually 1-2 inches is a good starting point – closer for smaller chime items, maybe longer for something like pieces of pipe.

Possible base items include:

  • Old embroidery hoops
  • Hubcaps
  • An old planter turned upside down
  • A piece of driftwood
  • Clothes hanger
  • Any long or round item from your “broken things I’m convinced I’ll use again someday” collection
Wind chimes made from old spoons

What About a Striker?

Some wind chimes include a striker – a central item against which all the other chimes can clink. It’s usually a big round disc of some sort that’s easy for the chimes surrounding it to hit.

Good strikers can be made from, say, a small piece of wood or finished ceramic. It can be as simple as a wooden disk or an old chipped ceramic tile.

The striker isn’t actually necessary, and it certainly doesn’t need to be a special item you have to go to trouble to find. It can just be a central chime in the middle of your base that all the other chimes can hit.

Some people will argue that a striker can often provide more and better sound. It depends what materials you’re using and what sound you’re hoping to make.

You might want to try adding a striker. For some reason, the best combinations I’ve see involve porous strikers with non-pourous chimes. Like a piece of terracotta surrounded by pipe or glass beads.

The String

Fishing wire is the best string to use. It’s strong, safe for animals, and you can’t easily see it, so it looks like the pieces of your wind chime are just hanging in the air.

Twine or strong string can be good choices, too. Metal wire can work, but only if it’s flexible enough to allow the chimes to knock together.

Avoid using yarn. It doesn’t hold up in the weather, and if birds try to take it for nesting, they can get tiny fibers into their respiratory systems, which can be fatal.

As you’re stringing the parts up, pay attention to length. The chimes have to be able to collide with each other or with the optional striker in order to make noise, but not so long that they get tangled.

Fortunately this is easy to fix if you get it wrong, even after you’ve finished your chime. You can cut a different length of fishing wire once you see what you needed and redo the stringing.

Other Supplies

You’ll need a drill to make holes in the chimes and strikers, and probably in the base, too. You may also need a very tiny drill bit to make tiny holes, but a slightly larger hole should work in most cases.

Be sure to wear safety goggles when drilling, and keep your face away (or masked) so you don’t breathe in dust from the materials you’re drilling.

You should also sand the hole to get rid of sharp edges that could wear down the fishing line over time. Fine sandpaper will do the trick.

1. Bright And Whimsical Upcycled Tin Can Wind Chimes

Take some used tin cans, old jewelry and an old steamer basket (or something similar) and turn it into a beautiful and unique set of wind chimes.

This chime will make a low metallic thunk sound when the cans bump each other. It’s a good option if you don’t like higher pitched or loud wind chimes.

2. Make Wind Chimes from Old CDs

Your old CDs will make a tinkling noise when they bump, and they look stunning as wind chimes. Draw mandalas on them or decorate them however you want.

You can glue string and ornaments onto them too. This project was designed to gently stop birds from getting into your food garden.

3. DIY Wooden Spoons Wind Chime

Old wooden spoons (and any other pieces of wood) make an amazing sound for a wind chime. It’s low and there’s no ring to it. It’s very soothing.

This tutorial shows you how to attach these to an old rolling pin with a few pieces of hardware and some jewelry fixtures (you could substitute with any type of string) to make this beautiful wind chime.

4. Cute and Colorful DIY Wind Chime

Old keys, string and a twig. Wind chimes don’t need to be complicated or glamorous. This one is absolutely charming.

5. DIY Copper Pipe Wind Chimes

You may be wondering whoever has copper piping laying around. But once in a while, some old pipes come out of your house during a renovation. Or a contractor friend might gift some to you.

This tutorial will work with any kind of pipe.

6. Making A Bamboo Wind Chime

Do you have some bamboo gardening sticks laying around that you don’t need anymore? Cut them up and make them into wind chimes.

The sound bamboo makes it even prettier than wood because it’s hollow. It’s low and resonant and so relaxing.

7. DIY Upcycled Windchime from Vitamin Bottles

This one blows me away, if you’ll pardon the pun. I’ve never seen vitamin bottles shaped exactly like these, but you could use any small used bottle or tube you have around the house.

The result is something gorgeous for your home instead of more bottles going to recycling.

8. How to Make Simple Seashell Wind Chimes

Seashells are beautiful things to use in making wind chimes. With just seashells, driftwood and a few pieces of hardware, you can make this beautiful seashell wind chime.

The shells will make a quiet tinkle noise that’s very restful.

9. How to Make DIY Mini Macrame Wind Chimes

Macrame is another way to make beautiful wind chimes. And this is an easy project for beginners.

This tutorial uses bought chimes instead of upcycling something. That’s definitely an option. But so is anything metal and long. I have literally seen wind chimes made with nails and other bits of hardware for the chimes and striker.

10. DIY Ceramic Mobile + Wind Chime

This project uses homemade clay discs. You could make this out of a modeling clay that you bake. You could also use bits of old chipped tile or broken ceramic bowls or pottery – as long as you have a drill to make holes in the pieces.

Ceramic wind chimes have a gorgeous tone. You might think ceramic would break easily, but it holds up better than expected.

11. How to Make a Bottle Cap Wind Chime

Grab your empties and a metal punch, and you’re on your way to making this cool wind chime! If you don’t have your own bottle caps, a little litter pickup adventure should lead you to plenty of them. (But you can also buy them online.)

This one uses jump rings, which is great, but you can also just use string if you prefer.

12. DIY Silverware Wind Chimes

Old silverware is another great household item you can upcycle into wind chimes. You just need a drill to make holes for the string.

These can be super cute and rustic! And they’re not too loud if you’re in an apartment building or neighborhood where louder chimes might annoy neighbors.

13. Beaded DIY Wind Chimes

Turn old broken beaded necklaces into wind chimes with this tutorial. This makes for a quiet wind chime with no striker. The only noise will be the gentle sound of beads bumping into each other in the breeze.