Tips for Making Wind Chimes

Sally Painter
Metal wind chimes

Making wind chimes is a great way to stretch your feng shui design dollars.

Making Wind Chimes

There are several kinds of wind chimes you can make to use in feng shui applications or to simply enjoy the sounds they make whenever stirred by the wind.

Bamboo Wind Chimes

One of the easiest materials to use for a wind chime is bamboo. You can either purchase a stalk of bamboo from your garden center or buy from an online store. You may persuade someone who grows bamboo to cut you a stalk or two. Once you've cut the bamboo let it cure. Place it in the sunlight and within a couple of weeks the green stalk ages and turn brown. Bamboo is naturally hollow, so your work is easy.

Metal Wind Chimes

You can use just about any kind of metal for your wind chimes. Choose from aluminum, copper, steel or brass. The thickness and length of the metal is key in the kind of sound you get. Some pipes have a long ring while others have a short one.

Chime Lengths

You need to decide on the lengths you want for your wind chime and how many stalks to use. If using the wind chime for a cure, many people prefer to use certain numbers of chimes. This is a personal preference. You may want to use a graduated shortening of the stalks similar to the arrangement of Pan's flute.

Another style is to stagger the lengths and alternate by adding a long one then a short one and so on. You may choose to cut all of the stalks or pipes the same length and use different kinds of metal to create varying tones. Use a red marker or pen to indicate the cut line.

Choosing a Plate and Clapper

The plate is the material from which you hang the chimes. For bamboo, you may want to use a wood round. Drill holes in the plate for the lines to the chimes. Don't forget to drill a hole in the center of the plate for the striker or clapper. Suspend the clapper mid-way between the rods or bamboo to create sound when it moves. Your rods need to be touching the clapper so the slightest movement causes them to chime. Clappers are made of metal, wood or bamboo. You can create soothing tones by using a soft clapper. Suspend a lightweight triangle or other shape from the clapper. The suspended object needs to be longer than the chimes, (four to six inches) so the wind will catch it and move the clapper.

Cutting Rod Lengths

You'll need to use either a coping saw or a hacksaw to cut your bamboo lengths. Apply just the right pressure. Bamboo can splinter. If you're using metal rods, you can usually have these cut at the hardware store. If you have a pipe cutter and are skilled at using it, then you can cut the lengths yourself.

Drill Rod Holes

You don't want your pipes moving around too much so your rods will resonate. To ensure the best sound when the clapper strikes the pipes, measure the length of the rod and then take 22.42% of that measurement for the placement of the holes. That's 2/9 of the rod length.

Drill the holes. Measure each stalk or rod and repeat. Mark with a pencil or felt-tipped pen.

Use a small to medium bit. The smaller bit prevents the bamboo from splitting. You can rub a bar of soap over the area you intend to drill to help the bit slip through the wood easier.

Metal Plates, Drill Holes

Don't forget to drill the holes in the plate, too. For the drill holes in the plate, divide the round into equal pie shapes according to how many holes you need (determined by number of rods you'll be suspending from it). Mark where each hole will be drilled.

Place the round on a piece of solid wood and drill the center hole first. Secure it to the wood with a nail then proceed to drill the additional holes that you marked. Remove nail and you're ready to start hanging the rods.

How to Hang Rods

Once you've drilled all of the holes, you'll want to select fishing line, chains or cord for suspending the rods. Thread the cord and line through the holes. If using chains, you'll need an O ring to thread through the pipe and the chain. Use pliers to close the ring. Repeat the same process when attached each rod to the plate. Don't forget the clapper or striker.

Once your chimes are attached to the plate, you can connect an S hook to the top plate for hanging your new wind chimes.

Metal Chimes Tips

Metal chimes will give you more of a musical tone. The longer the pipes the deeper the tone will be.

Musical Notes

You can test each pipe after you've cut it to see if it's the tone you want. If you're a musician, then you may want to be more precise with tuning your chimes to certain notes. To achieve this, you'll need to use a few mathematical equations to create harmonic tuning. These equations are based on wavelength, frequency and speed of sound.

Smooth the Ends

When using metal pipes or tubing for your chimes, make sure you file the cut ends so they are smooth and can't injure.

Weatherized Pipes Is a Must

Weatherize your rods so they won't rust or corrode. This includes the strikers. If you selected a wood striker then use a waterproof sealant.

Decorative Touches

Once you've put your wind chimes together, you may want to add certain decorative touches to them or leave them plain. The first time you hear your chimes blowing in the wind, you'll discover how gratifying making wind chimes can be.

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Tips for Making Wind Chimes