Tips for Making Wind Chimes

Sally Painter
Metal wind chimes

Making wind chimes is a great way to stretch your feng shui design dollars. The typical materials used to make wind chimes are bamboo and metal.

Making Your Own 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. Feng shui wind chimes typically feature five or six hollow rods to attract auspicious chi energy.

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.

Bamboo Wind Chimes

Materials Needed for Bamboo Wind Chimes

You will need a few materials to make your bamboo wind chimes. Once you've gathered the materials you can follow the step-by-step instructions to assemble your feng shui wind chime.

  • Bamboo stalk (purchased or cut)
  • Pencil or ink marker
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Scissors (cutting cor, string or fishing line)
  • Drill with bit (depending on size of cord/string)
  • Cord, fishing line, string or linked chain (lengths needed)
  • Suspension platform or ring (bamboo, wood or metal)
  • Clapper or striker (bambo or wood)
  • Windcatcher or sail (bamboo, wood or metal)
  • Coping saw, bow saw or hacksaw (depending on bamboo diameter)
  • Large O-Ring (for crown knot)
  • Small O-rings (if using chains, one per rod)

Cure Cut Bamboo for Windchime Rods

If you have access to bamboo or know someone you may persuade to cut you a stalk or two, you need to cure it prior to using.

  1. Cure the bamboo prior to cutting into desired lengths.
  2. Place the bamboo in sunlight and leave for two weeks or until the green stalk turns brown.
  3. You can now cut the bambo using one of the saws. Bamboo is naturally hollow, so your work will be easy.
  4. Make your cuts about one-half inch above the nautral bamboo joint.

Drill Holes in Bamboo Rods

You can now drill the holes in each bamboo road. You will then prepare to thread string through each one.

  1. Measure 1/2" from the base end of one bamboo rod and mark with a pencil or marker.
  2. Repeat on the opposite side and mark with a pencil or marker.
  3. 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 drill bit slip through the wood easier.
  4. Drill a hole through each mark. Repeat for each bamboo rod.
  5. Set bamboo rods aside and prepare to drill holes in the suspension platform or ring.

Drill Holes in Suspension Platform or Ring

The suspension platform is the plate from which you hang the chimes. You may use a wooden round, an open ring or other shape, such as a square for this.

  1. Using the ruler, draw a line through the circle.

  2. Perpendicular to this line, draw a second line to intersect the first line forming an X or + cross.

  3. Where the two lines intersect is the center point.

  4. Proceed to divide the round into equal wedges according to the number of rods you've cut.

  5. Mark where each hole will be drilled with the pencil or marker.

  6. Place the round suspension platform on a piece of solid wood and drill the center hole first.

  7. Secure the round suspension platform to the wood with a nail and then proceed to drill the additional holes that you marked.

  8. Once all the holes are drilled, remove the nail.

Secure Bamboo Rods to Suspension Platform

You're ready to start hanging the rods to create the bamboo wind chime. Don't forget to drill a hole in the center of the platform/plate for the clapper and windcatcher line.

  1. Measure how far you wish the bamboo rods to hang from the suspension platform.
  2. Transfer this measurement to the fishing line, cord or string and add a few inches to allow enough excess to tie off the lines onto the crown and O-Ring.
  3. Run ends of the cord through the two holes of the bamboo rod.
  4. Take the two strings and run them through the hole in the suspension platform (plate).
  5. Repeat for each bamboo rod.

Attach Clapper and Windcatcher

The clapper is typically round and about half the size or smaller than the suspension platformm. The windcatcher can be a triangle piece of wood or metal. You may use any shape for the windcatcher.

  1. Thread the clapper line through the center of the suspension platform or ring.
  2. Tie it off onto the large hanging O-ring.
  3. Make sure all of the lines/strings to the bamboo rods are even and tie onto the large hanging O-Ring. This should be at least five inches above the suspension platform.
  4. Temporarily suspend the bamboo wind chime to inspect and adjust the clapper.
  5. Suspend the clapper mid-way between the bamboo rods so it creates a sound when it moves against the rods. Your rods need to be touching the clapper so the slightest movement causes them to chime.
  6. Tie a large knot underneath the clapper to hold it in place.
  7. The end of the line/string should extend at least four to six inches past the wind chimes so the wind will catch the windcatcher/sail and force the clapper to move.

Metal Wind Chimes

You can make metal wind chimes fairly easily. Creating a wind chimes from metal pipes is similar to making a bamboo wind chime. Keep the instructions for a bamboo wind chime in mind as you gather materials.

Metal Wind Chimes

Select Type of Metal

You can use just about any kind of metal for your wind chimes. Choose from aluminum, copper, steel or brass.

Gather Your Materials for Metal Wind Chimes

You need to gather your materials and plan your wind chime design.

  • Metal pipes (pre-cut or custom cut)
  • Marker
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Pair of pliers (close O rings)
  • Scissors (cutting cord, string or fishing line)
  • Drill with bit (depending on size of cord/string)
  • Cord, fishing line, string or chain (lengths needed)
  • Suspension platform or ring (bamboo, wood or metal)
  • Clapper or striker (bamobo, wood or metal)
  • Windcatcher or sail (bamboo, wood or metal)
  • Pipe cutter (depending on type of metal and diameter)
  • Large S hook (for hanging)
  • Small O-rings (if using chains, one per rod to attach to suspension platform)

Choosing Metal Chime Lengths

You need to decide on the lengths you want for your metal wind chime and how many pipes to use. The thickness and length of the metal is key in the kind of sound you get.

  • Some pipes have a long tonal ring while others have a short one.
  • If using the wind chime for a cure, many people prefer to use certain numbers of chimes, such as five or six. This is a personal preference.
  • You may want to use a graduated shortening of the legnths similar to the arrangement of Pan's flute.
  • You may choose to cut all pipes the same length. Another style is to stagger the lengths and alternate by adding a long one then a short one and so on.
  • If you desire different tones, select different kinds of metal.
  • The longer the pipes the deeper the tone will be.

Cutting and Drilling Pipe Lengths for Wind Chimes

Your local hardware store can cut a long pipe into the appropriate lengths or you can use a pipe cutter to cut the lengths yourself.

  1. Use a red marker or pen to indicate the cut line when cutting the pipes yourself.
  2. Once you've cut the appropriate number of pipe and desired length, it's time to drill.
  3. 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.
  4. Mark this measurement on the pipe.
  5. Mark a second measurement that is directly opposite the first one.
  6. Drill a hole through each marker. You'll end up with two aligned holes (opposite each other).

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. If using chains, you'll need an O ring to thread through the pipe holes and the chains.

  1. Thread the cord or line through the holes.
  2. If using a chains and O-Rings, slip the O-Ring through the hole and slide the end of the chain over the O-ring.
  3. Use pliers to close the ring. Repeat for each rod and each drilled rod hole.
  4. Repeat the same process when attaching each rod to the suspension platform.
  5. Don't forget to add the middle chain for the clapper and striker.
  6. Once your chimes are attached to the suspension platform/plate, you can connect a S hook to the center of the platform/plate to hang your new wind chimes.

Metal Chimes Tips

Metal chimes will give you more of a musical tone. A few quick tips can help you decide on the type and length of the pipes.

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. You can use a 220-grit sandpaper or if you have a Dremel, you can use it to smooth out the edges.

Weatherized Pipes Are 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 it is to make wind chimes.

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Tips for Making Wind Chimes