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   Make copper wind chimes Posted by Chica 
August 9, 2010 

I’ve told you before about my tradition for anniversary gifts for my husband, where I get him something each year that matches the traditional year’s gift theme. (First year paper, second year cotton, etc…) That’s not such a unique idea, I realize, but I make it special by getting him a number of gifts equal to the number of years we’ve been married, which is way more fun! That meant that this year, for our 7th wedding anniversary, I needed to get him 7 of something that’s made of copper.

This was not an easy gift to come up with, as you can imagine. What could I possibly get him SEVEN of that’s made of copper? Pennies wouldn’t be a good gift, and he’s certainly not into copper cookware, so I really had to put my thinking cap on to come up with something good. I finally decided to make him a set of copper wind chimes with 7 pipes. He loves sitting on the porch and I knew he would enjoy the sound. Perfect!

To start, of course I needed to get some copper pipe. I headed to my local home improvement store and went to the plumbing section, where I quickly found a 10′ long piece of 1/2″ copper pipe. I had planned on cutting it into pieces myself at home with a copper pipe cutter, but when the nice lady working in that department offered to cut it for me for free, I took her up on it. I needed 7 pieces of pipe and wanted each one to be 2″ longer than the last, so she cut me pieces measuring 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″, 18″, 20″, and 22″ long. When I got them home, I drilled a small hole in the end of each pipe, making sure to drill all the way through the pipe so that the hole was on the back, too.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

Then I needed to get two wooden circles. The larger one would be the top, where the pipes would hang. The smaller one would be the clapper that would hang in the middle, keeping the pipes from constantly tangling. Make sure the smaller one is small enough to leave room for the pipes to hang down around it. My circles were about 8″ and 4″ across.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

Now for the tricky math part! Since I was going to use 7 pipes, I needed to mark 7 spots on the larger circle, equally spaced. An even number like 6 or 8 would’ve been easier, but with some trial and error, I finally got 7 spots marked. I drilled a hole about a half inch in from the edge at each mark.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

Then I drilled a hole in the middle of each circle (okay, my larger circle actually came with the center hole already in it). I also drilled three holes around the center hole in the larger wood circle. These would be used for the hanger later on.

make copper wind chimes

Whew, the geometry lesson is over for today, and it’s time to start putting this thing together!

The pipes needed to hang from the wood by some sort of cord. I recommend using a nylon cord that’s suitable for outdoors. (Cotton will probably disintegrate too quickly when exposed to the weather.) Use something pretty thin and very flexible. I actually struck gold on this by using some mini-blind cords that I had saved from the last set of mini-blinds I threw away. It was perfect! I cut a piece of cord about 8″ long and threaded it through the holes at the end of one of my pipes.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

Then I took both ends, slipped them up through a hole in the large wooden circle, and tied them in a knot.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

I repeated this for the second pipe, but when I tied my knot, I held the wood up level and made sure that the string was the same length as the one on the first pipe. I did the same for all the remaining pipes, making sure to put them in order from shortest to longest.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

Next was the hanger. I took three more pieces of cord, tied a big knot in each, and fed them up through the three middle holes in the larger wooden circle. I held all three cords tightly in my hand (the pipes were pretty heavy!) and held the whole thing up in the air. Here is where balance becomes very important, as I needed to make each of the cords the exact length necessary for the wooden circle to remain level. The varying lengths of pipes make one side heavier than the other, but you can make it all hang level by carefully adjusting those three cords.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

When I had it just how I wanted it, I tied them in a knot and trimmed the ends. This part is ready to hang with an S-hook from a hook our porch ceiling.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

But first, I needed to add the clapper. I took one more piece of cord, tied a knot in the end, and fed it through the smaller wooden circle. Then I fed the other end up through the middle hole in the larger wooden circle, adjusted for length, and tied it in a knot.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

That’s it, the wind chimes are done! I hung them on the porch for my husband to see when he came home, and he loved them.

make copper wind chimes

See, wind chimes are really not very hard to make! You can make them out of just about any material you like, too. Copper not only suited my occasion, but it has a wonderful sound when the pipes hit in the breeze, so my husband and I were both very pleased with the results!

Oh, one more thing… after doing all this, I realized that the spot I hung the wind chimes in wasn’t quite breezy enough to make them chime much, so I decided to add a wind catcher to help the breeze along. To do this, I just cut a little 2″ x 4″ piece of thin wood, drilled a hole in it, and strung more cord through the hole. Then I just fed the end up through the hole in the clapper and knotted it so the wind catcher hung in place.

make copper wind chimesmake copper wind chimes

This additional wind catcher piece helps catch the breeze and make the chimes ring even more. So, keep this optional addition in mind if you want extra noisy wind chimes!

make copper wind chimes

If you liked this, check out these similar projects:

    48 comments so far:

    1. Casey said: (August 9th, 2010 at 1:39 pm)

      What a great – and beautiful – job you did! Your honey is going to be so proud of your efforts!

    2. Baye said: (August 9th, 2010 at 8:07 pm)

      Yet another idea I absolutely must try. Thanks, again, for the inspiration.

    3. Chica said: (August 10th, 2010 at 8:03 am)

      Thanks, Casey and Baye!

    4. Rachel said: (August 12th, 2010 at 12:29 am)

      Whoa… that is so cool! What a rewarding project and those things are so expensive! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.

    5. Lisa said: (August 12th, 2010 at 8:19 pm)

      What a cool idea! I had no idea it was that easy! I hate that windchimes are so expensive so this is a great cheap way to make your own! Thanks!

    6. Kristen said: (August 13th, 2010 at 12:12 am)

      How does the sound compare to other windchimes? I was wanting to do something like this for my kids to bang on, but wasn’t sure how it would sound. Love all your projects I’ve viewed so far – I’m off to explore the rest now! :)

    7. Chica said: (August 13th, 2010 at 8:27 am)

      Rachel and Lisa, you are right on the nose with this being a money-saving craft. I spent less than $15 on all the parts!

      Kristen, the sound is lovely! A good way to hear how it sounds before committing to the purchase is to visit a hardware store and grab a small piece of trim wood, and tap it on a piece of pipe over in the plumbing section. If you like the sound from that test, you’ll probably like the finished result too :)

    8. Shell said: (August 22nd, 2010 at 2:03 am)

      My husband and I made this today. I had been looking for wind chimes for my back porch and ones 1/2 this size cost $50 bucks! Thanks for the instructions!

    9. Chica said: (August 22nd, 2010 at 9:12 am)

      That’s awesome, Shell. Can we see a picture? (You can e-mail it to us or post it to our Flickr group)

    10. Sandy said: (August 31st, 2010 at 8:53 pm)

      Love the wind chimes…have wanted some of these but they are so expensive in the stores….I know copper isn’t cheap….what did you end up spending on materials? Thanks.

    11. Sandy said: (August 31st, 2010 at 8:55 pm)

      Never mind…I just saw that you already answered this question.

    12. Scott said: (January 27th, 2011 at 7:03 pm)

      Aloha! This site is great! Your custom copper pipe wind chime project inspired me so much that I decided to start this project today, I’ve already cut the pipe and I’m ready to cut out the wood pieces. My wife was asking for a wind chime for years, but I could never find one (that wasn’t ridiculously over-priced). I’m modifying the design slightly with different diameter pipe, but they sound great. Thanks for posting process/instructions!

    13. Chica said: (January 27th, 2011 at 7:46 pm)

      Scott, we’re so happy our tutorial could help you score some brownie points with the Mrs! We’d love to see how your wind chimes come out :)

    14. Karen said: (April 19th, 2012 at 11:26 pm)

      Hi!I’ve been wanting to make wind chimes for years. I even thought of copper pipe because when they get wet and over an extended period of time they would get the verdigris look. You have inspired me to try it. What a nice lady in the hardware store to cut the pipe for you. Thanks for posting the instructions.

    15. Chica said: (April 20th, 2012 at 11:34 am)

      Karen, I’m so happy to have inspired you! Exposed copper will turn green eventually, so if you don’t like that look you can spray the pipes with a clear sealer or varnish to protect them.

    16. Peggy said: (April 21st, 2012 at 5:57 pm)

      Chica, I was so happy to find this. My wind chimes broke several years ago but I could not throw them out. This will help me put them back together. One question, where did you get the wood circles I have looked everywhere for them?

    17. Chica said: (April 21st, 2012 at 6:55 pm)

      Peggy, so glad we could help you save your wind chimes! I got my wood circles at my local Michael’s craft store.

    18. Iris said: (July 18th, 2012 at 10:26 pm)

      Chica, Thank You so much for the clear and easy directions,bought my copper today,and my wood at Micheals and getting ready to make mine. Wish me luck, I know it shall be sweet sounding sucess!

    19. Chica said: (July 31st, 2012 at 2:54 pm)

      Iris, best of luck to you. Let us know how it goes!

    20. victoria said: (December 18th, 2012 at 7:59 pm)

      where did u get the round wood?

    21. Chica said: (December 19th, 2012 at 8:56 am)

      Victoria, you can find round wooden pieces like that at most craft stores.

    22. Joann said: (March 9th, 2013 at 4:36 pm)

      I love windchimes and have been wanting to make some. Thanks for the great instructions! I hung a set I received as a gift over my heat and air unit and whenever the fan kicks on the windchimes make thei beautiful music. I love that I can hear them without any wind!

    23. Jessica said: (April 8th, 2013 at 4:10 pm)

      Thanks for posting all the steps. I have to make on for a project i’m doing and this kinda helps me figure out how to do it.

    24. Judy said: (September 8th, 2013 at 7:55 pm)

      This is great info. I have a couple of purchased wind chimes that the string has broken or they have come undone where they were stapled to the bottom of the wooden circle. My staple gun won’t insert the staples enough to hold it, so I was trying to figure out a way to fix them. I will now use your drilled hole method and fix them. Thanks you! Oh and a suggestion to those who will have theirs hung out in the weather, to keep the wood in good condition, you might either paint, stain or clear seal the wooden parts. I had to seal the wood on my store bought chime after I used wood glue to seal a crack that developed in the wood after being outside for a while.

    25. madhuri said: (January 25th, 2014 at 6:02 am)

      i like these very much

    26. deb byrd said: (March 17th, 2014 at 7:47 pm)

      instead of rope or fishing line, why not use copper wire through holes in pipes and twist ends together to secure. Then put your rope/fishing line through that. It saves wear and tear on the ends and you will not be replacing them so often.

    27. Chica said: (March 19th, 2014 at 6:22 pm)

      Good idea, Deb, as long as you’re okay with the copper wire developing a green patina as it ages. If not, perhaps a galvanized wire would work better.

    28. Lonnie Ricks said: (May 2nd, 2014 at 8:36 pm)

      Where can I locate rubber gromets to insert in the hole int the tubes (protecting the string/sound enhancement).Ive tried Lowes, Home Depot, arts & crafts store like Michael’s. No luck

    29. Jacob said: (May 9th, 2014 at 12:33 am)

      I have always look at the large one thy sounds like church bells,icant aford one but I will try this thank you very much

    30. Mikki said: (May 26th, 2014 at 4:35 pm)

      I have just found your site !!!..wanted to try to make a wind chime..this looks just the job !..all explained very clearly..thank you…Michael

    31. c.j. said: (June 15th, 2014 at 10:48 am)

      Thank you for posting these easy to follow instructions. I have been asked to fix several wind chimes that have broken and I have been putting it off because I didnt know what type of string to use for outside use. Now I can get busy and they can enjoy their sweet music again. You have helped make several elderly people happy. :)

    32. Chica said: (June 15th, 2014 at 11:26 am)

      So glad we could help, CJ!

    33. SANDY HOLLY said: (June 23rd, 2014 at 1:32 pm)


    34. Sheila said: (July 19th, 2014 at 7:07 am)

      Have the knots in the string held the pipes? Seems they might slip through eventually. Also, what did you use to thread the string through the holes? Great project!

    35. Chica said: (July 19th, 2014 at 5:16 pm)

      Sheila, the knots were big enough to hold the pipes and they haven’t slipped through. My cord was stiff enough that I was able to poke it through the holes without a problem, but if it’s not working for you, you could probably use a toothpick to push it through.

    36. Teresa said: (August 2nd, 2014 at 3:25 pm)

      Did you cut the round circles yourself or did you find some precut? They seem to have nicely finished edges.

    37. Chica said: (August 3rd, 2014 at 4:08 pm)

      Teresa I purchased the wooden circles already cut at my local craft store.

    38. Lani said: (August 29th, 2014 at 10:07 am)

      Am redoing my plumbing and now I can use the copper pipes to make some wind chimes. To seal the wood circles I am going to use outside house paint. It is made to endure all kinds of weather. Or deck sealer would work I would think. To seal the knots so they don’t come undone a little clear sealer applied to the knot. In days gone by when nylon stockings developed a snag or run a little clear nail polish was applied.

    39. carrie said: (November 26th, 2014 at 12:14 am)

      very helpful thank you

    40. sania said: (January 22nd, 2015 at 4:44 pm)

      amazing worked perfectly! Me and my daughter made it and we had great fun!!!!!!!!! Lovely and easy

    41. Chica said: (January 22nd, 2015 at 7:23 pm)

      Wonderful news, sania!

    42. Linda said: (February 3rd, 2015 at 2:46 pm)

      I love this type of chimes, but they are so very expensive to buy! Thank you so much for providing instructions on your beautiful chimes.

      I found the copper pieces at Lowes in different lengths, so my project will start very soon.

    43. Timmy Jo said: (February 12th, 2015 at 7:49 pm)

      Hi great instructions.. my question is, how far apart did you drill the 7 holes.. thanks

    44. Chica said: (February 16th, 2015 at 11:30 am)

      Timmy Jo, the measurements will be different for every project, depending on how many chimes you add and how large your wooden disc is. Just make sure they are spaced apart evenly.

    45. Brian said: (March 24th, 2015 at 12:55 pm)

      I made a similar 5 tube wind chime a week ago and found your website today… Great tutorial!

      A few things that I tried:
      I used the wires from medium sized binder clips to slip inside the tubes and ‘spring out’ inside the tube and connect a single string.

      I used a buffing wheel on angle grinder/polisher and used rubbing compound to create mirror finish on the tubes, then light coat of wax to preserve finish.

      I had some old 1×12 cedar planks that I used for the top and clapper. For the sail, I had some old scrap mirrored plexiglass that I shaped into a teardrop, then glued 2 pieces back to back (for mirror on both sides) In sunny wind, the mirror reflects everywhere. (think audio & visual stimulation)

      I used MS Word and created a 5 slice pie chart for 5 pipes and used it for the template for all my holes… I marked my first outer holes, then rotated the template 1 inch to space my outer holes 1 inch apart. If you need 7 pipes, make a 7 slice pie chart. Save ink by printing grey scale. NOTE: I used .74 in Word as my slice dimensions for 5 even slices.

      I used a single string from tube, went through bottom of left hole, looped through right hole, back up through left hole, then up to steel hanging ring at top.
      Only takes a second to center my pie chart, mark my holes and start drilling. (If I continue to make these, I’ll make a template out of thicker material.)

      Enjoyed it so much, I’m working on my second set of chimes with different sized tubes or may even try 7 tubes. Thanks for the tutorial also.

    46. Robyn Blasco said: (March 26th, 2015 at 12:10 pm)

      GREAT INSTRUCTIONS!!!! I have looking for an easy Copper Wind Chime, and VIOLA! However if I may make a SUGGESTION, how about making the HANGER for the wind chimes 1st. That way in stead of having to hold up at eye level to check leveling…cuz it’s going to get HEAVY, you could go hands free by hanging your project up, maybe from a chair,Craft Desk or work outside hang it from a plant hanger while you need at eye level. Then when your masterpiece is finished, your shoulder is not KILLING you. LOL. ; )

    47. Chica said: (March 29th, 2015 at 10:09 am)

      Glad you liked this tutorial, Robyn, and thanks for the suggestion!

    48. Chica said: (March 29th, 2015 at 10:10 am)

      Sounds like you did a great job, Brian. Thanks for sharing your tips with everyone!

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