Rain chains originated in Japan, where they were traditionally used to capture and collect water for cooking and laundry. Still popular ornaments today, these trendy chains are commonly used for decoration or to provide free-flowing water into a pond or garden.
Because rain chains are so versatile, you have many different options for creating your own. If you're ready to DIY your own rain chain, you only need a few items to get started.
Get creative! We've seen these chains double as everything from decor to planters. And making your own rain chain doesn't just have to be about added aesthetic—though that certainly never hurts—a DIY rain chain can save you money by helping you direct water to your outdoor plants.
Before you Start
If this is your first time making a rain chain, take your time. You do not want to have kinks and bends in the copper; otherwise, it may not hold correctly, and your project won't have a smooth finish. It's also important to have the proper tools and workspace to avoid injury or damage. Gloves are very important to handle the materials safely.
1. Getting Started on a Copper Rain Chain
To create this copper rain chain, round up your supplies. You'll need PVC pipe, copper tubing, pliers, and gloves.
The first step in creating your rain chain is to wrap your copper tubing very tightly around the PVC pipe. The copper will turn into your chain links eventually. Take your time—this can be a tricky step. Be sure to hold tight so that you do not have any kinking in the tubing.
Any kinks in the tubing will have to be smoothed out later. Wrap your copper tubing in the shape that you want your chain links. For each foot of rain chain, you'll need three feet of copper tubing.
2. Creating Rings
Once your coil is complete, slide it off your PVC pipe and cut it into rings. Turning the tubing into chains can be done using your diagonal cutters or the bandsaw. You can also pinch it at the seam and then break it off. Make sure to wear protective eyewear when you're making your chain links.
Using a pair of pliers, you will want to make adjustments to your rings for any bends or off-center cuts that you may have. Smoothing out the shape will create a more even chain that allows for optimal water flow. Then cut your links with a bandsaw so that they can be joined together.
4. Link Rings
With your links cut, you can start to combine them into a proper chain. Once you have a shape you like, use soldering flux to brush the cuts and then solder your rings shut together. Let the links cool before handling without the gloves. During this process, be sure to wear your heavy gloves—the copper can get very hot since it conducts heat.
5. Final Step
Now that your chain is complete, you can remove the original spout and replace it with your new chain. You may need help reaching and getting it into place, so you may need a partner for this last step.
Now that you've mastered the rain chain, upgrade your yard with a garden DIY or this simple patio DIY project.