The soft sound of wind chimes is both soothing and uplifting. It's an instrument that plays itself gently in the breeze, creating a sound that is soon a familiar part of your own environs. Making your own wind chime and tuning it is a lovely project for the handyperson who would like to craft this peaceful object and enjoy the results for years to follow.
- Purchase the chime pipes or tubes individually at most large craft outlets. Look for a store where there are hanging chimes set up to test the sound of each individual chime pipe or tube, as you'll need to be happy with the sounds each chime makes. A lot of commercial wind chimes use a pentatonic scale. Depending on the size and style of your chime, the prices vary, so clearly the size of the wind chime you make will be determined partly by by budget as well as by the space where the wind chime will hang and personal preference as to appearance of the wind chime overall. See "Tips" if you're more inclined to make your own chime pipes.
- Purchase a minimal amount of chime pipes or tubes to support the base structure. Usually four to twelve chimes is standard.
- Purchase the wind chime base. This can be made from wood, metal or plastic and is usually circular or a variant of such shapes as an octagon, etc. It's best if it has holes already in it to allow for tying the chimes on and perhaps a hanger already in place, although you can add that part yourself if need be.
- Alternatively, make your own base from wood. Simply cut it out by hand or machine in the desired shape and drill small holes across the base where you know you'll tie the chimes.
- Purchase wind chime string. This can be found in the same section as the chimes, along with a base.
- Consider "clappers". These are optional but they are pieces that can be added to knock the wind chimes in the breeze. They should be situated near the middle of the chime pipe and the mellower the clapper, the mellower the sound.
- Decide the length of the chimes desired. Measure from the base and cut the string accordingly. If you're layering the chimes, place them at varying levels but keep each level measured evenly across when determining length to aid balance and so that it looks neater. This isn't such an issue where you're not planning layers but just adding chimes as wished.
- As you plan the layout of the chimes, bear in mind that each level of chimes must be balanced so that the base does not tip one way or the other but remains straight when hung.
- Knot the string at the top of the base hole. Tie the other end of this string length through the hole of a chime (holes in the tubing are already pre-drilled into the top of tubing). This creates a secure tie between base and chime. Complete this task for all chimes, at their various levels (if relevant).
- Keep checking that balance is accurate and make adjustments accordingly.
- Insert three hooks at even intervals across the top of the base. This is to create the hanger. Attach a separate string or thin wire to each hook eye (eyelet) and bring together at the top. Knot in place and the hanger is created. The image shows a wire ring attached to the hook eye, then addition of thin but strong wire and joined at the top.
- As you can see from the image, beads were added to each wire separately prior to tying together. While optional, this decorating makes the wire or string much more attractive and the overall look more professional.
- Attach a string in the middle of the base dangling down if you want something to pull and make the wind chime work even when there is no breeze. This step is optional.
- Tune the wind chime. Most wind chime pipes produce the pitch depending on the diameter and length of the tubes chosen. This is a personal selection, if you like the sound of your tubing, there is no need to be specific here. However, if the chime isn't quite to your liking, adjust the amount and placement of the chimes as needed. Don't be afraid to experiment a little to get the sound that is the most pleasing to you.
- For the musically inclined, it is possible to tune pipes against a piano or other instrument and to even make a tune like Close Encounters using notes G, A, F, Octave lower F, C. However, that is fairly complicated compared with making the chime and is something you can work on over time.
- This will be a visual and audio experience for the creator. Be sure to keep testing your own sound and sight preferences as you create the wind chime.
- If planning to make your own wind chime pipes, these are some of the options:
- Bamboo lengths
- Metal pipes – copper, brass, steel, aluminum, etc. are all fine choices. Recycle where you can and use existing pipes, perhaps even from things you've pulled apart once they stop working. If you're really musically attuned, cut the pipes to match notes on your piano or electronic keyboard.
- Seashells on a string
- Any other objects that clang together nicely.
- Make more once you've grasped the initial wind chime process. These make fantastic gifts.
Things You'll Need
- Wind chimes
- Chime base
- Small hooks or eyelets
- Suitable string
- Ruler for measuring (optional)
- If making your own base, you'll need a saw and if making your own chime pipes, you'll need appropriate cutting tools and safety equipment
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Sources and Citations
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Build and Tune a Wind Chime. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.
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