How to Make a Rain Chain from Copper

A rain chain is more than just an alternative to a downspout. It is a piece of beautiful, functional art that will enhance your home and garden.

Originating in Japan, rain chains come in a variety of styles and designs, from a chain of simple links to a string of connected cups or funnels. Rain chains serve the practical purpose of directing and aiding the collection of rainwater, as well as the aesthetic purpose of adding beauty to your environment. A rain chain is also soothing to the soul as you listen to the soft trickle of the rainwater as it makes its way down the chain. With basic soldering skills and some relatively inexpensive supplies from your local hardware shop or home supply store, you can make your own lovely copper rain chain at home.

Materials:

  • Approximately 50 feet or so of 1/4-inch copper tubing. The exact amount will depend on how long you want your chain to hang, as well as how large you wish to make the links of your chain.
  • PVC pipe in the width you'd like your chain links to be; 2 to 3 inches wide is best.
  • Pruning shears or rotary cutting tool
  • Soldering supplies

Directions:
Begin by trimming off a 9- to 12-inch piece of the copper tubing and setting it aside. This will be used later, to hang your rain chain. Wrap the remaining tubing around the PVC pipe very tightly, forming a large coil. Do not rush this step; take your time and work carefully, or else your chain links will not be uniform.

Next, slide the tubing off of the pipe. You will now be holding what looks like a large spring. Using pruning shears or a rotary cutting tool, cut straight down one side of the coil, to form rings. Carefully attach the rings together into a chain. Solder the cut edges of each ring together.

You are now ready to hang your new rain gutter chain. Remove the existing downspout from your gutter. Slide the length of tubing you reserved at the beginning through the top link of your chain. Slip the straight piece into the hole where the downspout was, then place it flat inside the gutter, resting across the hole for the downspout, so that the chain is hanging down to the ground.

On the next rainy day, you'll enjoy the peaceful, trickling sound of your new copper rain chain.

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