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Make a copper garden chime

If, like me, you find a wind chime therapeutic here is a way to make your own copper wind chime that’s in tune with your senses and your budget.



You will need:

Copper plumbing pipe - you can buy this at your local Builders Warehouse.

Nylon fishing line - heavyweight

Meranti offcuts - for top and striker

Lid from a tin can for the wind catcher. Use a Dremel Multitool and polishing stone to dull the sharp edges.

Glass beads

Mitre box and hacksaw

Drill/driver and 2mm hss drill bits

Copper wire

Small washers



180-grit sandpaper

Carabiner - see image below

Here's how:

1. Begin by measuring and marking the cut lines on the copper pipes. You will need six different lengths to produce harmonious sounds when struck with a piece of meranti. If you’re not particular about notes, any combination of lengths will do — the quality of sound is determined by the striking point rather than the chime length. To cut the pipes, you can use a pipe cutter or a hacksaw and the 90-degree-angle slot of a mitre box. Wrap one end of the pipe in a piece of cloth and clamp to the side of the box to stop is sliding around as you cut.

2. Drill two holes through the top of each chime using a drill press or a power drill/driver with a 2mm HSS bit. The holes should be about 5 to 6cm from the top of each pipe, where the least vibration occurs. To find this point on each pipe, lightly hold it with two fingers in the potential hole locations and then tap it with the striker material, listening for the purest tone.

3. Mark out the circles for the top circle and striker and use a jigsaw to cut these out. Start cutting at the edge of the timber and slowly move in, turning the jigsaw to start cutting on the curve. Sand the pieces smooth with a sheet of 180-grit sandpaper..

4. Drill 12 evenly spaced holes along the edge of the top circle, about 2cm from the edge, for hanging the pipes. You may have to make minor adjustments for even spacing. For hanging suspension cords, drill six evenly spaced holes in the top circle, about 3cm from the edge; again, make minor adjustments if needed.

5. To assemble the chimes, start by attaching the longest pipe first. Thread a piece of fishing line down through one of the holes along the edge of the top circle, through the holes in the pipe and then up through the adjacent hole in the top circle. Tie the string ends together so that the pipe hangs about 3cm below the top circle. Repeat these steps to attach the rest of the pipes. For the best sound, the striker must hit the 'sweet spot' of each pipe, which is usually at the center. To achieve this, hang the pipes at varying lengths from the top circle.

6. Cut a piece of fishing line 20cm long and make it into a loop. Thread the ends of the loop through the centre hole in the top circle. Tie a washer onto the ends of the loop directly under the top circle.

Cut another piece of fishing line about 30cm long; tie one end to the washer under the top circle and the other end to another washer at the appropriate striker hanging point. Cut a new piece of fishing line about 12cm long; tie one end to the washer you just attached. Thread the striker onto the line and then tie another washer directly under the striker.

Cut a final piece of string to the appropriate wind catcher hanging height (about 5cm from the lowest-extending pipe). Tie one end to the washer you just attached and the other to the wind catcher. Cut off any excess fishing line.

To add suspension cords, thread a piece of fishing line (about 30cm long) down through one of the designated holes in the top circle and up through an adjacent hole, tying it together to make a loop about 8cm long. Repeat this step until you have six loops above the top circle.

Gather the loops, including the central loop, with a carabiner, and adjust the loop sizes until the entire project is balanced; then cut off any excess fishing line.

The completed chimes are ready to hang on an eye screw or hook in your favourite outdoor space.

janice anderssen - jenny stanley