Must-See DIY Rain Chain Ideas

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DIY Rain Chain Ideas – Ever find yourself thinking of the old song “Rain, rain go away, come again some other day” Well we literally can’t make the rain go away, but we can use our creative minds to use it to our advantage. Rain chains are a unique accessory that originated in Japan in place of gutters to catch the rain and direct it way from the home in an elegant fashion.

You can buy rain chains in specialized places that cater to gardeners and landscape artists, but there are ways you can design them too and make them extra special as well as aesthetically pleasing. They might take a little legwork to do  (and you may even have to retrofit your gutter) but it’s a great way to add a little curb appeal to your dwelling (plus you’ll love listening to water trickle through the myriad of loops or compartments .)

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diy rain chain

For some reason where I live it rains cats and dogs in some periods…like the wintertime. Ugh. Who knows why, unless it’s melted snow runoff from the north….who knows. All I know is this subject of rain made me want to write this post, so I could take something negative and turn it into a positive instead.

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rain chain exampleThe Origin of the Rain Chain

Rain chains developed out of Japan a number of centuries ago. They were known as “Kosari-doi”. (I have no idea when gutters were actually invented…or where( But moving on…They consist of a long succession of cups, or rings mounted in the same place as the downspout on a typical house, and rainwater cascades into them and flows through the shapes, the sounds are akin to listening to a waterfall.

Sounds relaxing, right? Compare that to the hollow, metallic sound water makes when it’s going down a typical downspout and you;ll see why they have become so popular today.

They come in lots of different shapes, some whimsical like this one with miniature watering cans. I’ve seen miniature umbrellas, cups shaped like flowers, mini flower pots, buckets…and more!  The perfect marriage of form follows function.

Things to Consider First…

Before you set about making one of these….there’s a few things to think about first. If you have downspouts, you will want to think about dismounting them, since your rain chain will be the new channel for which rainwater will flow through…they’re replacing them, after all. Also, directing the water flow….Make sure you have a game plan here. Do you want to install a French drain, Or build a drainage bed, which is something you could do with vinyl landscape fabric kind of like what I used to create the pathways between my garden beds.

Or you could use the traditional Japanese model of building a drainage spot with stones. That would be really Zen…as well as functional . Either way you’ve got to have a good place for the water to runoff into…it can’t just pool up somewhere, that’s trouble waiting to happen.

Also you may want to measure the runoff point between the gutter on your house and the ground….Most rain chains are about eight feet long. If it touches down, wherever it goes, measure that point . and make a determination, as well as what you want to do to make sure that spot has good drainage. in a certain area. Or you could just create a rain barrel system, which will give you plenty of water on standby for your garden.

Materials

While you could construct your very own rain chain out of almost anything, the most common material by far is copper. It doesn’t rust over and looks classy, and over time develops a rustic patina finish. So that’s one material to think of, as this artisan has done:

copper tubing rain chain

Image credit: ToolUsingAnimal

This involved soft copper tubing and a soldering tool, so a little advanced work here, but if you’ve got the wherewithall, by all means, go for it.

Mini Objects

Miniature objects, like this clever crafter who used what look like a succession of treat buckets…(she did have to drill holes, to be fair – or some other tool. Remember, the openings need to be enough to let water through, so they’re not going to be caulked or anything. Right now I just thought of my terra cotta pot chimes from an earlier post – I could take that and easily transform it into something like this (if I had about 8 more mini pots, that is…) 

mini bucket water chain

Image credit: Image by YorkshireLass

If you just want to create something like this that’s more entry level, you could save up a bunch of ince cream sundae cups Or shower curtain rings. What else could you come up with? If you just wanted a decoration for your home and not worried about the form over function issue. Simple materials like this may still work, however if you intend to use it functionally, I would recommend this only for those of you that don’t experience much rainfall. Things made of plastic may not hold up well during heavy downpours.

Tools and Hardware

You’ll probably need the following – a tall enough ladder, a hacksaw, a pair of tin snips, and a leaf filter if you don’t have that already. A mounting bracket and “V” shaped clip that threads through the inside of the spigot and the v-shape will secure it in place.

What to use to link objects together? My first husband loved “S” hooks…had a whole ton of these in varying shapes. I linked two-three together at a time and use them for hanging windchimes and other yard artforms…If you could find chain links by the yard that could work too. Just be sure it is rust-proof e.g. stainless steel.

Also, if your area is prone to erratic weather conditions, consider putting a stake in the ground and connect the base of the chain to it. In the case of gusty winds, it will keep it from swinging around. Rain chains tend to be heavy and can withstand some of what nature may throw at it, but as you know, things happen, and you don’t want t a major mess on your hands so an anchor stake is a good idea.

Conclusion

I want to make a rain chain of my own, but sometimes we get some bad weather that it might not take, and don’t forget hurricane season in August….I’m rethinking it. But I might just do something like this one day and wanted to give you some ideas to go on.

 

 

 

 

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