How to Make a DIY Rain Chain for Your Residential Garden

Home & Garden Blog

A copper rain chain can be a soothing and contemplative addition to your residential garden. A rain chain is an attractive way of draining rainwater and melted snow from your roof gutters onto your garden. Making your own rain chain can be a fun and creative project. Copper is an ideal metal to construct your rain chain from, as it is strong, is easy to work with, and will turn beautiful colors as it ages. Here are the ingredients and instructions for creating a DIY copper rain chain for your residential garden.

Copper Chains - To create a DIY rain chain, you will need two sizes of copper chain as follows.

  • Large-Diameter Copper Chain - At a hardware store, purchase a length of large-diameter copper chain to be the central core of your rain chain. This chain should be a foot or two longer than the distance from the rain gutter on your roof to the ground of your garden. It is always good to have a bit of extra chain in reserve so that you can repair your rain chain if one of your chain links breaks or becomes damaged.   
  • Small-Diameter Copper Chain - This small-diameter copper chain will be used to create handles for each of your copper rain cups and attach them to your rain chain. To determine how much of this chain to purchase, count the number of copper cups that you will use for your rain chain and allow about 5 to 6 inches of this chain to construct handles for each.  

Copper Cups - Small copper votive candle holders can be purchased at a hardware store or discount emporium and repurposed for your rain chain. To use these copper candle holders on your rain chain, do the following things.

  • Drill a Bottom Hole - Drill a hole in the bottom of each copper candle holder that is slightly bigger than the diameter of your large chain. Use a steel file to smooth the edges of this drilled hole. 
  • Drill Two Handle Holes - Drill two small holes across from each other (at 180º) on the top rim of each copper cup approximately 1/2 inch down from the rim. With a short length of 20-gauge copper wire, attach one end of a 5-inch length of the small-diameter copper chain into one of the two small drilled holes at the rim to create an attachment handle. 
  • Attach the Cups - Thread the large-diameter chain through the drilled bottom hole of each of the copper cups. Space each cup approximately 12 - 15 inches apart on the rain chain. Thread the unattached end of the small chain handle on each cup through a link on the rain chain and attach it to the other small drilled hole on the rim of the cup with a short length of 20-gauge copper wire. 

Top Attachment - When you decide where you would like to hang your rain chain, drill a hole through the bottom of your roof gutter that catches the rainwater from your roof. This hole should be just slightly larger than the diameter of your rain chain. Insert the top end of your rain chain through the drilled hole in your rain gutter. Insert a piece of PVC pipe, approximately 12 inches in length, through the top chain link of your rain chain. Attach this PVC pipe to the top of your rain gutter with two brackets so that it will not cover the hole where rainwater drains onto your rain chain. 

Catch Basin - Purchase a large ceramic or wooden bowl for a catch basin that will rest on the ground underneath your rain chain. An oak whiskey barrel that has been cut in half is ideal for this purpose. Fill this catch basin with smooth river rocks. These rocks can be purchased at any large garden supply center. This catch basin will hold the rainwater as it drips from your rain chain. 

A rain chain can be an attractive feature of your residential garden. A well-made rain chain will create soothing sounds as rainwater drains from your roof gutter to the ground. You may like your hand-made rain chain so much that you construct two or three of them to hang from the roof of your house and garage. These DIY rain chains will give you many hours of visual and audio pleasure. 


13 October 2016

Wasted Basement? Renovate It and Rent It

My husband and I have a large basement we've never really used. We started storing items in it, and it seemed like such a waste of a large area of our home. We also have a nephew in college in the area who we knew was paying a high price for an apartment he could barely afford. We came up with the idea of turning our basement into a mini-apartment and offering it to him for less than his current rent. He loved the idea, and the renovation was faster than we imagined it would be. We are all so happy it all worked out, and that we had a great basement to help my nephew through college at the same time. I created this blog to encourage others to use their basement for more than just holding boxes.