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Make a beautiful water feature — rain chain projects to inspire you!
What is a rain chain?
Rain chains are fun. They are a decorative replacement for your metal or plastic downspouts which take rainwater away from your house. You can replace a downspout with a ‘chain’ of different decorative materials, and make a feature out of the rainwater that runs off your buildings.
Rather than a rush of water down plastic guttering, you’ll hear the tinkling sound of running water, which is much more relaxing. You’ll also be able to watch the water running through your rain chain and have a beautiful decorative feature to look at.
Where does the water go?
When you make a DIY rain chain, think about where you want the water to go. To conserve rainwater, you could make a rain chain that leads to a barrel or water butt. Or, rainwater could be directed to a particular plant pot or even a water garden.
Where did the rain chain idea come from?
Rain chains have adorned houses and temples in Japan for centuries. In Japanese, they are ‘kusari-doi’, which means ‘chain gutter’. Over the years, many different materials have been used to create these attractive downpipes, from bamboo to rope.
DIY Rain Chain Ideas
Making a rain chain is a perfect little DIY project. There are lots of different materials you can use. We’ve pulled together 15 fab ideas for decorative rain chains to inspire you below.
Terracotta Pot DIY Rain Chain
This is a great way to make a rain chain because there are so many different color combinations you can go for, and it’s cheap to put together. Small terracotta pots are threaded onto a chain to create your chain gutter. You can paint the pots to match your color scheme.
Polished Stone DIY Rain Chain
With this one, you can make your rain chain using thin bendable wire. Wrap the wire around polished stones and connect them to the next link in the chain. With a few simple materials, you can create a unique rain chain for your home.
Cutlery DIY Rain Chain
What could be better than recycling old materials into something beautiful and useful? If you have old metal cutlery you no longer use, make a rain chain with it. Or hunt down old spoons and forks in thrift stores. The handles form the chain. The spoon bowls and fork tines are bent at angles to direct the water.
Watering Can DIY Rain Chain
We love this idea of water running through watering cans. This rain chain is made of copper, but you could use cans made of all sorts of metal, and different colours too. Copper oxidizes and turns a beautiful shade of green (verdigris) eventually.
Pine Cone DIY Rain Chain
You’ll love this rain chain idea if you love using what nature provides. The pine cones might need to be treated to last longer against the running water. But even if this is more of a temporary rain chain, it’s beautiful while it lasts.
Stacked Planter DIY Rain Chain
In this rain chain the plant pots are hanging in a stacked fashion rather than at an angle (see our terracotta pot rain chain, above). Each planter has a hook attached so it can easily be hung onto the chain link above. This is a straightforward and easy idea to do at home.
Copper Tubing DIY Rain Chain
Use up leftover lengths of copper tube to make a rain chain like the one pictured above. It will direct water away from the house and look great at the same time!
Rustic Bucket DIY Rain Chain
You can use all sorts of containers to make your rain chain. Metal buckets give a pleasing rustic look. The water can be directed into a barrel and used on the garden. Think about the items you already have at home that you could use to make your DIY rain chain.
Candle Holder DIY Rain Chain
Ever been given a tea light candle holder as a present? Never use it? If these little pots are cluttering up your house or loft, repurpose them into a rain chain like the one above. You could paint them in different colors too.
DIY Rain Chain With Plants
We love this idea of plants growing in a rain chain. Make sure you choose plants that like to be watered a lot if you live in an area with heavy rainfall! The great thing is that the soil will drain well because the water runs through and out of the pots.
Ceramic DIY Rain Chain
This rain chain has the wow factor; it’s practical too. The sound of water running over the ceramic discs is soothing. You could also use a stack of flat polished stones with holes drilled in this way.
Copper Cup DIY Rain Chain
Copper looks delightful with rain running through it. This design uses hammered copper cups threaded onto a matching chain. You could gather together lots of copper items to create an eclectic version of this rain chain – they don’t all have to match! A copper basin to collect water underneath your rain chain makes a stunning finish to this idea.
Teapot DIY Rain Chain
How cool is this? Get the creative juices flowing with your DIY rain chain ideas. Junkyards and thrift stores are great places to find old bits and bobs such as kettles, teapots and crockery. What could you make?
Rock DIY Rain Chain
If you’ve ever collected interesting pebbles or rocks on a beach holiday and now have piles of them, this DIY rain chain idea could be for you. What better way to display them than in a rain chain? You just need some wire to wrap around and connect them.
Cookie Cutter DIY Rain Chain
You may have a draw full of these that you don’t often use. Cookie cutters are easy to find in secondhand stores too. Link them up with lengths of chain for a cute and practical rainwater carrier.