Create Colorful Wind Chimes
Welcome spring breezes with these fun wind chimes made from terra-cotta pots. The kids will love painting the "flowers" and ringing the "bells."
The top flower pot can be filled with a real plant, if your climate allows. Otherwise, make your own flowers out of wooden discs or buttons, with stems of Popsicle sticks, dowel rods, skewers or plant stakes.
- 3-1/2-inch terra-cotta pot
- three 1-1/2-inch terra-cotta pots
- 3 beads for ringers
- hook for hanging
- blunt-end needle (with a hole of a suitable diameter for string or line, and that will fit through hole in small terra-cotta pots)
- felt-tipped pen or marker for marking string (optional)
- acrylic craft paint (for use on wood or clay, suitable for outdoors)
- string or line, strong enough to support the weight of the pots but fine enough so that it will fit through the holes in your small pots and beads, and nine strands will fit through the bottom hole of the 3-1/2-inch pot)
- 4 rust-proof washers (smaller than the bottom of the little pots but bigger than the hole in large pot)
- acrylic sealer (optional)
- wax paper
- exterior wood glue
- "flower stems" (frozen pop sticks, small-diameter dowels, skewers or flower stakes, depending on availability and the age of your helper)
- "blossoms" (wood discs or buttons)
- additional beads or decoration for the final weight at the bottom of your chimes
- pea gravel (handful, enough to hold flowers in place)
Paint the Flowers and Pots
Paint the flower petals, centers and stems, as well as the beads and terra-cotta pots as desired, then glue the flower centers to the petals and allow to dry according to the glue directions (Images 1, 2 and 3). Glue the stems to the blossoms and allow to dry. For stronger weather resistance or a gloss finish, spray the flowers, beads and pots with acrylic sealer outdoors and allow to dry.
Create the Hanger, Part 1
While the flowers are drying, measure out five 40-inch pieces of line, four for the hanger and one for the chimes (Image 1). Set the line for the chimes aside for a moment.
Thread the four pieces of line together through the washer, and knot them securely around the washer halfway down, giving you eight equal pieces of line (Image 2).
Tie your remaining piece of line for the chimes onto the washer as well (Image 3), knotting it securely. At this point you should have nine pieces of line coming off your washer, eight the same length and one much longer.
Thread your bunch of string through the bottom of the large pot, from the inside out, so the washer remains inside and all your string is coming out the bottom (Image 4). Turn your pot upside down.
To keep your chime line out of the way while you are constructing your hanger, take your longest piece of line and thread another washer on it (Image 5), then feed it back into the bottom hole of your pot from the outside in, so the string remains inside and the washer sits outside (this step keeps your chime line out of the way while you're constructing the hanger).
Create the Hanger, Part 2
Organize your remaining eight equal pieces of string into four pairs and tie a knot in each pair roughly 2 1/2 inches from the hole in the large pot (Images 1 and 2).
Take two adjacent pieces of string from two different pairs and tie a knot about an inch down from the first knots, keeping the first knots roughly level (Image 3). Repeat, creating four new pairs.
Using the washer on the outside, pull the chime string out of the pot again and let it dangle down as you gently turn your pot over, holding the hanger strings up in one hand (Image 4). Even them so the pot hangs level and secure them by knotting them together about 4-6 inches up, depending on the height of your flowers. Set the washer aside for a moment; you'll need it again for the chime assembly.
At the desired height for hanging, tie a knot around your hook, or an extra dowel or a stick, and trim excess string (Image 5).
Assemble the Chimes
Lay the big pot sideways on your workspace, with the chime line coming out the bottom. Thread (from the outside in) the little pot you would like to serve as your first ringer onto the line and push it all the way up so it's bottom-to-bottom with your big pot (Image 1).
Thread a washer onto the line all the way to the rim of the little pot and secure the line around the washer with a knot (Image 2). The placement of the washer is where the little pot will actually hang — in this case, creating a 2-1/2-inch drop between the pots. (If using a larger diameter line, you may not need a washer, as a strong knot will hold the pot in place.)
Thread a bead onto the line a couple inches from the washer and secure with a knot (Image 3). (The distance between the washer and bead could vary depending on your bead selection. To find optimal bead placement, where the bead is slightly protruding from the pot so it will chime against the rim, slide your little pot down so it sits on the washer. Also, for large bead holes and light line, it may be necessary to loop your line through the bead a second time in the same direction and later secure with glue. In that case, leave adjustable till all three chimes are constructed and then glue at the same time.)
Thread your next little ringer pot, bottom first, onto the line and push it all the way to the last bead, then add a second washer and bead as before (Image 4).
Add the third pot, washer and bead as before (Image 5).
Thread your finishing decorations 2 or 3 inches below the bead for your final ringer pot, securing them with a knot (Image 1). Trim excess line away.
If needed, even up all the ringer beads and secure them and all other knots with a drop of glue.
Put the constructed "flowers" into your pot, using pea gravel to secure the arrangement (Image 2).
Hang at a height that everyone can enjoy!
Note: If your climate will allow a living plant rather than faux flowers, choose a drought-tolerant variety such as sedum, and use moisture-retentive potting soil.