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PATIO ART : HOW TO MAKE STAINED GLASS WIND CHIMES FOR YOUR HOME AND GARDEN

Updated on September 21, 2016
kmartel profile image

K.D. Martel is a writer, published author and artist working from her studio in the province of Québec, Canada.

Make Your Own Spiritual Relaxing Glass Wind Chime!

Not too long ago I discovered the beautiful art of creating stained glass wind chimes! Now that I have perfected the art, I would love to share it with you!

CLICK HERE to see some of my crystal wind chimes creations!

Did you know that the ancient Chinese invented the wind chimes, using them to balance the Yin and Yang energies of a home by placing the chimes outside the doorways? It's all in the Feng Shui!

I have always loved the sounds of wind chimes tinkling softly when a slight breeze moves them. Walking in a garden and hearing chimes ringing gently amongst the trees. Falling asleep at night or upon wakening in the early morning hours to the gentle clinking of chimes has always relaxed and made me feel safe. I find that chimes have a spiritual sound and have often used them when searching for answers to certain questions. They always seem to tinkle at just the right time!

The most beautiful sounding chimes I have ever seen where those that I saw while vacationing in Cuba. The local craftspeople make their glass chimes from small bits of stained glass, shells, bead and seeds. When I came back home, I decided to make my own since all I could find in the local stores here were chimes made with metal tubes. Glass has a unique sound that resembles tinkling crystal ware, more delicate and uplifting.

I did some research on the internet on different wind chime models to inspire me. I ended up using bamboo as a starting point for my creation to hang from. Actually, you can use wood, metal, bamboo or whatever you feel inspired to use. Do some research and you will find something that appeals to you.

The best place to go and pick up your starting materials, is your local dollar store! Go to the craft section and buy some semi-precious stones like rose crystal quartz and amethysts that have been pre-drilled, ready to make into necklaces! Pick up some glass beads, tiny beads and anything else you feel drawn to! Pick up some bamboo rods, hanging metal chains that they sell to hang plants outside and you're ready to rock!

If you have a local glass store where they cut and make mirrors and other glassware, most likely they will sell stained glass. Don't buy big pieces, but ask them for their cuttings and pieces they sell for scrap, which is much cheaper. I buy most of my stained glass scraps on E-Bay!

If you can, draw a design of what you would like your glass chime to look like, or just go on your intuition, as I do!

You will need pliers to cut your metal chain, a dremel hand tool, fishing line (minimum 10lb. weight), safety glasses. You will need a diamond bit 1/16" to drill into your glass pieces which you can buy at your local hardware store. You will also need the same size or a bit larger in steel to drill your bamboo wood.

Drilling stained glass is an art in itself!! It takes patience and a light hand. Too much heat and pressure and you break your piece of glass when drilling it. First, choose your glass pieces. Sort by colour and size; try to keep 3-4 pieces per strand for a 3 to 4 strand wind chime. If your pieces are too big, cut them with a glasscutter, and if you have access to a glass grinder, grind the edges so that you won't open a finger up while putting the chime together (youch!). If not, well be careful, and with time, the pieces will dull themselves with the movement of the wind and their rubbing against each other.

I use an old wooden bowl filled with a bit of water and a drop of dish detergent to help in the cooling process of the drilling. I place a piece of old sponge in the bottom of the bowl and place my piece of glass on it. I keep my dremel at 2800-3000 rpm and start drilling sideways to get a good "foothold” in the glass (if you go straight down, the bit will slide off and scratch the glass). Once the bit has dug into the glass, I hold it straight. Make sure that the water covers your drill bit (1/4") so that it will cool while drilling. Let the weight of the dremel drill into the glass don't use any pressure whatsoever or the glass will break! It should take about 30 seconds to drill through. Once all your pieces are done, wash them, dry them and you're ready to begin your project.

You can take the wire chain with the hook and tie it to your bamboo. Drill holes in the bamboo and attach your fishing line. Then begin threading your glass pieces and beads. After each piece of glass is attached, tie it off securely with several tight knots and proceed with the next one. If your piece of glass is long, drill a hole in each end of the glass to attach the line. Small pieces need only one hole; you simply continue the knotting process using the same line. Once you are finished, find a place to securely hang your project and enjoy it! Listen to the different tones that the glass pieces make as they move in the wind. Long pieces of glass have deeper, almost gong like sounds, small pieces have higher tinkles.

© 2009 K D Martel

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    • profile image

      Karen 

      5 years ago

      Thank you so much Your chimes are beautiful. I do stained glass so needless to say I have a lot of scraps .I also do a lot of other crafts so I also have a lot of beads and trinkets . my biggest problem was figuring out how to drill the holes. after I make some I will put it on face book . my face book name is Karen fauke sutter lorentz Thanks again

    • saif113sb profile image

      saif113sb 

      7 years ago

      Good information hub. thank you so much

    • profile image

      Clare 

      7 years ago

      Glass wind chimes are great add-ons both for your home's interior or exterior, may it be in your living room, your very own room or the garden. Wind chimes made from stained glass are great for your garden, especially if the sunlight shines through the glass with the wind blowing gently to produce the soothing tinkling sounds.

    • kmartel profile imageAUTHOR

      K D Martel 

      8 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      hi Cg, in the first part of my hub, I mention that all the pieces are grinded using a stained glass grinder, a left over piece of machinery from my stained glass making days! ;)

    • profile image

      Cg 

      8 years ago

      Hi, a suggestion for sanding the edges of the glass so you don't do a OUCHIE....I use wet dry sand paper for automotive body work. fine grit. number eludes me at moment without having to run to shop.

    • kmartel profile imageAUTHOR

      K D Martel 

      8 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      Garden Wind Chimes: mine are outside and it is windy here, and my chimes have never broken. I usually take them inside when the cold settles in because the glass can become more brittle. Usually in November, I'll bring them in (-10 celcius is usually the time to bring them inside). My wind chimes that have broken are when I had one here, too close to a metal torch stand and in a high wind, the glass hit the metal and broke. One wind chime was hung too close to a tree trunk and broke a piece of glass and just the other day, a nasty squirrel chewed through the hanging rope of my feeder (I had installed wind chimes on the bottom of the feeder) the feeder fell to the stone patio and broke a few of my pieces..nasty, nasty squirrel..I fixed that with a steel wire, try and chew through that! lol

    • profile image

      Garden Wind Chimes 

      8 years ago

      Those are really great wind chimes. I would be afraid to hang them outside. Its so windy here that I am afraid they would break.

    • kmartel profile imageAUTHOR

      K D Martel 

      8 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      thanx agvulpes and oliversmum! oliversmum, everyone is good at making something, it just takes practice!

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 

      8 years ago from australia

      kmartel. Hi. Wow what absolutely beautiful wind chimes they are, I am not good at making things like this, But someone close to me is, Glass wind chimes are the best, I loved this hub and you are very talented. Thank you. :) :)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      8 years ago from Australia

      kmartel, I love working in stained glass and I have plenty of odd shapes left in my scrap bin. I reckon they would ideal for this sort of project. I will sure enough get a "round toit" one day . Great hub and thumbs up:-)

    • kmartel profile imageAUTHOR

      K D Martel 

      9 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      thanks Kartika, well, all the info is here, so go ahead and make yourself a unique creation! :)

    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 

      9 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      I really enjoyed this - sometime I want to make one! Kartika

    • kmartel profile imageAUTHOR

      K D Martel 

      9 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      thanx! :)

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      9 years ago from Hawaii

      Love it! Congratulations on your art!

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