Copper Rain Chain




About: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.

This is a copper rain chain I made for my wife, she convinced me to enter it into the Etsy Sewuseful contest. And here's the link to it on Etsy copper rain chain

I guess I should mention what a rain chain is, it's an alternate to a downspout, it guides the water and breaks up the flow, they originated in Asia.

Step 1: You Will Need

1/4" soft copper tubing 3.5 times as long as you'd like the finished chain
2" pvc pipe
diagonal cutters
lead free solder
blow torch
heavy leather gloves

Step 2: Coiling the Copper

In this first step you'll only need the copper tubing and the pvc. Grip the end of the copper tubing and the pvc tightly in one hand, now start wrapping the copper around the pvc while pulling on the copper to prevent kinking. You should end up witha nice coil that looks like it belongs on a still ;-)

Step 3: Separating the Rings

Take the pair of diagonal cutters and snip the coil into rings. That was easy.

Step 4: Making the Chain

First we need to adjust the rings. Carefully adjust them unto the two end line up, if your snipping was consistent you're ready to solder, if not, then pliers can be used for less delicate adjusting.

Step 5: But Don't Solder Yet!!

You need to link the rings before soldering. Now that they're linked brush each joint with a little soldering flux, heat it in the torch and flow in some lead free solder.

PS this is where you need the gloves, copper in an excellent conductor of heat.

Step 6: Hanging

Hanging is simplicity itself, remove old down spout, feed the topmost copper ring up through the hole and insert a spare piece of straight copper to span the downspout through the topmost ring. Now wait for rain, with our drought I simulated it with the hose. ;-)



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    90 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I've seen this in a Japanese temple, it doesn't sound but guide the water from the canopy, the day was a rainny day.


    Reply 3 years ago

    The Japanese used these as the sounds from the water falling on the rings made little tinkling sounds. They also designed some with bell-like shapes so they did make a "ding" when water hit. Of course, in a torrential downpour, not much can be heard anyway!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I've been searching all over and I cannot find an answer... does the chain have to be copper? If so, why? If not, what is the advantage of copper over another metal (or even plastic)?

    This is a great 'ible and I really want to do this!

    1 reply

    Nope you're free to use what you like, but, copper is pretty, easy to work with and easy to solder, and corrodes in such lovely fashion.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I have seen these in magazines. Your rain chain inspired me to make one from "dollar store" stainless strainers and chain. Will post later with pictures.

    3 replies

    Great instructable. I did not like the "flat" edges created by snipping with the diagonal cutters used in your step 3. Some users suggested using a tube cutter but found that the tube cutter would not work with the copper coiled around the pvc. At step 3 I left the copper coil on the pvc and used a hacksaw for a straight cut through the whole coil instead of using the diagonal cutters. This will take a little more elbow grease & patience, but is a simple solution so that the cut edges hold their circular shape and will be flush when soldered. Again, great instructable. Thank you.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have friends who have a menace with the downspout: during the spring and summer the downspout does"OK" but during the fall and winter to spring thaw and freeze the downspout becomes a frozen waterfall including the deck and steps in the area (up to 6" thick of ice). Can the rain chain correct this situation? Everyone is talking about the coper stealing and the water what about the frozen side of this? Does anyone have any experiences in winter like and frozen-thaw situations for the rain chain?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The rain chain is better suited for freeze/thaw situations than the standard downspout. The chain will allow for faster thawing and faster movement of the water. Also, the chain can be anchored slightly away from the house to prevent ice buildup on the steps.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Since it's copper, won't it get a patina? I ask because I can only imagine that will be BEAUTIFUL in a garden... I hope you'll share photos in the future. :)