DIY Rain Chain

12 Materials
4 Hours

I love rain chains! I think they look so much better than a regular downspout.

If you're not sure what a rain chain is, click HERE to find out all about them.

But the copper ones are usually pretty expensive to buy so I decided to see if I could make one.

It took me a while to figure out where I was going to get copper to make the chain. Then I was walking through the hardware store and saw a 20' length of flexible copper tubing...the type that is used to install refrigerators. Perfect!

The next problem to solve? How to get chain links that were round.

After a couple of failed attempts, I finally figured out how to make a coil of out of the copper.

Third problem to solve? How to cut the coil into links that could be made into a chain.

Again after a couple of failed attempts, I figured out how to cut the coil into links...using a reciprocating saw made a pile of links in a hurry.

Finally, I used pliers to join the links together.

The finished chain was a little more than 5' long...which was the perfect height to hang from the first story eaves of my house and have the chain reach just above the top of my rain barrel.

Next step was to install the rain chain, which meant first removing the down spout that was there. That left a hole in the gutter (sorry for the dirt...I was so excited to put it up, I didn't bother to clean :)

To make a gutter installer, I bent another small piece of copper tubing (mine was about 15" long) into a "V" shape with ends.

Pull the rain chain through the hole in the gutter and attach the installer to the end of the chain.

Then let the chain back down so that the ends of the V are resting on the bottom of the gutter.

The rain chain looks great when it is hanging on its own.

But it is really pretty when there is water running down. And it really does work!

Click HERE to get all the details on how to make a rain chain (including how to make the copper coil and the best way to cut it into rings).

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

9 questions
  • 1949705381
    on Nov 8, 2016

    Sorry, I may have missed something, what is the purpose of the rain chain, or is it just for decoration? Thank

    • Mar12004966
      on Nov 8, 2016

      A chain allows water flowing from gutter to make it to the ground without splashing on wall causing damp problems and negates need for a new down pipe. Any chunky chain will do the job. A plastic washing rope will serve the same purpose, just tie to a bent coat hanger wire same as the copper chain and weigh down bottom with a brick or heavy plant pot, or tie onto the centre of grill of the drain cover.

    • Mar12004966
      on Nov 8, 2016

      Can tie anything pretty that you like to the cord or chain to decorate it, e.g. Small Metal/glass clip on butterflies, the water will flow over them. Whatever you attach must not touch the wall.

    • Edith A. Robbins
      on Nov 8, 2016

      What's wrong with just getting a new downspout?

    • Sheryll S
      on Nov 10, 2016

      So clever! I have never attempted to make one, but it is so pretty. I don't have gutters, just a metal roof that I love! It still looks brand new and gorgeous. I want to use your copper twisted idea some how as decoration or a wind chime. Loops, my comment is in wrong place, hope you don't mind.

    • Lynne Webb
      on Nov 28, 2016

      Nothing wrong with a downspout. The chain is prettier and I have been told makes a lovely sound during a gentle rain.

  • Lynda Duthler
    on Nov 8, 2016

    How is this grounded? It seems like an extremely hazardous decoration in the event of a lightening storm. Beautiful to see in action with the rain flowing through it all.

    • Roland Ronish
      on Nov 8, 2016

      Not so. It isn't any more a hazard than a metal downspout if it goes to the bottom (ground).

    • I'm not sure about the grounding issue, but copper rain chains like this have been used for hundreds of years in some parts of the world so I don't think it's too much of a problem (I have had a store-bought one on the front of my house for about 10 years with no issues...we get a fair number of thunderstorms in the summer). But if you were worried about it, you could probably install a ground wire that went from the gutter down to the ground to take care of the problem.

    • Comet
      on Nov 8, 2016

      If your house if properly grounded and this is ATTACHED to the house--wouldn't that mean the chain was----grounded?

    • MM
      on Nov 9, 2016

      Your house itself can get hit at any time. I really think a copper chain shouldn't be too much of a concern. Do you have a lightning rod on your house? Now THAT would be something to be concerned about😀

    • Dixie
      on Nov 9, 2016

      If the lightening should hit, the charge would go down the chain and into the barrel - wouldn't it? If the barrel's sitting on the ground, then it would be grounded.

  • Maj13691367
    on Nov 8, 2016

    can just regular chain be used.///

  • Swinnen Lisette
    on Nov 8, 2016

    If you don't use a rain chain, where does the water go from the gutter?

    • Normally, there would be an enclosed down spout that the water goes down. I removed it to put up the rain chain. Without the rain chain there, the water spills down but it splashes all over the place (gets the foundation of the house very wet which can lead to leaks).

    • Swinnen Lisette
      on Nov 9, 2016

      Ah thank you. I was looking around my house, looking for a place to hang a rain chain because I love your idea. But the "overhanging" of my roof is about 1m, so the chain would be off the corner of the house with about 1,30m too far off then and in the way to pass. pity

    • Make it anyway, get a shepherd's hook and hang in the garden as pretty eyecatching decor!

    • Kelli
      on Feb 4, 2017

      Great idea, Naomie! I have a purchased rain chain in front of my house and love what the ice does as it freezes and melts! A shepherds hook would be cute in a lot of places!

  • Lee McAlister
    on Dec 1, 2016

    I'm wondering about the tiny gap between the edges of the tubing in each individual link. If that is facing in any direction besides straight down, the link will fill with water and would get pretty gross over time. There needs to be some way to make sure the seam in each link stays on the bottom. Can't think of one myself just now, though.

    • Hi Lee...I haven't noticed that happening yet, but you're probably right that it could be a problem over time. The links don't really rotate once you hang it, so I think you could position them that way when you put it up. Or maybe fill the ends with clear silicone to prevent the water from getting in?

    • Norm Duffy
      on Dec 21, 2016

      Could also solder them together!

  • UpState
    on Feb 3, 2017

    Are you using the 'old splashpan' to direct the water away from your house/foundation ?

  • Patty Henson
    on Feb 4, 2017

    what is the purpose of a rain chain?? I never heard of it till I saw your post please explain. TIA!!

    • Carol Wolf
      on Feb 4, 2017

      just another beautiful decoration to add to the front of your home

    • Rosel Kynast
      on Feb 4, 2017

      When we traveled in Europe, especially in Germany ( years ago ) we saw a lot of the rain chane's. I forgot all about it , until I saw the post today. Most of the chains were attached to the rain gutter on balconies, where a regular rain gutter could not be attached.

    • Jacx
      on Feb 4, 2017

      You see them in Japan where the sound and the beauty of them is appreciated. Sometimes they are a string of little bells that makes a lovely delicate sound.

    • Llk3031894
      on Feb 4, 2017

      It works similar to a gutter downspout. It keeps the rain from gushing down and making a big puddle by your foundation. The rain sort of gently runs down the chain.

    • Susan
      on Feb 4, 2017

      Also great for gathering rain water for your inside plants!

    • Toolpro
      on Feb 4, 2017

      Love it! I typically just take the elbows off at the gutter and let water go into my rain barrels....the copper chain will dress it up nicely. I have a role just waiting for a project.

    • Linda Waldron
      on Feb 4, 2017

      Another good idea for these chains is if you have tile roofs, if it rains it makes a racket that can wake the dead! With this it pulls the rain away and runs it quietly down were you want it to go. (they have these on almost every new home up in the Cauldwell, Idaho area were my daughter live) I have never seen them before that. I really need one on my house in AZ. Thanks for sharing this idea!!!

    • Jul7658301
      on Feb 6, 2017

      Rain chains direct the water in a path from the gutter and while doing this they look beautiful and do provide a little pleasant sound.

    • Regina Hescock
      on Mar 4, 2017

      This is also known as a Yankee downspout. Used for watering foundation plants. Think about the old way of "landscaping" and you have the answer to all your rain and foundation wetness questions. The alternative is a rain barrel. Waste not want not is the Yankee way.

    • LaDoris Landrum
      on Oct 3, 2018

      It looks cool and the sound of running water sounds beautiful and soothing.

  • Mary Ann Niemczycki
    on Mar 3, 2017

    Does this really work when you have torrential rains?

  • Dia19459876
    on Mar 18, 2017

    Is this legal with the code department?

    • Equ20917472
      on Mar 21, 2017

      I can't imagine code enforcement caring about this one way or the other. BUT, if you have an HOA, you might want to check with them first...they can be a little finicky about stuff like this.

    • Jacqueline
      on May 31, 2017

      Think about that for a minute, Legal !? For a CHAIN to hang?
      You need to move to the country.
    • Jenny Dewes
      on Apr 2, 2018

      I live in Canada and you see these incorporated into the building design in new higher end homes. I love the look of them. Thanks for sharing your beautiful creation 😁

Join the conversation

2 of 108 comments
  • Hzaenchik
    on Aug 17, 2018

    The first time I saw this was at Disney world at the Polynesian Resort. And this is what I remember the most. Go figure.

  • Jeannette
    on Nov 5, 2018

    I've been wanting a rainchain forever but I have no interest in paying so much for something! I cant wait to do this!

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