Rain Chain With Funnels and Vintage Cookie Cutters … No Drill Needed

6 Materials
3 Hours

Catch the music of falling rain with my rain chain design, embellished with vintage metal cookie cutters and miniature funnels. This decorative chain guides rain into a splash guard, a rain barrel, a birdbath, or a bowl filled with decorative stones. I made this years ago and it still works and looks great. I use it in place of a downspout in my garden. It's is not hard to make. It's like a big necklace and you should allow 2–3 hours for assembly.

When I walk around the corner of my old house, this is one of the first things I see. I call it my "tipsy rain chain" because the funnels and cookie cutters lean a bit to the sides. I now have my chain channeling rain into a barrel that I use for watering patio plants.

Rain collectors can be decorative.

To embellish the chain, you can be creative with shapes and sizes of the funnels and cookie cutters, or use any small metal objects with holes. Here`s exactly what I used:

• A medium–sized 8-oz. metal funnel for the top

• 6 small metal beverage funnels (purchased online)

• About 4 vintage cookie cutters, with self handles (holes on either side of raised handle)

• A piece of metal coat hanger, approximately 14 inches long (cut with wire cutter) to connect chain to your gutter spout 

• Large jump rings or small chains to connect main chains (from jewelry supply)

• One large S–hook 

• Needle–nose pliers (and a bolt-cutter if you cut the chain yourself)

• Rain collector or splash guard for the bottom

ALSO, you'll need a good long piece of chain … more on this below …

Use new pieces, or vintage.

I worked on this rain chain design for years trying to figure out how to keep the pieces straight. Then I had an epiphany! Why not let the pieces tip to the side? So that's what I did, and I love it and call it "The Tipsy Rain Chain". Here's an overall diagram of how I put the elements together, followed by closeup details below.

First, the chain. I had an 18 foot length of chain cut at my hardware store. It is about the weight that is used for dog leads. Easy enough to cut into two same-sized pieces, but heavy enough to last many years outdoors.

Measure the length of chain you will need, then double that. The design is made with a double chain, so basically you will cut your chain in half. A bolt cutter will go through it like a hot knife through butter.

To make the rain chain, lay the two pieces of chain side by side on the floor. Starting at the top, thread one chain through large funnel, attach chain to S–hook, crimp closed (see diagram). Attach second chain to first, just under the funnel, using a jump ring. The top part of the S-hook will be attached to a piece of coat hanger wire, which in turn goes up through the hole where your downspout would normally be. Bent at angles, the chain will then stay in place. You can make this wire hanger after creating the chain decorations.

While the chains are on the floor, decide the spacing for your decorations … mini funnels, cookie cutters, even charms or odds pieces of jewelry. The diagram above shows how to feed one of the chains through a funnel, the other travels outside of the funnel. A jump ring holding both chains together under the funnel, keeps it in place.

To attach cookie cutter, thread a chain through each of the holes on either side of the handle. Hold in place with jump rings just beneath it. 

Once you hang the rain chain in place of a down spout, you can decide what you will use to collect the rain at the bottom.

For instance you can have the rain chain end on top of a flower pot with a plant that loves lots of rain, or a splash guard, or a barrel.

In the winter, ice makes beautiful crystalized shapes on my rain chain, and in the summer rain pours through it with a musical ring. I'd love to show you more of my creations and my 200-year old home project. This is a link to my web site archives: here.

Suggested materials:
  • Stainless Steel Chain, Pet Training, Clothes Hanging .25" width   (Amazon)
  • Stainless Steel Mini Funnels, 1.5" diameter   (Amazon)
  • Aluminum funnel, 8 ounce   (Amazon)
See all materials
Stephie McCarthy
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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