12 DIY Rain Chains for Your Yard

What is a rain chain? Here’s how rain chains prevent erosion and 12 DIY rain chains you can make from recycled materials!

12 DIY Rain Chains for Your Yard - What is a rain chain? Here's how rain chains prevent erosion and 12 DIY rain chains you can make from recycled materials!

Rain chains are like downspouts, only prettier! A well-placed rain chain will direct the flow of water from your roof, keeping it from eroding the ground underneath or pooling next to your foundation. You can direct your rain chain into a water feature, a gravel bed, another downspout, or a rain barrel, and you should definitely put it someplace where everyone can appreciate how pretty it looks as it does its job.

Installation can be as simple as removing a downspout and replacing it with the rain chain.

Inspired? There are a ton of ways to make DIY rain chains, and you can use the elements that appeal the most to you. Here are 12 tutes to get you started.

12 DIY Rain Chains

1. chain and basin. In this project, the rain chain itself is simple, but leads into a basin that you can make as elaborate as you like.

2. chain of tiny plant pots. These DIY rain chains are freakin’ adorable, and the wee plant pots are especially serviceable in heavy downpours.

3. cookie cuttersIf you’ve got a stash of so-so metal cookie cutters, this gets them out of your pantry!

4. copperCheck out your local Restore for surplus copper wire and tubing.

5. copper and stoneIf you’re feeling extra fancy, add polished stones to the copper links of your rain chain.

6. funnelsHere’s another DIY rain chain whose supplies you’re likely to find at your local Restore.

7. galvanized bucketsThis rain chain is probably the easiest to make, with just a single trip to the hardware store for supplies.

8. plastic cupsThinking of switching your dinnerware from plastic to glass, but don’t want to add a bunch of plastic to the waste stream? This project is a great way to upcycle the plastic cups into DIY rain chains.

9. scrap metalRivet pieces of scrap metal together to make a found object rain chain.

10. spoonsWire vintage spoons into an antique-appearing rain chain.

11. watering cansInstead of buying new watering cans for this, hit the flea markets for vintage ones.

12. yogurt cupsThis one probably doesn’t have a ton of longevity, but it’s a great way to include kids. They can rinse yogurt cups as they use them and punch the holes, and you can hang it for them from a tree branch or railing so that they can explore with a watering can or the garden hose.

photo credit: rain chain image via Shutterstock

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.


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  1. I had no idea that a rain chain will direct the flow of water from your roof, and keep it from eroding the ground. I have seen a few of these on houses, but never understood why they were there. We might have to look and see if there are any nearby that we can install.

  2. I really liked your idea of making a simple rain chain out of used yogurt cups! I have 3 kids and I know that they would love to build and play with this. The fact that I can put the empty containers to good use is just a bonus.

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