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I love the sound of bamboo wind chimes. I’ve been wanting one for a long while. Being a DIY-er, I’d also been eyeing up some bamboo growing at our local ball field. Everything came together when I decided that this could be a great project for my Craft/Shop class last year at our homeschool co-op.
The local ball field was more than happy for me to cut some down, and I was glad to get this part of the project for free! For 6 bamboo wind chimes, I only cut down 4 bamboo shoots that were of varying thicknesses, but each 8′ tall. The very top of each shoot is unusable though, as it is just to small in diameter.
I’m gonna walk you through how we made them. It’s not hard, I promise. I’d say the most challenging step is getting the bamboo ahead of time and waiting for it to dry!
All 3 of the wind chimes in the videos on this page were made fall 2016. They don’t have any stain or clear coat on them, and they’ve been up ever since we hung them up. I don’t take them down for weather or winter.
This wind chime is made of nothing but bamboo and twine:
Wind chimes have 3 components, the chimes, a banger, and a suspension platform. Some of the kids opted to have a wind catcher on theirs. I didn’t on this one:
On our wind chimes we used:
1/2 Coconut shell as the suspension platform (it is cheapest to buy whole coconuts at your local Asian market and have them opened by someone knowledgeable in doing so)
Bamboo tubes of differing lengths and diameters (if you don’t know of any growing in your area, ask at local garden shops or landscape companies if they know of any, or have cleared any lately)
Cedar tree round as the banger – You could use any wood you have, or these wooden knobs. I like the way cedar ages, and there is tons of it in my yard.
Jute twine to tie it all together
Large tin can lids as wind catchers (optional)
Machete, or hand saw to cut bamboo down
Chop saw to cut bamboo into varying lengths (or use a small-toothed hand saw)
Drill to drill holes in bamboo, coconut half and cedar round
Scissors to cut string
This is my daughters’ wind chime – she didn’t want to use a banger – but as you can hear in the video, it still has a nice sound to it:
How to make your own Bamboo Wind Chimes:
Step 1 Collect your bamboo. Cut the leaves off. Then, cut the bamboo to varying lengths with one joint an inch or so below your top cut (that will stay intact), and one joint towards the middle that you will bust out. I used a chop saw, and cut it in sections a few days after I cut the poles down with a machete.
Step 2 Dry/cure the bamboo for several months.
Step 3 Using a piece of rebar and a hammer, bust out the joint in the middle. This allows for air to go all the way up the tube, and makes a deeper sound. To bust the middle joint, poke a piece of rebar down the bamboo and use a hammer to bust it. Again, you only want to bust the joint in the middle, not the one towards the top where you will hang it.
Step 4 Drill holes in your bamboo from one side clear to the other at the top of the tube, where the joint is still in tact. This is where your string will hang your bamboo tube to your suspension platform.
Step 5 Drill holes in your coconut shell for the bamboo tubes to be hung from. Drill as many holes as you wish. I would suggest 4-5 for good sound. Place your holes evenly around the coconut shell. Also drill two holes in the middle of the very top of the coconut shell.
This is where your banger will be hung from, and where you will put a string through to hang your wind chime. (Coconut shells are extremely hard – have a sharp bit and someone knowledgeable with a drill do this.)
Step 6 Drill a hole through the middle of your cedar tree round
Step 7 String it all together. Hang them up, and wait for the breeze.
I had steps 1-6 done before my class, so this was more of a craft project than a shop project. The kids enjoyed it, and some of them gave their wind chimes to family as presents.
On class day, I carried the frame of a pop up tent canopy so the pieces could be assembled while they hung. This made it easier for the kids to judge the length of twine they needed, and the spacing for everything to be hung.