Tin can wind chime DIY

5:09 PM

Whenever Diwali is near I have that urge to prettify our balcony (the big selling point of this flat by the way).

After months of rain and mold it feels great to get things looking pretty again. And this year my balcony needed some TLC.
Last year, I made a pretty Rainbow mobile with coloured popsicle sticks, but a year in the sun and rain has left it washed out and full of mold. What looked bright and cheerful a year ago was looking pretty sad and broken when I took it down this week. It went straight to the bin, without me thinking of giving you a picture.

This year I decided to tap into my stock of "reformed crazy cat lady" cat food tin cans. My cat trained me to get her the tastiest canned food there was and I realised I was spending more on food than I was on myself and I said screw it!
This, however, left me with a sizeable amount of tin cans for craft projects.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me posting this picture yesterday night:

a few tin cans, glass beads and brass pendants will make for a lovely wind chime on a budget

This is a picture of a work in progress and probably the most photogenic of the entire lot. The wind chime looks like this in its integrity:

Add some boho chic vibe to your balcony or patio with this cute DIY project, all you'll need is a few beads, tin cans and a whole lot of patience

My balcony kind of sucks when it comes to taking picture, mostly because it is North-East facing and getting a decent light is near impossible. The second problem is that it is hard to get a good shot of something as long as said wind chime. Go too far away and it looks tiny, come to near or zoom in too much and you end up with most of it cropped out.

Anyway, this wind chime is made out of 7 cat food cans (Sheba brand if you want to know) and an insane amount of small glass beads I patiently threaded all of yesterday afternoon.

The picture above should give you an idea of my insanity level. Each tin can has 6 strings of beads dangling from it.

But back to the beginning shall we? 

To pull this project you will need: 

- 7 cans, all of the same size. (tuna cans or cat food cans are the best)
- Acrylic paint of your choice. I chose my signature colour : light blue permanent paint from Camel. You can buy it here.
- Enough small glass beads in a mix of colour matching your paint. 
- A couple of wooden beads
- 6 brass pendants or charms
- enough nylon thread to thread your dangling beads. 
- a length of sturdy thread to thread your cans. 
- quilling paper (I'll explain that)
- "Fix it" type glue (the transparent gooey glue that comes in tube)
- scotch tape
- A sharp pointy tool to punch holes in your cans ( a nail or a compass point work great)
- A ruler and a pair of scissors 
- A big ornamental bell or pendant. 

The first step is to obviously wash your cans and remove the paper label (soak them in warm water for that).

Once your cans are clean and dry, paint them with the acrylic paint. You will need to apply two coats of paint. The first coat will act as a primer so don't worry if it still looks uneven after that initial coat. 
Once your cans are dry, find the center of your can with the ruler and punch a hole with your pointy tool of choice in all 7 cans. 

Now, let the insanity part of the project begin! 

The most time consuming part is threading all those glass beads on nylon threads and glueing them inside each of the tin cans. 
This is where you will find the quilling paper very handy (along with the scotch tape) : 

Pardon the blurry picture, I took it late at night when I was finishing the last "fringe" but this will give you a good example on how to get those strings of beads evenly spaced and ready to go in each tin can. 

I recommend you take a 1 cm wide strip of quilling paper and cut it to the circumference of your tin cans. Then with a ruler, decide where each of your 6 strings will go. The length of my paper was around 19 cm, so I roughly put a string of beads every 3-ish centimetres. 

I taped each finished string of beads to the paper as I went until I had 6 of them on the strip. Then I folded the tape over on the other side of the quilling paper to secure (you can see the folded tape on the left in the picture above).

Once a strip of paper was completed I used my "fix it" glue and applied it on the inside of the can, close to the edge. Then it was just a matter of quickly putting the paper strip and bead strings in place over the glue and let it dry. 

Once all my cans were beaded, I took a length of sturdy string (I used kite string) and threaded my cans on it. 

To keep it pretty I used a wooden bead on top of each can, and secured another bead on the thread with a loop knot where I wanted the can to rest. I glued the inside bead to the inside of the can for added strength. 

At the very end of the thread, after securing all the tin cans into place, I used more decorative wooden beads and an ornamental bell. 
At the top I used 3 big white beads and a tiny hoop so that I can hang my wind chime on a nail or hook. 
The bell is a remnant of a long ago broken string of bells, if you can't find a bell you like feel free to use any big pendant or crystal at the end of your string. 

Voila! Your wind chime is ready to go on your balcony or window at this point. It also makes for a great door frame or wall ornaments as well should you not want to expose your masterpiece to the elements. 

My balcony is a work in progress at the moment as I have at least 2 other balcony themed projects to pull before Diwali. 

This year's theme is up-cycling and making the old new again, so stay tuned!

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  1. Anonymous12:10 PM

    This wind chime is beautiful. I guess the little bell below or the leaves produce the sound. It is a beautiful decoration. Talking about decorations, have you tried something for the door?


    1. The bell does the sound more than the leaves if there is enough wind (not often on that balcony)

      A few years ago Ishita made a Diwali door decoration but it broke last year. Making a new one is a possibility, though this year we are going to do a rangoli near our entry door since this year is the first year we no longer have the toddler cycle taking all the space.

  2. Anonymous6:54 PM

    Yes I am eagerly waiting for your rangoli.

    I realized while buying diwali door decoration that they are always the same every year. Something more light could look equally beautiful.


    1. I find the Diwali door decorations a bit boring, as you said it is always the same old designs and same old colours.
      Our main door is in a dark corner of te hall way, it looks really drab and gloomy during the day. I will try to jazz it up this year, but no guaranteed. I usually go all out with rangoli when we head to Lucknow, which we won't be doing this year.
      My in-laws' house is big and has plenty of outdoor space to make a big rangoli.


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