In our second original outdoor decor project for this month, we’re going to make a rain chain! Why? Because they’ve become a very popular alternative to the utilitarian downspout as a way to direct rain from your gutters to the ground. Search ‘rain chain’ on the google and you’ll see that besides being popular, they can be very expensive. My DIY alternative, however, can be assembled in about an hour and costs around 30 bucks.
- 11 small galvanized steel buckets, (the ones I bought for the project measure 4 1/4″ high [6 3/8″ with the bail] with a top opening of 4 1/8″ in diameter and a bottom of 2 7/8 in diameter) You can find similar buckets on Amazon or on Etsy.
- 8′ of 1/2″ chain
- 15 – 1″ S-hooks
- 1 – 3 1/2″ eye-hook, or large enough to hold the weight of the chain and buckets
- 1 aluminum downspout outlet, like this one at Home Depot, to fit inside the hole in your gutter
- drill (A good quality drill from The Home Depot won’t break the bank)
- 1/2″ drill bit
- caulk, for outdoor application
- eye protection
- round file
NOTE: The length from your eave to the ground will determine the exact length of your chain as well as how many buckets you’ll need. My rain chain needed to be 8′ long to reach from downspout to ground, thus the 8′ of chain in the materials list.
Step 1: Drill 1/2″ holes in the center of each bucket and de-burr as necessary with the round file.
Step 2: Put an S hook on the handles of the buckets; use pliers to close the side around the handle.
Step 3: Thread the buckets onto the chain (through the holes you drilled in step 1), spacing them equally apart. (It’s helpful if you can hang the chain while you do this. I hung mine from a rafter in the garage.)
Step 4: Crimp the S hooks (that you installed in step 2) into place through the individual links in the chain, spacing the buckets evenly down the entire length of the chain.
Step 5: Install the aluminum downspout outlet into the hole in the gutter; put a bead of caulk around the lip of the outlet to secure it in place.
Step 6: To hang the rain chain, I used a 3 1/2″ eye hook that I screwed into the fascia board of my garden shed; I then crimped on an S-hook to the top of the chain and fed it through the aluminum downspout outlet we installed in step 5. Then I simply crimped the S-hook onto the eye hook.
Step 7: Stand back and admire your handiwork and wait for a rainfall!
P.S. You’ll want to check your buckets periodically throughout the season for debris that might impede the proper funneling of the rain.