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repair, refresh broken wind chimes

Krylon-Dual-Superbond-projectI posted this picture on facebook as a “teaser” to ask what people thought I was working on.  I admit it is sort of misleading.

old-ugly-bushesBut before I can tell you about the project I first have to tell you the back story.   I recently hired a tree man to remove the huge stump in the front yard, a tree in the back yard, trim yet another tree and remove some random pine tree branches. While he was here giving me a price I mentioned these bushes.  They have been here for too many years and it’s time for them to go!  If you’re a regular around here, you know I’ve already removed some other bushes in recent years.  I was hoping to do those two by the front porch this year.  They really are so difficult to dig up.

Long story short, the tree man gave me a good price on taking care  of them along with the tree work.  He would  cut them down  with a chain saw, and use the stump remover to get the roots where he could.  Oh yeah!  Where do I sign?

Note the wind chime hanging on the right, and the arrow pointing to “lone tube”.  After they cut the bushes and removed them, I found one of the tubes of the wind chime.  It has 8 tubes, but currently only 4 of them were still attached.



before-after-bushes-tree-removalThese pics aren’t exactly from the same angle, but you can see that even after the tree guys did their work (middle picture)  I still had a lot to do to remove all the dirt, debris, ivy and landscaping tubing.   The random side porch use to have a door, but we closed it up years ago.  There is still a lot to do in the fall when the weather cools off, but I’m so glad I didn’t have to look at those bushes ever again.

In the bottom picture, the arrow on the left is the tree that was removed (stump remains because it had grown into the fence) the arrow on the right is pointing to the tree that was trimmed.


So, on with our story.  Now that I found the lone tube, it’s time to fix the wind chime.


broken-wind-chimeHere you can see the old, broken wind chime.  You can also see the area where the stump was removed.

fix-broken-wind-chimeYou can see that only 1/2 of the tubes are still on the wind chime, also notice how weathered the wood is.  Yikes!  after I took it down, I noticed a bug in one of the holes…. after fighting to try to get it out, I realized it was one of those great big wood bees!  ewwww   The tubes all had mud inside of them from some other kind of bug.  ugh!

I removed all of the tubes after taking several pictures of how it was all put together.

I wiped them down with a cleaning cloth, and hosed them off and left them to dry.



repair-wind-chimeI measured the center string that holds the wind catcher and the clapper.  However, I ended up not replacing that string at all. So this step was not necessary for me after all.  Note how gray and weathered the wood is.


Krylon-Dual-Superbond-GoldSo, this is where the solar light stake came in.  I intended to use it to hold my tubes for spray painting.  In theory it was going to work great—one problem—gnats!  It made the tube too low to the ground.


spray-paint-wind-chimePlan B.   I still used the stakes and plastic tubes to hold on to the wind chime tubes while spray painting.  After painting 2 of the tubes, I noticed that some “pitting” was showing through and I needed to lightly sand the others to remove it.



how-to-spray-paint-wind-chime-tubesAfter spraying each of the tubes, I placed them into this plastic milk crate so they could dry.



minwax-stain-clothsWhile the tubes were drying, I got busy freshening up the top piece, clapper, and wind catcher with some Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths in Walnut .


string-for-wind-chimesThis is the waxed thread I used for restringing my wind chimes.  I like the way the site tells you how thick the string is.  This one is a thick as a dime.  I laid a dime alongside the old string and it was exactly as thick as a dime.


restring-wind-chimeI tied the wind chime to my ceiling fan pull chain and got busy.  There were some brads in some of the holes to keep the strings from slipping.  Several of the brads were missing. I used toothpicks in their place.  After I got done, I simply broke the toothpicks off at the top and the bottom.

When I first thought about doing this project, I googled and many said they used fishing line for restringing. I’m really glad I used the wax string.  I like the way it looks and it was stiff and very easy to work with-threading easily through the holes on the tubes and the wooden top piece.

I used a very long piece of string/thread, working the first four of the tubes to the left, then going to the right with the next four.   Not really sure why, it just seemed to help balance it a little better.



old-wind-chime-restrungYou can see these two tubes are the ones I didn’t sand the pitting off of.  The Krylon Dual Superbond is great paint, but it’s not magic.  The pitting really should have been sanded before I painted them.  I have checked my other wind chimes, and they all have it.  Sad smile  Look how nice the wooden top piece looks after I used the Minwax Finishing Cloths on it.  They really are perfect for a small job like this.


how-to-repair-wind-chimeI hung it in a  tree so I could take pictures of it.  I’ve since moved it back to the porch. I’m anxious to see if the Krylon paint keeps the tubes from pitting again, I hope it will.



Do you love wind chimes like I do?  If you have some that need some TLC, don’t toss them, spruce them up with some paint, stain, and new thread.


disclosure: although Krylon and Minwax supplied me with products, all thoughts, words, opinions and projects are my own.

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A teacher at heart, Gail relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Krylon spray paint and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 400,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
About gail@myrepurposedlife.com


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Donna George says:

    Hey there…..what weight of waxed thread did you use

  2. I found a piece of my lopsided chime under my deck and finally realized what it was and managed to reattach it to the chime. After looking at your pictures, I realized that I am missing the wind catcher. Will have to try to figure out what to use to replace the missing one. Any ideas?

  3. Removing those bushes looks so much better! I am not a fan of wind chimes, but my sister loves them. So when someone gives me one, I re-gift it to her lol Yours looks brand new now!

  4. I am so jealous you got your bushes removed, I have some similar ones in the backyard and I hate them, I am still trying to convince my husband we need to tear them out! The wind chime looks great! It was good to see you used the minwax stain cloths, I have been wanting to try them. Thanks Gail!

  5. Yay! For bushes being removed and for finding another wind chime tube in the bushes! Aren’t the finishing cloths the best? We love using them on projects.

  6. Shirley says:

    We had problem many years ago. My husband was trying to burn in a big steel drum, he picked up a pipe that was laying on the ground to stir the fire. Well there has been mud packed in it and when it heated up it exploded all over his chest. It melted the skin off and we had to take him to the hospital. It was a mess for a long time. So you have to be careful when messing with pipes or tubes with mud packed in them.

    I love the chimes!

    God Bless

  7. YES! I love wind chimes. I need to ‘remake’ mine too. I’ve had some a long time…and love the sound of them–Yours looks great. I must say those wood wipes by Minwax really did an excellent job!
    I like Sue Z’s idea of vaporub in the tubes to prevent future bugs. I have to remember that one.

  8. This is so funny Gail, sometimes I feel like you’re my sister from another mother!
    I LOVE “refreshing” all my chimes – some I’ve had close to 15 years now.
    I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had to replace the string, it’s always the first thing to go.
    The thick waxed cord is the way to go, but yes, I’ve used fishing line also. It holds up much better but the downside to it, is the same one as when you go fishing – it tangles terribly.
    You mentioned mud being inside the tubes, from an insect.
    Oh yes, you are very correct there and please be careful!
    That is from a Mud Dauber – a wasp who uses mud to make it’s “nest”.
    If you encounter that again, fill your sink full of the hottest water you can and let those tubes soak.
    Somehow those Daubers make that stuff hard as cement and it can take awhile to loosen it up enough to get it and the young out of the tube.
    Use a long dowel to push it out of there and if there are any young wasps in there that emerge, make sure to quickly dip them down into the hot water. (sounds cruel I’m sure but so much better than being stung!)
    My first encounter with that, I was unaware of what that rock hard mud was..and had those tubes soaking in my kitchen sink. (every one of them were full of it)
    A few minutes later I walk back in to check on them and my sink was full of wasps, thankfully in the throes of “saying good bye”.
    A good preventitive to that – once the tubes are clean and hanging again – use a bit of Vick’s vaporub or mentholatum at each end of the tubes, inside the tube. The Daubers will avoid it.
    Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils work also.
    Love your refurbish of your chimes! Chimes can soothe the soul on a beautiful breezy day!

  9. Great job—why didn’t you do this sooner?
    I threw away the sad leftovers of a nice old wind chime in May!
    I never thought about “restoring” it! : (

  10. Diane Claassen says:

    I have two of these chimes hanging in the shed. My father made them years ago before he passed away. Was trying to figure out how to restring them and make them look better. Thanks for the idea. I will most likely use silver on the tubes or just shine them up. They are silver colored now.
    Love your ideas!

  11. Oh by the way the little crazy person in my head would have restrung them in size order :):):)

  12. I like how that turned put, for years I thought chimes were annoying but they grew on me and I am slowly amassing a collection. I am considering making one from found objects, camping or kitchen items.

  13. Great save Gail! I actually thought you were going to turn them into something else (my mind just goes there)… I’m so glad you were able to turn them back into pretty wind chimes!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!