Do you have a broken wind chime? Maybe it's a really special wind chime and you don't want to throw it out. I'm going to show you how to repair and refresh your broken wind chimes.
Can You Spray Paint Broken Wind Chimes?
Yes, you can! I posted this picture on facebook as a “teaser” to ask what people thought I was working on. I admit it is sort of misleading.
Locate Broken Wind Chime Parts
But 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.
These 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 Chime
Here you can see the old, broken wind chime. You can also see the area where the stump was removed.
You can see that only ½ of the tubes are still on the broken 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.
I 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.
Spray Paint Tubes
So, 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.
Plan 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.
After spraying each of the tubes, I placed them into this plastic milk crate so they could dry.
Stain & Refresh Faded Wood
While the tubes were drying, I got busy freshening up the top piece, clapper, and wind catcher with some Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths in Walnut .
What Kind of String do I Use to Repair Broken Wind Chimes?
This is the waxed thread I used for stringing my wind chimes. I like the way the description 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.
Tips For Restringing
I 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.
You 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. 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.
I 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.
Wind Chime Makeover Paint & More
I recently had to replace the "feather" on my chimes. I found that a few CDs stuck together made a good one and allowed me to find a use for no-longer-needed CDs.
Also, I placed the CDs shiny side out and so they're a lovely sun catcher, reflecting brilliant colors in the sun.
genius idea Janet, to use the cd's. Thanks for sharing with us.
I like your detailed description of what you did, and the recommendation of the waxed string instead of fishing line. However, what do you recommend if the wooden pieces are broken and need to be replaced? The top piece, the middle one, and the wind catcher. Thanks for your help!
I would recommend you finding blocks of wood at the store to replace the broken pieces. I did that here: https://www.myrepurposedlife.com/wind-chime-makeover/
Hope this helps!
Your windchime looks great, Gail - sometimes I'm amazed at the things you attempt.
I know many of the tube windchimes are tuned - mine has a beautiful deep sound - how does yours sound now?
I'm not sure it sounds the same, but at least it makes a pretty sound since all the tubes are replaced. 🙂
I love, love, love my windchimes.
The bushes you had removed look nice when they are young. They needed trimmed every year to keep them small. I agree with you. When they too big and older it’s time for them to go.. Their removal really opens up your yard nicely.
I have a wind chime that is intact but it doesn't have a wind catcher beaneath the clapper. Could you please advise on what to use as a wind catcher and how to attach to the existing clapper. Thank you.
You can see how I did a new wind catcher on another wind chime here: https://www.myrepurposedlife.com/wind-chime-makeover/
You might try some sort of lid, maybe from a pickle jar or something similar? You would need to drill a hole and attach it to the clapper with some sort of line, maybe fishing line?
I hope you get it figured out, I hate to know there's a wind chime out there not working. 😉
My wind chimes literally fell apart a friend said he would fix them. He used chain with about 6 inches from top to round disk then 8 inches from tube to top o disk with wooden disk and hanging wooden thing that should blow in the wind. However they don't chime I can't figure if the wooden thing at the bottom is too heavy or the chains should have been waxed cord but it looks nice but no chimes what can I do. the man took apart and never took pictures I know the chains weren't that long.
I think you need cord instead of chains. While working on mine I looked at my other chimes and sort of mimicked how they looked. Wishing you lots of luck Christina!
Gail, you can actually see your house now and it looks great! Can't wait to see what you use to landscape in the future!
Oh my! I just keep working on the landscape and outdoor space. As a homeowner, it's a never ending challenge. I love, love, love my white picket fence, but it needs a new coat of paint on the longest section. I'll never stop trying!!!
thank you Tricia!
Did painting the chimes change the tone? I have not had good luck doing this in the past, it change the tone from a beautiful sound to a tinny clank.
No, I didn't notice it changing it at all. Did you use spray paint?
J. G. Douglas
Is there a pattern in restringing wind chimes? The chimes fell off and I have no idea how to restring them.
I think the string just goes from hole to hole, but I have no idea about the rods. I'm sure there is a pattern to them. I didn't follow any particular order when I put mine back on. It still sound pretty. 😉
I just read your blog on the windchimes. What size ifvwaxed cord did you use? Also, was it waxed poly or cotton?
This is what I used . . . Maine Thread - .050" Black Waxed Polycord. 210 feet each.
I have a link under the picture so you can purchase it on Amazon if you'd like.
If you want some really BIG chimes you can make them from any metal pipe, the bigger around the deeper the sound. You can ask for scraps of tubing, hit them with something and if you like the sound you use that. Most places will give you the scrap tubing for free. You may need wire for the "strings" and a sturdy piece of wood to hang them on.
I have a set of wind chimes that were knocked down. I got them working again but had to cut the cord a little and tie the flapper up a little bit. They are about 12 yrs old now and the flapper is metal. The clapper is wood and very light now. Is there a particular length of string for the flapper, the distance from the clapper to it or to the lowest chime? It seems we get some good winds sometimes and I don't hear them. I wonder if the flapper distance needs to be longer.
I'm sorry Gary, I don't have the particulars on lengths of strings for wind chimes. I was able to replicate what my original sizes were. Wishing you lots of luck getting your wind chimes up and running again.
I was so HAPPY to find your article about "restoring" Woodstock style wind chimes! I have 2 sets of these style of wind chimes and are in need of restoring. They had been hanging from my porch rails, but they didn't stay up very long because the strings had been damaged by weather & sun elements. One day while cleaning my dining room, I came across these wind chimes [where I had put them] and decided to wash them up and try to "restring" them. I know one of the smaller round disks [clapper, maybe?] needs to be replaced, which I'll look for at one of the hobby or home improvement stores. For now, until I can get all the materials that I saw in your post, they're stored in plastic bags inside my shed. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep them once they're restored, since they're quite loud. I live in a mobile home park & didn't realize these wind chimes were so noisy until a neighbor complained about the noise. I might add that I didn't buy these wind chimes - another person did. I have a long time friend that lives in Oregon [also in a mobile home park] and he liked them when he saw the pieces needing to be reassembled. I told him "there yours when I get them fixed!"
I have a question - I have smaller wind chimes that are in the same condition. Would the same process of "restringing" these be done the same way as restringing the "Woodstock" wind chimes? These smaller wind chimes that I have, will be hung around my front porch when restoring is complete. At least with these smaller wind chimes, they won't be so noisy!
P.S. I just signed up to start receiving your newsletter. Can't wait to see what kind of projects are in your newsletter!!
Welcome to My Repurposed Life! I'm happy you have found my little corner of the world. I would think most wind chimes are strung the same way. If you need to disassemble the smaller wind chimes, take pictures of how they are strung. I have many sets of wind chimes and I find the "noise" quite soothing. 🙂 I have small ones, large ones and some in between. They don't last forever, and I never like to discard something I can refresh or renew. You sound like you're a lot like me.
Have fun with your project!
I have lost my windcatcher to my wind chime and wonder what to replace with. Also the cord used to attach the wind catcher has been broken and retied until it is too short now. I can use your guide to restring but where do I get the parts I need? Thank you for your help.
You may be able to find one online if you google it. Or maybe you could visit a local craft or hobby store and pick up some small piece of wood in their hobby wood dept.
I'm sure a lot of people are in need of replacement parts, so there has to be an option. 🙂
I was gifted a beautiful chime, but with our last storm it fell :(.......I'm trying to find the last piece for its repair which is the small nail that attaches the line to the wood. Is it an upholstery nail?? I can't find a match to safe my sanity
I think I would use something like a carpet tack.
I hope this helps!
Hi Gail: Thank you for the helpful info. What thickness of waxed cord did you use? I know you say as thick as a dime, but the thicknesses on their website run from .020 - .050 inches. I don't want to order too thick and not be able to run through the holes on the windchime. Thank you
The thickness is .050. I have updated the post to reflect a new link to Amazon. I hope this helps you find the right thread.
Thank you, Gail, for your prompt reply!
Gail...you are truly an inspiration...I have three sets to restore, I've ordered the thread but gonna need someone to make me a new top for two of them...I also recently found some large GLASS coasters at PIer one that I am using to the windcatcher...I will offer this up...Normally when I buy a new one, haven't in years but I sprayed the entire thing with clear varnish...It has kept them lasting so much longer, the ones I'm fixing were never sprayed...
Thanks so much for your guidance!
I'm happy you found this tutorial helpful. I have a set I need to redo as well.
I have some plastic strawberries that were made into wind chimes but they have lost color after just being on the porch and not even in the hot sun. Is there anyway to get the red back into the plastic strawberries so they look alive instead of looking anemic?
I love rub-n-buff, but I'm not sure if it comes in red. It is the easiest way to add color to anything.
I love the idea of re-doing the wind chimes! And love the new look of the yard!
Now for the question, What did you use the toothpicks for??? I see them in the picture but don't understand what they are for. I have a shovel wind chime, brother in law made it years ago, he used an old shovel head and drilled holes in it then used fishing line to hang the tubes(pipes). I have tried to re-string it but not much luck with it yet. Going to try again now that I have seen how you did yours. Mostly knowing that I need to "hang" it then tie the fishing line. When I tried it before I had it laying on the table. Didn't work very well. Haha.
"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."
You should see the yard NOW, https://www.myrepurposedlife.com/category/home-repair/picket-fence-home-repair/ It's so pretty!
good luck with your shovel wind chime. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.
I need my windchimes reparied, can you repair them?
No, I'm sorry, I do not repair wind chimes. Please read the tutorial and try to fix them yourself.
My clapper broke in half. It was made of wood, where can I
find another piece like that?
Do you still have the clapper? If so, you can ask a family member or friend to cut you another piece the same shape. OR you could trying gluing it back together with some Gorilla Glue.
If neither of those is an option, try to find a wooden disk at your local craft store in their Hobby Wood dept.
Hey there.....what weight of waxed thread did you use
Please see this link- http://www.thethreadexchange.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=TTE&Category_Code=WAX415
I really don't know more than that.
I have some more wind chimes I need to do this spring.
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?
I would use a scrap piece of wood, or maybe even a soup lid or something of that sort?
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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! : (
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!
Oh by the way the little crazy person in my head would have restrung them in size order :):):)
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.
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!