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Materials Used in Wind Chimes

Wind chimes can be made from practically any hard substance.  Each type of material produces a distinctive sound, from a flat percussive sound to melodic tinkling. 

Personalized Gifts: Small Wind Chimes

Wind chimes have four essential components:

  • A support.  This can be a wooden circle or an aluminum bar.  It can be—and often is—highly decorative.  Pagoda and dragon shapes are examples of decorative supports.  The support is not involved in making sound.  Its function is to hold the bells and the clapper.  The support can be made of anything from a plastic circle to a gold sculpture.
  • Bells.  The bells are usually tubular structures that make music when the clapper hits them (or when they hit each other).  The tone and pitch of each bell is determined by what it is made out of, its length, and how thick the walls are.  Bells may be hollow with thin walls, or they may be solid.  Bells can be made from rocks, nuts and bolts, precious metals, wood and many other materials.  Bamboo is commonly used.  Glass is sometimes used, but there is a danger of breakage if the wind gets too aggressive.
  • The clapper.  The clapper sits between the bells and hits them when the wind moves.  That’s what makes the music.  Clappers can be made from all the kinds of materials that bells are made from.
  • Wire or string or something to hold the structure together.  This can be anything that is durable and (if the windchime is hung outside) weather resistant.

Because you can make wind chimes from so many materials, there is a huge variety of windchime styles available.  You can purchase solid gold pagoda wind chimes from China, or you can get tuned aluminum tubular wind chimes from a local flea market.  You can make your own wind chimes by hanging old utensils from a wooden circle and using a fishing weight for a clapper. 

Wind chimes made from metal or wood and with hollow bells produce the most musical sounds.  The bells can be tuned to a specific scale by making adjusting the length of each bell.  You can purchase these beautifully crafted, perfectly tuned wind chimes, or you can find directions for making your own on the internet.

Whether you make your own or purchase them, you will find beautiful wind chimes made from many different materials.