Tips for Making a Copper Rain Chain

Many homeowners use a copper rain chain to facilitate proper outdoor drainage. It is both a decorative and practical feature that makes a good alternative to a gutter downspout. The chain channels water from the gutters into a rain barrel which you empty and clean periodically. It isn’t difficult to make one of these chains. All it takes are a few easily obtainable materials and some patience. Some tips are given below.

PVC Pipe

This helps you to create the chain with ease. It also enables you to create loops of the same size more efficiently. You need to select a pipe whose width will give you the desired chain link size. A width of 2 to 3 inches is usually suitable. Once you’ve wound the entire length of copper tubing around the pipe, you can slide it off the pipe. Use a rotary cutting tool to snip through the coils along a straight line. For accuracy, it is best to draw a straight line with a felt tip marker along the entire length of coiled tubing. Cut through the markings on each of the loops. This gives you several loops which you can easily link together to form your chain.

Copper Tubing

It is best to use ¼ inch tubing for your rain chain. This is a good width to go around a pipe of 2 to 3 inches width. Be sure to get soft tubing as it makes it easier to wind around the pipe as well as cut through the loops. Before you begin to wind the tubing round the pipe, it is best to cut off a 12-inch piece and place this aside. You’ll insert this piece through a hole in the gutter to support the completed chain.

Forming the Chain Link

Drill a small hole, about ½ an inch, at one end of the pipe. Insert one end of the copper tubing into the hole and knot it. Wind the tubing around the pipe to create coils of even size. Do not overlap the loops. It is a good idea to pull the copper wire tightly as you wind it around the pipe. This helps to prevent kinks on your chain. Place the coils closely together as you wind so that you have even spacing between the individual coils. This enhances the visual appeal of the chain. You can tighten the loops further if you give them a slight twist once you slide them off the pipe. Try not to rush through the chain link formation if you want to end up with uniform chain links.


It is best to solder one ring at a time. Use a blow torch to solder the rings of tubing. First solder the ends of one ring. Insert an open ring into the closed one and solder the latter. Continue in this manner until you get a long copper chain. Wear heavy duty gloves to protect you from the heat as copper is an excellent conductor of heat.