When I visit other countries, I’m always fascinated by some of the simplest differences in even the most mundane things. A perfect example: rain chains. My husband and I visited Japan last Fall, and I noticed these beautiful copper chains — often with a series of cups — hanging from the gutters of homes and even temples. I assumed they were purely decorative, but in fact, they replace downspouts and harness the flow of rain water in such a simple, calming way. What a beautiful concept, no? What’s even better is that a simple rain chain is a super easy DIY, and adding a little custom color is only marginally more work — and well worth it. —Mandy Pellegrin
10 mini terracotta pots
blue, black, and white paint
8′ of large chain
10 small chain links (small enough to fit through the hole in the bottom of the pots)
2 sets of pliers
1. Mix up four or more shades of blue by adding a small amount of black to the blue paint for the darkest shade and varying amounts of white for the lighter shades.
2. Give each of of the mini terracotta pots a couple of coats of one of the shades of blue. With four shades, I painted three pots in the lightest shade, two pots in each of the two middle shades, and three pots in the darkest shade.
3. Divide the large chain into 11 equal lengths. To separate a chain link, grip a set of pliers on either side of the link’s opening. Rotate your wrists in opposite directions to push one end of the link away from you and the other end towards you. Separate the ends just enough to slip an adjoining link off. If you’ve ever done any jewelry-making, it’s the same technique with just a little more elbow grease. You will use this same technique to detach the 10 small chain links you’ll need to assemble the rain chain.
4. Assemble the chain by slipping one one small chain link through the hole in the bottom of each pot and attaching a length of the large chain on either end of each small link. Close each link by reversing the technique used to open them. Hang your completed rain chain wherever it will get a decent amount of rain during the next storm, and enjoy!