There are several different approaches to making a beer can wind chime. Beer connoisseurs who want to make a bold statement can leave the cans intact and let them bounce off each another in the wind. Crafters who want to display their upcyling skills may want to cut apart the cans, run the aluminum sheets through a die-cutting machine and create decorative shapes such as diamonds and butterflies.
Materials You'll Need
- Empty beer cans
- Fishing line
- Hanging hooks
- Thin branches
- Wooden board, 12 inches by 4 inches by 1 inch
- Sharp scissors or metal cutting snips
- Handheld hole punch or nail
- Large washers or other weights
Making the Base
The wind chime's base helps define the overall appearance. Designers opting for a "workshop" style can take a piece of wood (12 inches by 4 inches by 1 inch), drill a small hole for each of the cans and then screw in hanging hooks. When finished, each of the cans will dangle in a row. If you want a more rustic-style, find three small branches of equal length and diameter and lay them across each other to create a six-pointed "star" shape. As a result, the "tines" will hang in circle.
Even something as simple as a wire hanger will work in a pinch. A plastic lid can work as long as twine or a thicker rope is used in place of the fishing twine to hang the beer cans. It will be necessary to cut small holes in the lid to thread the twine through.
Creating Aluminum Tines
If you plan to let the beer cans hang intact, you can skip this step. To create shapes out of the aluminum, put on your gloves and take a pair of sharp scissors or metal cutters and jab a hole underneath the top of the can big enough to get one of the blades through. Cut underneath the top lip of the can until the lid pops off.
Snip a straight line from the top to the bottom of the can and then cut around the bottom of the can until it separates from the body. Trim the edges and it should be possible to flatten out the aluminum into a sheet. Once all of the cans are sheets, cut the aluminum into strips or run them through a die-cutting machine to create circles, flowers and other shapes.
Hanging the Tines
Using scissors, cut a 1-foot strand of fishing line for each of the beer cans or aluminum pieces. If you’re planning to use only beer cans, tie a double knot with the fishing line around each of the can's tabs and with the other end tie a double knot around the hook or branches of the base. If using aluminum pieces, make holes at the top and bottom of each piece using a hole punch or nail.
Wrap one end of the fishing line around the washer three times and then make a square knot to secure it. The washer will weigh down the tine when the wind blows. Thread the fishing line through the two holes in each piece and then attach it to the hook or branch with a double knot. Once all of the pieces have been attached the top, hang the wind chime from a hook attached to a porch ceiling, deck railing or area of your choosing.
Make sure each of the pieces tap against each other in the wind. It may be necessary to adjust the placement by moving where the fishing line attaches to the wind chime's base.
Neil Gladstone's writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and Popular Mechanics. He's also the co-founder of the DIY community CraftFoxes and The Craftys, awards for makers and crafters.