Whenever I hear a wind chime,  it triggers positive childhood memories of my Dad.  On a trip to the Oregon Coast, we bought one like this for the back deck.

I love these specific wind chimes because they are musically tuned, and soothing. I associate the peaceful tones with hours spent sitting next to my dad on his apartment deck talking to him about my life, and my plans for the future.

I find it irresistible, to walk by a gardening display of wind chimes with out reaching out and engaging their tinkling magic.

Next time you see a wind chime display in a home and garden store, touch them all.  -But not all at once, because then it’s just a racket. Plus, it’s hard to differentiate a good quality chime, and some of them are clangy. Sorry bamboo chimes, but you know it’s true. The person in charge may give you a dirty look, because they think you lack impulse control for a grown-up, and maybe you do, but don’t let that stop you.  In the event of a dirty look, tell them Genealogy Jen encouraged you to touch every wind chime you see to engage your inner child, and proceed with your fun.

A DIY repurposed family tree wind chime may not be musically tuned, but it can add character and whimsy to your outdoor environment.  You can also hang it indoors, because I’m not going to judge your home decor.  It may even be an especially brilliant idea if you have a fan near by to make it chime often.

First, gather your materials. Here’s what I used, but you can be creative.  Art doesn’t have to follow rules.

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Fishing line
  • Metal washers
  • Nuts/ Bolts/ other random metal things you can repurpose
  • Something cool to use for the top part of your chime to hang your line on. (It can be anything. I used the broken bottom of a hummingbird feeder I found at a yard sale last summer.)
  • S hook or wire or some way to hang your chime (I used copper wire I found in the garage.)
  • Optional -Sea glass, stones, or other cool stuff hanging out in your junk drawer
  • Optional – Old or broken wind chime
  • OptionalMetal stamping kit, rubber mallet or metal stamping hammer and stamping block

Second, Test all of your materials for sound.  This is the fun part. Listen for a tone that’s pleasant to you. Unless, you like clangy wind chimes, then this step doesn’t matter at all.

Third,  Metal stamp the washers with the names of family members, birth dates and anniversaries. (You can use dark shoe polish to make the stamped letters stand out.)

Metal stamped washer for DIY family tree wind chime - mini tutorial on www.repurposedgenealogy.com

Next,  Attach your washers and other elements. I used fishing line from a broken pole.


Important Tip -It is important to have something well balanced. Unless it’s a person. Balance in people is over rated. A tad off kilter is what makes people interesting , right? Plus, your chime dangler needs to catch the wind and the clanger to move the chimes.

You don’t want anything too heavy , or else you’ll have to wait for hurricane force winds to enjoy the sounds. Maybe you live somewhere tropical with palm trees and hurricanes. If that’s the case, don’t worry about the wind chime, worry about the hurricanes.

I chose to repurpose a mason jar canning lid, after we finished a scrumptious jar of my homemade blueberry peach jam. I added an oxidized square bolt to the dangler line for weight.

Please Note – You may have to adjust the lengths of your fishing line to get get the look and sound you want.  It’s easier to do this by hanging it up within arm length so the parts don’t get tangled up.  Not that this happened to me twice or anything.

There are tons of options for a project like this, and think it would make a great gift. I made this with the kids as a DIY holiday gift for my husband. I love giving personalized and homemade gifts. 1. They are usually budget friendly. 2. It is hard for someone to re-gift what you give them or redeem it for store credit. 3. It takes quality time, and that’s one of my love languages.

I repurposed all the random keys I’ve saved to make another wind chime last summer.
It includes a full set of keys that I found in the spring snow- melt next to the lake. I spray painted them navy blue. If I have your keys, I’m sorry.

In my defense,  I asked the receptionist lady at the police station what to do with the keys. She said that if I really, really, really wanted, I could turn them in, but they probably wouldn’t be claimed since keys usually aren’t.  Apparently, people usually have new keys made if they loose the old ones.

If you are reading this post, and you’re still stranded here a year later, because you couldn’t find your keys to drive home, I’ll gladly dismantle the key wind chime and give you the keys that are yours. In all honesty, it may be tricky to tell which keys belonged to you, because they are all navy blue now. Also, you can feel a bit of karmic vindication. My husband’s keys went missing in November, and we’ve been inconveniently sharing a set since then. I’ll probably need to inspect neighborhood DIY wind chimes from now on.

Right now,  it’s January, and you typically don’t associate wind chimes with winter. I needed something to remind me that the 6 ft+ of snow will eventually melt and spring will come.  I thought you might, too.  Unless you live in the desert where it’s crazy hot all the time.

I would love to see your version of a DIY family tree wind chime.

Send me a picture of your  wind chime.  I’ll update my post, and link it to your blog or give you a shout out for your mad, repurposed crafting skills.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  Basically, if you clink the links and buy stuff, I might get a few cents.  


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