Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tea Cup Rain Chain - Iron Craft #11

Our Iron Craft challenge was to create something dealing with rain, clouds, etc. I was intrigued by the idea of rain chains - alternatives to downspouts which "make a water feature out of the transport of rainwater from the guttering downwards to a drain or to a storage container." Wikipedia

I wanted to make a rain chain out of little tea cups, so I headed to the thrift store. It's a great place to shop for craft supplies. Here's some of the pretty little cups I found, only 75 cents each.

Other supplies for this project included some chain (I used white plastic chain), some 14-guage wire to wire the cups onto the chain, and some wire cutters.

Since I needed to drill a hole in the bottom of each cup, I picked up a masonry drill bit. I assumed that since it was strong enough to drill through cement, it would surely be strong enough for porcelain and ceramic. However, after trying to drill a hole for at least 15 minutes, and making little more than a dimple in the surface of the cup, I realized I needed something stronger.

So don't use a masonry bit to drill in tea cups.

Instead, I found a diamond-tip drill bit that is specifically for use on ceramic, porcelain, and glass. I guess I should have believed all those web sites I checked out when they said you had to use the diamond-tip. They know what they're talking about!

This video shows how to drill a hole in the bottom of a ceramic pot, and I used this technique to drill a 1/4-inch hole in the bottom of each tea cup. Some took longer than others. It depended on the thickness of the cup, as well as the strength of the porcelain or ceramic.

Then I cut the chain into segments of about 10 inches each. Similar to this video, I attached the cups to the sections of chain, only I used the 14-guage wire instead of fishing line.

And here is my finished rain chain! I love how it turned out, so dainty and pretty.

Due to some problems with our gutter, I haven't actually installed the rain chain yet. I took these pictures with the chain just hanging off a loose gutter nail. Once we get the gutters fixed, the chain will hang where the downspout currently is.

I want the water to drain into a large container, so that we can collect the rain water and use it to water our vegetable garden. So I bought this large planter, which I'll place directly under the rain chain as soon as we get it properly hung.

There were five of these lovely cups at the thrift store. I was thrilled. Unfortunately, they took the longest to drill through, so by the time I was done, I was quite a bit less thrilled with these cups! But now that I'm done, I can love them again.

  And thus concludes this installment of the tale of the dainty rain chain. I will post about it again once it is properly installed. :) 

Linked to:
Think Tank Thursday at Joyful Homemaking
Project Inspire{d} at Dukes and Duchesses 


Marie Danes said...

This is so cool! I love how efficient is it, so you can use the water for your garden :)


Abbie Stratton said...

Very cool! The variety of cups is charming!

playsculptlive said...

What a wonderful idea! I'd love to see it work!

Randi~Dukes and Duchesses said...

I've never heard of a rain chain before ... what a neat idea. Your teacup chain is so fun! Thanks for sharing at Project Inspire{d}!