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Steampunk Wind Chime



The winds of change have come here in cold Minnesota, and spring is just starting to peek out. Nothing like fresh breezes and spring buds to make you want to throw open your window and enjoy the fresh air. To celebrate, I thought I’d make a wind chime in honor of the new warm winds, but in typically offbeat UT fashion, I thought I’d put a spin on it and make it a little bit steampunk! Yup, this little wind chime is basically a mix of all my favorite things: embroidery supplies, vintage bits and bobs, lace, and gears. Plus it makes a gorgeous wind chime when it’s done!


To make your steampunk wind chime, you’ll need:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Organza or other sheer fabric
  • Water soluble stabilizer (we’re using Sulky Ultra Solvy)
  • Awesome lace locket and key designs
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Jump rings (small metal jewelry rings)
  • Jewelry pliers
  • Small chains
  • Scissors
  • Metal keys, gears, and other jangly doodads

 

So, what of these doodads? Well, this is where the fun, customizable part comes in. These small metal objects can really be anything metal you can put on a chain, from found objects to old family trinkets. Keys especially are fun to find at old thrift or antique stores.

To be extra steampunky, you’ll also want some gears, and I’m actually using some scrapbooking gears we tried out before on our steampunk mask. I found them in the scrapbook and stamp section at my local Michaels, along with the keys and the pearls. Truthfully, finding old metal keys and gears is probably cheaper (and more authentic), but if you’re stuck, go raid your local craft store. Just make sure you get good ones! These ones are actually metal and so they make a great noise, but plastic ones won’t be much help on a wind chime.

We’re going to assemble all these pieces into little hanging chains that can clink together delightfully in the wind. Start by grabbing a key and a jump ring (those small metal circles). Use your pliers to bend it open and loop it into the top of the key, along with a length of chain.


 

Close your ring up and you have one little piece of your wind chime! The process is essentially that easy. You’ll just use your jump rings to create long metal decorative chains.


Get even more creative by adding gears and such along the length of your chain. Use the jump rings to attach them through their spokes. You can also attach them directly to a pearl or other heavy object at the end of your chain.


Now that we’ve got the idea, let’s take a quick sec to whip up our lace. You can keep creating chains while you wait for your lace to stitch. You’re going to want to stitch your lace in two different ways here...


 

The first is your big lace locket. You’re going to hoop this with your water soluble stabilizer and some organza on top. Yup, we’re going to stitch the lace directly on the organza! It will be the top of our wind chime.

We’re also going to stitch up a couple of freestanding lace keys. Hoop up more water soluble stabilizer and stitch these as you would any lace. Need a quick reminder on how to stitch lace? Click here.

Once your lace is done stitching, carefully cut away any excess stabilizer and set your lace in some water to soak, according to your stabilizer package directions.


 

While your stabilizer is soaking, keep merrily making more dangling chains. In general, these can be anywhere from 9 inches to a foot or more long, and note that we’ll lose about an inch on each chain when we attach it. We’re going to want to make around 12 in total, but you’ll want to save 4 chains and accessories for your lace keys, so don’t use up everything!


Once your lace keys are dry, you can add them to the bottom of your chains like the rest of your keys. To let them blow in the wind like all the other keys, give them a gear or other heavy ornament so the lace has a bit of weight. You can easily feed the jump rings through the lace stitches to pretty much decorate it any way you like.


 

When your floating lace locket is dry, we’ll want to hoop it! Not for stitching this time, just for decoration. Center your locket design inside your wood embroidery hoop, and hoop it up tight. Once it’s in there, gently tug at the edges to smooth it out, then use your jewelry pliers to tighten your hoop as tight as it will go. We don’t want this piece to be able to move or shift as we’re working on it.


Once it’s tightly hooped and not moving, turn it over and snip off the excess fabric right at the edge of the hoop.


 

To give our hoop and embroidery an extra steampunky vibe, grab your spray paint.

Cover the wood of your hoop with a nice coating of metallic paint, to make it look a little more steampunk-appropriate. It’s ok if some spray paint gets onto the organza, for the most part it will just create a nice shaded effect. You can even directly spray your lace to give it a bit more of a metallic look.

Let your hoop and lace dry.


Once it’s dry, you’ll find your light coating of spray paint has kind of acted like a fabric stiffener. This will make it easier to work with for this next step...

Grab your scissors or a needle and poke a very small hole near the edge of your hoop. When poking holes, try to imagine your hoop like a clock. Poke a hole at either the 3, 6, 9, or 12 position to start (basically, the top, bottom or sides).

Feed the edge of one of your decorated chains through the hole.


 

Loop the piece of chain around the hoop, and connect it to itself using a jump ring, trying to keep the loop as tight as possible.

Continue poking holes and adding your chains. To make one like mine, add a chain at each position of the clock, evenly spacing out all 12 chains.


You’ll also want to keep two long lengths of chain for hanging, at least a foot long each.


 

When all your chains are secured, attach one of your hanging chains at the 3 and 9 position, and the other at the 6 and 12, basically crossing over your wind chime to create a place to hang it from. You can add another clasp at the top or just tie it on to whatever you wish to hang it on.


Your wind chime has shaped up in no time! A beautiful mix of antique styling, embroidery goodness, and a little steampunk for good measure.


 

Your little keys and ornaments look gorgeous just hanging, with lace keys mixed in with metal, pearls and gears. Add found objects or trinkets of yours to add not only beauty, but its own history.


A floating locket up top ties together the theme of all your keys, and will let the sun shine through beautifully on sunny days.


 

Shall we see just how pretty it looks in sunlight? Let’s take it outside, where spring is just starting to peek out.


The keys and charms make a beautiful and delicate chime, not too loud and just perfect for adding ambiance to an otherwise delightful spring day. Let your history and your interests sparkle in the sun in delightfully steampunky fashion, and welcome spring your way.


Wind chimes are fun to make out of just about any metal stuff you've got lying around. Check out Butternugget's teapot wind chime, a delicious whisk and spoons wind chime by Fish Heads and Rice, a hard drive wind chime created by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, and an innovative wind chime made of glass bottles by Inspired Design Daily. Happy crafting!


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