How to Make Japanese Wind Chimes

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Things You'll Need

  • Dome-shaped bell (glass, metal or clay)

  • Satin or cotton cord

  • Metal or wooden rod (length depends on the size of the bell)

  • Drill

  • 3-inch paper strip

Japanese wind chimes are a popular image in anime, which is how many Americans have come to be familiar with them. Known collectively as "furin" (literally translated as "wind bell") they bear a slight resemblance to a Western bell, but are different in both form and function. A paper strip hangs below the bell to better catch the passing breeze. Temples and shrines will often place furin at the four corners of the property to ward off evil spirits.


Step 1

Drill a small hole in the top of the bell, large enough to accommodate the cord you'll be slipping through it. The hole can be any size so long as the cord won't slip through when it's tied—the standard size is approximately 4 millimeters in diameter, which requires at least a 21-gauge drill bit. This is an easy task for metal bells, but take extra care with clay and glass bells. A regular drill applied with gentle pressure from a slight angle should help prevent a clay bell from crumbling. Use a drill with a diamond tip for a glass bell and apply slow and steady pressure to keep the drill from sliding across the surface.

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Step 2

Attach the wooden or metal rod to the cord. This can be accomplished either by drilling a small hole (the size will depend on the cylinder's diameter) in one end of the rod and slipping the cord through, or—if the rod is hollow—sliding the cord all the way through it and tying a knot at the end. Whichever method you choose, leave adequate space underneath to attach the paper strip.


Step 3

Insert the other end of the cord through the hole in the bell, tying a knot at the top so it won't slip through. The rod should hang just below the bottom portion of the bell, approximately ½ inch.

Step 4

Attach the paper slip to the very end of the cord. The strip should have a hole punched out at the top to make this process simple. Some people like to write a prayer on, or otherwise decorate, the strip; however, this isn't a necessary addition.


Purchase the dome-shaped bell that will become the top of the furin, as well as the rod that will act as the furin's “clapper”—the part that actually sounds the bell. There's no standard size or shape of a furin, so as long as it's bell-shaped, you won't have any issues. Most furin bells are either made from glass, metal or clay.

The rod should be slender and cylindrical in shape, with a length that will extend just below the shape of the bell when inserted. Most rods are wooden or metal, though glass is occasionally used.


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