How to Refurbish Wind Chimes

Restore and Repair Old Wind Chimes

Rusted chime bells
Susan Thompson Photography/Moment Open/Getty Images

Outdoor elements and time can wear down, rust and fade wind chimes. Instead of letting go of your old wind chimes, restore them back to life. You can not only replace broken parts but also paint them and add additional decorations, such as charms or colorful beads, to make your wind chime beautiful again and to accentuate and add character to your patio or garden.

Repair or Replace Strings or Cords

Some wind chimes are not necessarily created to withstand nature's elements or are made with cheap, non-durable materials.

If the string or cord holding your wind chime together starts to fray or break, repair or replace it before your wind chime comes completely undone and you lose any tubes, charms or any other parts of your wind chime.

  • If you don't have the supplies or the time to replace the entire string or cord, temporarily patch the frayed or severed section with clear masking or packing tape. This repair will not withstand excessive water, sun or snow exposure, but will keep the wind chime together for a few days (depending on the amount and level of sun or water exposure).
  • Replace broken strands with heavy, duty, water resistant string or cord, such as monofilament or one made of nylon material. Keep in mind the size and diameter of the original string or cord and the holes in the tubes in which the string or cord has to fit through. To replace all the string or cords keeping your wind chime together, gently remove each strand from the suspension ring at the top of the wind chime. Be careful not to cut any non-damaged strands.

    Before taking apart your wind chime, make sure you know how the wind chime is constructed. Either draw a diagram or take a picture of the original wind chime with a digital camera or your cell phone to have a visual reference to go back to when putting the wind chime back together. Try to get close-ups as much as possible, especially of the top portion where all of the strands meet.

    Restore or Paint Tubes

    The tubing portion of the wind chime (the part that creates the music) can rust if it's made of metal or fade and crack if it's made of bamboo or other wood.

    • Bamboo and other wooden wind chimes can be sanded and stained to restore back to its natural beauty. Add a coat of paint (or multiple coats of different colored paint) to give it a new look that will stand out in your garden or on a patio. Want to add an extra layer of protection? Apply a coat of clear, UV protectant or outdoor coating to help the color last longer and keep it protected from the elements.
    • Various metal chimes can rust from excessive exposure to water and snow. Remove rust with vinegar, steel wool and/or a rust remover kit to get your wind chime sparkling again.

    Add or Replace Decorations

    Decoratives attached to wind chimes can fade over time in the sun or fall off and get lost in the wind. Instead of trying to restore these small decorative accents, replace them with your choice of beads or charms. Look for sparkly and colorful accents to easily add to your wind chime. These can be charms or beads found in the jewelry supply section of a craft store or pieces from costume jewelry sitting in your jewelry box.

    For easy assembly, look for decoratives that are already pre-cut to fit through the string or cord on your wind chime.