Did you know that you can make wind chimes out of elder? Like bamboo, once the pith is removed, the branches are hollow. I first observed this a while back when I harvested elder flowers to make elderflower water. I picked up an elder branch and saw the elder had a soft “wood” in the center. The soft wood is actually called the pith (see curiosities for more), the pith has a styrofoam-like texture that can be removed with a thin metal rod.
Hand pruners or hand saw
Cut elderberry of varying sizes
Thin metal rod (a metal clothes hanger works really well) or sharp skewer
Beading Wire 0.30 mm
Large branch for holding the chimes
Decorative chain 10 x 10 ft.
Eye hooks 1-3/8 in
Step 1: Cut an elder branch into different sized pieces (most of mine were around 6-12 inches long). I cut the elder into nineteen separate pieces in total, I wanted it to be big.
Step 2: Take a metal rod and push it into the pith of the elder, keep pushing it through until the elder piece is hallowed out. Alternatively, you can take a drill and drill through the elder. Most drill pieces are going to be shorter than the elder tube so you will need to flip the stick over and drill through the other end to get it all the way through.
Step 3: Using a drill, create a small hole that goes through horizontally through the top of stick.
Step 4: Cut the beading wire into long strands, thread the strand through the hole in the wind chime tube. Using the beads of your choice thread beads onto each side of the wire. Tie a knot above the beads, it should look like the picture above.
Step 5: After all the wind chime tubes are threaded and strung, it’s time to start on the base. Go outside and find a fallen branch. Give the ends of the branch a clean cut using a hand saw or alternative.
Step 6: Take the drill and make a hole in the ends of the branch. Then take the eye hooks and screw them into the branch.
Step 7: I made the hanger for my wind chime using one container of decorative chain (10 x 10 ft.) you will need to create a separate linking of chain for each eye hook and then attach them at the top. I started by attaching the entire chain to one eye hook, I then pulled the chain apart by placing two plyers on each side of the opening and pulling the chain link open. I attached the chain to the eye hook and closed up the opening in the chain using two plyers. After that I gauged the length I wanted my wind chime (I made my first link of chain roughly 16 links long) and removed the chain from the rest of the chain at my decided point (16th chain link). I then repeated this process until I had three chain links attached to the eye hooks, two of my chains were 16 links long and one was 17 links long because I used the 17th hook to attach all three chains together. I used the 17th chain link to hang the wind chime as well as attach the separate chains. *See picture above for reference.
Step 8: Tie the wind chimes at varying lengths to the base. I found it easiest to attach the chimes while hanging the base at a low spot. The wind chimes should be close enough so when the wind moves them they hit each other.
Step 9: Now it’s time to add the finishing details! Tie bells to some of the long strands of string hanging off the wind chimes. Cut the extra string you did not tie bells to. Secure the wind chimes by adding a dot of glue to the top of the string where the wind chimes are tied to the base. I also added a very small sepia glass bead to the glue spot to make it prettier. After that, hang your wind chime and you are done!
The hollow elder branches make a really nice subdued sound that I find very relaxing.
What is inside a elderberry branch?
Bark- protects the elder from exterior harm
Pholem tissue- part of the elder’s plumbing system, it transports photosynthesized food downwards from the leaves or upwards to growing buds or berries.
Cambium cell layer- produces new bark and new wood in response to hormones that pass down through the phloem tissue. These hormones are called auxins they stimulate growth in cells. Auxins are produced by leaf buds at the ends of elder branches as soon as they begin to grow in spring.
Wood- composed of dead cells that conduct water and dissolved salts upward from the roots.
Pith– soft removable core of the elder; stores food and nutrients.