Make Recycled-Glass Wind Chimes

You can use readily available glass bottles, a bottle cutter, and a kiln to make glass wind chimes.

| March/April 1980

Six years ago, when I was first trying to earn a living as a potter in New England, I ran up against an almost insurmountable problem: It seems many other talented people had also decided to make careers in ceramics, and the competition was fierce! Indeed, I spent more time selling my wares than making them . . . and barely broke even at that! I soon started to wonder if my secondhand electric kiln had been a good investment after all.

Then, almost accidentally, I "discovered" a product so unusual that I had absolutely no competition to contend with. The success story began when a friend offered me a bottle cutter for which she had no use. I almost turned her gift down, but luckily I recalled reading about a craftsperson who had—with the help of a kiln—made glass wind chimes from bottles . . . so I decided to experiment.

A Surprising Success

It took a while to figure out the process, but I was soon able to produce the melody-makers at an astonishingly rapid rate. Better still, my raw material could be found littering any roadside, beach, or picnic area . . . so I knew I'd be able to offer my goods at attractively low prices.

The shiny, translucent, colorful chimes were beautiful, too . . . and the clear, melodic ring they made as they struck each other was delightful! I didn't know, however, whether a market existed for the products. There was, of course, only one way to find out: I made 50 of the pretty breeze bells in various sizes ... priced them from $5.00 to $15 . . . and took them to a fair. There, I put up a display and a sign that read "Recycled Wind Chimes", and—though the festival was a two-day event—I was sold out by the end of the first day! It seems people were particularly attracted by the fact that my handiwork was made from what would otherwise have been unsightly trash.

Greatly encouraged, I made the rounds of local craft stores and discovered that the chimes could also sell very well in the wholesale market. Indeed, my product would just about market itself! 

At first, I had to work five days a week to bring in $100 in profits (it took me four days to make the chimes and one day to sell them). Now, however, I deal exclusively wholesale, and my markets are so well established that I don't have to sell at all ... I just fill orders. Therefore, I have to work only four days a week for my $100, which leaves plenty of time for other crafts, including my pottery.
5/22/2018 10:55:28 PM

I use the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own DIY projects – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha. Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)

C Walker
6/26/2011 3:56:37 PM


9/22/2009 1:28:06 PM

We make lanterns out of recycled wine bottles and want to make wind chimes out of the bottoms. I ordered a kiln and was told that I would need a lid lifers. The instructions from Judy says not to open the lid until the kiln is cooled. Any thoughts or suggestios?

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