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rain bells


By Cathy

United Kingdom Gb

hi, does anyone know where to get rain bells from? ISome charities used to sell them but no longer. Any suggestions really appreciated, been looking 2 months now



What are rain bells?

14 Sep, 2008


Hmm - Mencap and the Alzheimers Society used to sell them but apparently no more! I had a quick look and nothing listed on eBay either, which surprises me! Sorry can't help more ...

14 Sep, 2008


A rain bell is an upturned bell, usually slightly flattened into a bit more of a saucer shape, that sits on the top of a slightly springy metal "stem". A group of three or five (why not four?) of slightly different sizes bound together like a bunch of flowers will, when it rains, fill with water and then empty out because the centre of gravity has moved the springy stem. As the water cascades out so the stem moves back into place and bangs the bell against the others making a melodic sound.
OK, that's the best I can do since I could not find a picture

I did find
based in Reading who have lots of different bells and you might, if you are handy, be able to turn them into what you want. There's nothing on instructables, nothing in Etsy and none of my "crafty" friends could help at all. Not even an entry in Wikipedia!

15 Sep, 2008


I found them in the Kleen-Eze catalogue, of all places! knew my friend had been after some, so I got her a set. did'nt think to get one for myself, and they don't seem to do them now. no one in the world seems to do them now - so there's an opening for an enterprising metal-worker!

searching for rain bells online is frustrating - you're either offered "rain chains" or a wooden box which is called RAin Bells in the US, apparently.
judging by the price, I presume they're out of stock!

also shows a close-up

If i knew how to attach the "stalks" to the bells without leakage, I'd get some sheet metal from a craft shop and have a go at making my own!

9 Jun, 2010


I found a set, yaers ago, in a catalogue: knowing that my friend had been looking for some, I got her one. Been kicking myself ever since that I never thought of getting one for myself while I was at it. It never occurred to me that there'd be a global shortage of them later.

I've Googled again and again over the last ten or so years - the US has something called "rain chimes" but they seem to be in a box and yoiu wind the key to make them chime. Other than that, all they seem to have heard of are rain chains.

I've only ever seen one picture online - and as the price for them was £99999.99, I concluded that they were out of stock!

I've just Googled "rain bells" and clicked "images" - the very first picture gives a good example, though the ones i got for my friend were a bit more spread out..

It seems that no one in the entire world is making these any more - I thought of getting some thin sheet metal from a craft shop and having a go, but I've never done anything like this so it would probably take a few goes - if then. I don't know how thick the cups ought to be, how to attach the stems, or even what metal - copper? brass?

If anyone knows about metalwork and feels like having a go, they'd corner the world market!

ps just double-checked: perhaps "rain chimes" would be a better bet, as that brings up three pictures on the first row of images

oops, didn't know I'd posted a comment almost a year ago, saying almost the same thing!

30 May, 2011


I've also been looking for some, without success so far. Past Times used to stock them years ago but don't seem to have them now. My brother is a welder so I am going to ask him very nicely to make me some. If I find any stockists in the meantime I will let you all know.

17 Jun, 2011


Since yesterday, I typed 'copper garden bells' into my browser and found that I got a lot of images of 'woodstock garden bells'. If you then search for these, you can find many suppliers in the UK.

I have included one link below which stocks two sizes - one larger set of bells which are made of different sizes and therefore create different notes, or a smaller set 'encore' which are cheaper but are all the same size and therefore make the same note.

18 Jun, 2011


lol at last someone else in the world who has an interest! I found the question, answered it, then when i scrolled up and looked again, I found I'd also left the previous post, too - over a year before.

eHow shows how to hammer copper sheets into bowls - I just bought two small thin sheets of craft copper on eBay and I'm going to have a go at "rolling my own" - I'd been thinking about this for ages, but I'm not very handy and I didn't know what gauge metal to use, and how would I attach the stems, and ... and so on.

I have no experiene with working with metal, or even metal crafts; I had no idea how to attach the stems - the obvious idea would be to punch a hole in the bottom of the bell and put the stem through, but how to attach, and seal the joint?

Then I thought that, if I turned the rim over slightly, I could wrap wire round under the lip and somehow fasten the stem to that without needing to pierce the cup.

These are square sheets; rather than try to round them off, I thought that, if I cn punch holes in the corners, I can hang them - so long as they can move and bump each other they should create the required effect, though I'm not sure what kind of notes they'll prodcue! *s* can't imagine trying to tune them!

Actually, I even looked for mini-bells that I could convert, but bell-shpaed bead are too small and "metal bells" only got me the round ones.

You'd think someone would, or at least could, spot this gap in the market and fill it, since no one else in the world seems able or willing to do so - maybe you an your brother can plug the gao??

18 Jun, 2011


Thanks for that link! I hadn't realised that each bell would need to be a different size: I'd assumed that it would be the amount of water in each that gave the different notes - like a glass harp, all the glasses are the same size, it's the amount of water in each that produces the different notes.

Mine will probably be different sizes, but that'd be down to the skill of the artisan (or lack of!) rather than artistic design.

Please do keep me posted of how you get on, and if I have any progess, I'll do the same.

ps; just checked the rain bells on the link you gave - especially the prices - no prizes for guessing which I'm going to go for!

Even if the bells are all the same size, can't some be filled a bit with something to make them different internally, and so give a different note that way? Just thought of this: I don't know, bit of gravel, even a coin?

18 Jun, 2011


result! I Googled for "garden bells" and in all the clutter of doorbells and bell-shaped objects, I found that Amazon claimed to have them - I went there, more in hope than expectation (a lot of shops claim to have items that, when you go there, are nothing like what you searched for) and refined the doorbell-and-bell-glasses, and they DO have rain bells!

they have both the sets shown on your link, and a bit cheaper, too.

7-bell set

9-bell set

I still don't see why two extra bells is so much more esxpensive - two sets of smaller bells will give 14 and still be cheaper than one of 9. Okay, the write-up for the set of 7 doesn't mention different size bells, as that for the set of 9 does, but there's room for experimentation here before I pay the much higher price

Thanks so much for the link that led me to this!

18 Jun, 2011


ta-da! got the rain bells at last, and even had the rain. now i need some breeze to make them chime! sigh, they'll probably ring out well enough in autumn/winter

13 Jul, 2011


I have some insight as to why they are hard to find and not being made. They simply do not work. I have some. If you bounce them around while empty, they make a beautiful sound. But if you put water into them, they quietly go "bonk".

It takes serious wind to get them moving, and pretty serious rain to get them bonking around as well.

Funny thing, when it's raining, nobody's outside to hear them go "bonk", and the rain itself drowns out the noise.

Great idea, beautiful to look at (until the insides collect unsightly mineral stains in about 2 months), but they just don't perform the way we imagine they will.

6 Feb, 2012


nods, I found their not-working-ness, too. I'm in a very sheltered place; buildings all round, very little wind gets through. But for the last week or so, has ben wind enuogh to blow a couple of mini-obelisks over (they were only pushed a little way into the ground) and a plastic bucket went to the other end of the garden - and not a chep out of the bells even though they were in as exposed a position as possible!

Had the same thing with a "garden spinner" ornament: long spiral of metal with a glass ball about half-way down - it's supposed to turn in the wind nd the ball reflects light. but there's nothitng on it to catch the wind to make it spin (there's enough breeze to make my ribbon mobile tap at my window) - I did think of trying to add vanes or something to catch the air, but not got round to it, even if it's possible.

suppose one could do something similr to the bells, give the air something to catch and therefore move - hadn't thought of that till I was tyoing the previous paragraph.

but so disappointing, wanting them for so long, searching for them so long, and then finding them and they don't work.

7 Feb, 2012

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