Original Source: How to Make Ornaments from Recycled Bike Chains by Laura White
Turning your old chain into a holiday ornament is a great way to give it a new life, and putting a chain star on your tree will show your love of cycling in a festive way. It's also a great way to commemorate a bike that has special meaning to you. Maybe it was the one you won your first race with, road your first century or just got you back and forth to work everyday. Chain ornaments also make great gifts for your cycling friends.
Creating chain ornaments is simple. The most difficult and time consuming task is cleaning and preparing the chain. You'll need:
- A bike chain
- A scrubbing brush, old toothbrush, Q-tips
- A chain tool
Once the chain has been removed from your bike use a scrub brush to remove large chunks of dirt and grease. I place a piece of plastic canvas in the sink to protect it, then I use a kitchen scrub brush and the sink sprayer to get the chain as clean as possible.
After most of the dirt and grease has been removed I soak it in decreaser to remove the remainder of the grease. There are a variety of cleaners out there. I use Park Tool’s Citrus Chain Cleaner because it is effective but also environmentally friendly.
I use a solution that is part water, part degreaser. For most chains the ratio is half and half, but on dirtier chains I will use more degreaser and less water. The condition of the chain also dictates how long to soak. Sometimes it’s as short as an hour, sometimes it’s overnight.
After soaking the chain use a toothbrush dipped in degreaser to clean around the pins and in between the links. A Q-Tip also does a good job of cleaning between the links. After thoroughly rinsing the chain, use a clean shop towel to rub it dry.
After it is dry use a chain tool to break off the piece you are going to use for your ornament. I use Park Tool’s CT – 5 chain tool. This is a good tool to use because it is small enough to get into the space between the star points. It also has replaceable pins. If you make a lot of stars, you’ll go through a lot of pins.
You will need 10 chain links. When breaking the chain don’t push the pin all the way through. Only push it far enough to separate the links, as you will need to push the pin back through to link the chain.
Once you have the correct chain length use the chain tool to attach the links creating a loop. Then shape it into the shape you desire.
Using a simple jig makes
forming the stars simple work.
And voila! You have a star.
Use the chain tool to tighten down the pins.
Start with the points of the star, tighten them so that they no longer bend. After those are tight tighten the pin in between the points.
Once all the pins have been tightened the chain links should not move and it will retain it’s star shape. Loop a ribbon or string through one of the points and it’s ready to hang on your tree.
"Icicles" taper a 1/4" square bar evenly for about 6 inches, twist the whole length, punch a small hole in the large end for a wire hook. Snowflakes can be made punching geometric patterns in thin sheet.
A scrolled barrel, click on the link
below for the video on making it
Interesting icicles, could also be manipulated into "candy" canes with some stripping.
Gee Mom, look what else I've found!
- Bike Chain Ornaments by Jessie Kwak
- Laura White from SurlyGirlCrafts See more of her work on the Uncommon Goods blog.
- Scrolled basket
"We all do better when we all do better."