How to Make a Custom Clock

comments (10) September 20th, 2013     

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leethal Lee Meredith, contributor
Love it! 356 users recommend
I used a photo I took—you can use a picture of you with your loved one or anything else personalized!
I can carry supplies around in my working clock!
Contrasting colors really make this clock pop!
I used a photo I took—you can use a picture of you with your loved one or anything else personalized!

I used a photo I took—you can use a picture of you with your loved one or anything else personalized!

Photo: Lee Meredith
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Everyone needs clocks in their homes, and there is so much creative possibility with them that I think custom clocks are a fantastic DIY gift idea for anyone on your gift list! You can keep the original clock frame, just replacing the face image with a custom picture, or you can take the working pieces out and replace them into a new object-it's much easier than you might think!

You'll need:

  • A working clock to take apart
  • Optional new body to become a clock
  • Picture(s) for the face
  • Optional buttons or other small objects for number marks
  • E6000 glue
  • White glue
  • Scissors (and an X-Acto knife will be helpful)
  • Optional basic tools (screwdriver, wrench, pliers), depending on your clock

To find your clock, head out thrift-store shopping with a AA battery in your pocket, so you can test out the clocks you find to make sure you choose a working one. You'll also want to choose one with a cover that will come off-plastic is easy to pry off-and hands that you like the look of. If you want to keep the clock in its frame, then, of course, choose a frame you like. If you plan to print out a photo to use for the face, make sure the face is not bigger than you printer can handle.

clock diy tutorial   Once you get your recycled clock home from the thrift store, clean it well before redecorating.

Now take apart the clock. Sometimes the top plastic parts will pop right off using only your fingers, but usually you need to stick a scissor blade or a knife in the edge and pry up. Once the cover is out, take off the hands-usually they just pull right off, but there may be a screw holding them on. Use whatever tools you need to carefully get them off, and remember how they were on because you'll need to put them back just as you found them. Then you can remove the original picture, if it is a separate paper; if it's attached more securely, just leave it on and you can put the new image over it.

frame Get more gift projects:

• How to Make an All-Recycled Sketchbook
• How to Make a Magazine Reed Box
How to Make a Multi-Photo Frame

How to Make a Manly Catchall


custom clock diy how to   Now you have a blank clock canvas to work with.

If you're using the same frame for your new clock, there's no need to take the back off, but if you do want to move the hands to a new body, it's usually super-easy to pop the battery-holding piece off the back. Sometimes there is glue holding it down better, so using your X-Acto knife or a regular knife to pry under it should do the trick.

custom clock diy how to   The back piece is normally held in with a couple of tabs as you can see here.

If you want to install the hands onto a new body, you can leave the clock frame behind now, and all you'll need are that back piece, the hands, and any extra little pieces that might have been holding the hands on, if there were any.

custom clock diy how to   Using the parts from a thrift-store clock is much cheaper than buying clock parts at a craft store!

Okay, the rest of the tutorial will be for using the original clock frame, so I'll just finish up the other option now. To install the hands into a new frame, you just need anything that you can cut/drill a hole in, or that already has a hole big enough to fit the piece holding the hands, and room for the back part behind. Boxes work well, records are common and easy, and I made one using a six-pack case, covered in fabric. You'll need to securely attach the back part with glue or tape, and think about the ease of getting a battery in and out. Be creative with the body and face; numbers aren't essential.

custom clock diy how to   I can carry supplies around in my working clock!

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posted in: recycle, home, scissors, glue, photo, picture, clock

Comments (10)

Moptop27 writes: Going to try it and put grandchildren faces on
Posted: 8:48 pm on September 20th
EchoLin writes: cutton clock, i love the flower inside the clock.
Posted: 5:17 am on March 19th
Nodan writes: I am wondering is these clocks real clocks? I think they are just decorations. I like them as decorations.
Posted: 12:48 am on January 19th
Zadig writes: Interesting...

To Craftyjana: to make a hole in a diner plate you will have to mark the center and put a piece of duck tape on that spot and drill the hole, starting with slow speed, and increasing the speed softly. It work well...
Posted: 1:03 pm on August 6th
EQOnlineFabricStore writes: I love these. I need a clock for my living room. I may try one of these ideas.
Posted: 12:34 pm on August 6th
CraftyJana writes: Great idea! recycle - recycle - recycle
I would be interested in applying an old working clock face to a dinner plate.
What type of drill would one use to drill a hole in china dinnerware?
I have always wanted to make a clock for my kitchen from one of my extra antique plates.

Posted: 11:19 am on January 14th
sergun writes: beautiful!
Posted: 8:56 am on December 24th
ilovetweek writes: me too!
Posted: 2:19 pm on December 21st
AppleSweetTalk writes: Amazing! I love the idea! I'll try to make one.
Posted: 7:30 pm on June 15th
Sister_Diane writes: Fantastic! And I love seeing all these different versions.
Posted: 1:35 pm on November 29th
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