How to Make a Custom Clockcomments (9) December 15th, 2011
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!
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- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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