old clock, new clock: how i made my audrey hepburn clock

i see old clocks in thrift stores constantly, and i’ve always wondered if i could somehow take them apart, keep all the good bits, and change the rest. i finally caved in to this idea the other day.

i liked the oval shape of this clock, not too ornate. i liked that it was made of solid wood and the hands were a nice shape.

wood oval clock

the mechanism seemed to be working fine once i put a new battery inside, but the rest of it could go.

back of clock, mechanism

i used a screw driver to pry open the staples that were holding the backing in place, and pulled them out with pliers.

taking the back off the clock

the clock was pretty dusty and gross, so i cleaned up the frame and mechanism with a damp cloth and washed the glass.

i removed the clock mechanism from the clock backing (the white piece of cardboard with the numbers). it came apart fairly easily, starting with the minute hand being pulled straight off, then the rest of it being unscrewed. i did take a photo of it just in case i forgot how it all went back together again :-)

taking clock mechanism apart

i used the old clock backing as a template to trace out a new backing. i used an old album cover (also thrifted) as the artwork for my new clock. the album cover works well too, because it is thick cardboard. if i had used another image, say something on paper, i would probably use the original clock backing (or trace a new piece of cardboard) and glue it behind the image to give it some structure. the clock mechanism depends on a sturdy clock backing.

tracing album cover for clock template

i traced the hole where the hands/mechanism would attach…

tracing the center hole of the clock

then i cut a small “x” there using a sharp knife.

cut small x for where the clock mechanism would go

i trimmed the rest with scissors and i found that it didn’t need to be a perfect circle, because the clock mechanism pressed against the cardboard just fine and the hands would cover the opening.

pressing clock mechanism through backing

i reattached the mechanism, hands, placed the backing on the clock again, and…

almost finished clock, wood finish

ugh. i don’t know. do you like it?

i felt that it was totally wrong. i intentionally didn’t add numbers because i didn’t want to obstruct the artwork — and i’m fairly confident in my time telling abilities ;-) … but the handle from miss hepburn’s parasol was visually distracting to the hands of the clock.

and i wasn’t crazy about the colour of the wood after all.

nothing a few coats of “heirloom white” spray paint wont take care of though!

(some of my tips on spray painting can be found here and a few other spray painted projects are here and here)

i took it all apart, lightly sanded the clock frame, and painted the frame, the hour and minute hands. i left the second hand red, as it was.

i think that did the trick.

finished audrey hepburn clock

a close up of the artwork from the my fair lady album.

close up of album artwork my fair lady clock

one my favourite movies too (i was also in the pitband for the highschool production of my fair lady, and know almost all the songs off by heart)…and, well, who wouldn’t want to have a little bit of the lovely audrey hepburn in their home?

clock before after clock

a few notes:

  • let the clock run for 24 hours to make sure the time is true
  • replacement mechanisms can be found at most craft stores
  • make sure the clock hands are not screwed in too tightly
  • old clocks may have bent or warped hands (you can see on this old clock face where the minute hand has traced a path where it was touching along the top of the clock) or the hands may get bent as you remove them; make sure the hands can rotate freely around the clock without getting in the way of each other.
  • the backing can be reattached using staples. i didn’t want to use a staple gun or hammer for fear of breaking the glass; thumb tacks may work as well, depending on the material of the frame. heavy duty tape works too, it’s on the back so it’s not visible. if you’ve done a project like this and have other ideas, feel free to share.
  • craft stores and dollar stores have all kinds of solutions for transfer/rub-on/sticker numbers that you could use if you want numbers on the clock; or you could just draw your own numbers or markings in place.
  • i’m sure you know, but please take care while working with glass and sharp objects.

and if you’ve made it down here, thank you! have a wonderful weekend!

~ ana

i shared this post with sarah and her readers at thrifty decor chick. tons of ideas and inspiration there!

and also…

As seen on CraftGossip.com

© imadeitso, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to ana at imadeitso.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
This entry was posted in around the house, something old, something new, thrifting & vintage, tools, tips and techniques and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to old clock, new clock: how i made my audrey hepburn clock

  1. Halima says:

    What a beautiful and personal piece of art you’ve created! Spray painting the frame and the clock hands white really let the ‘art’ stand out more. Great choice – where does it hang?

    • imadeitso says:

      nowhere yet. i needed a new clock to go above my teak hutch (you can see it with the plant sitting on it), but the white doesn’t quite go with it lol.. so i’m thinking maybe the little walk in closet. it’s kinda girly and would go well in there!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention old clock, new clock: how i made my audrey hepburn clock | i made it so. -- Topsy.com

  3. googiemomma says:

    i passed up the same album cover at a thrift shop a few months ago. and later could have KICKED myself.
    i love it painted white!
    it comes as no surprise to me that you love this play/movie…because i also LOVE it. :o)
    i dream of someday wearing that black & white outfit…anywhere.at.all.
    great job!
    maybe my album cover is still there????

  4. Natalie says:

    One day I want to try this on. I have so many papers and they will look great in clocks. Painting in white does the trick. I love your new clock now :-) So, are you going to make more of these?

    • imadeitso says:

      thanks natalie! i think i’m going to make one more, but i’ll plan it a bit better to make sure it matches my teak hutch (mentioned in the comments above).

  5. What a beautiful thing you made! I love Audrey and I love your unique clock! Well done!

  6. linda says:

    Oh wow, that is beautiful! Love that it’s personalized and turning it all white really did make it pop!

  7. Very nice transformation! Great to see older objects being revived instead of chucked in the garbage, especially so beautifully. I love My Fair Lady too.

  8. Jess says:

    genius, ana :) I absolutely love it!

  9. Alyssa says:

    Pretty, pretty! I actually have 2 wall clocks to re-do at the moment, so thank you for some inspiration.

  10. Nancy S says:

    What a great idea! My mind just started racing with possibilities for clock faces. You also helped me realize something else: sometimes projects just need a few more steps to make them work. I can’t tell you how many projects I have lying around that just didn’t “work” and I think ugh everytime I see them in the back of the closet. A couple of coats of heirloom white should do the trick! Your clock turned out beautiful.

  11. I adore the clock! Well done and very nice eye, you’ve got there. Lovely, just lovely.

  12. Alex says:

    I’m a big fan of Audrey and that clock looks just amazing! I’ve been putting off buying a clock for my kitchen, can’t seem to find just the right one so maybe I should try this :-)

  13. Ooo, I love this! The paint on the frame and hands was just what it needed! Now if I only I could convince my husband that it is not sacrilege to upcycle vinyl record slips or even the records themselves…. He won’t even let me touch the albums he’s inherited but can’t quite get himself to integrate into the collection. All vinyl is sacred, LOL! Though it would be a fun gift to make him a clock for his studio with a favorite album cover :-)

    • imadeitso says:

      ooh i know kristi. i know there will be some record fans out there who will cringe when they see this. there were a few readers who felt the same when i shared my trivets project. and i do understand it. i’d be heartbroken if someone smashed perfectly good pyrex to make jewelry or mosaics out of it, for example. we all have our value systems :)

      maybe you could scan it and print it onto cardstock?

      • That’s definitely an option as we have both a quality scanner and color laser printer here. Also if I bought the record again for the sleeve and the record it self was shot I think I he’d come around :-)

        He barely listens to records or looks at the sleeves these days so it seems like a nice thing to get to see one of them daily. In my mind anyway. Now figure out which is is favorite…

  14. ~*~Patty says:

    Your altered clock is brilliant Ana!
    I think you used the album art so beautifully … I am all for giving things a new life!
    The white is perfect too!
    You must be so pleased with how it turned out.
    Very inspiring!
    Happy Friday!

  15. Oh, oh I think this is such a fantastic idea, the possibilities are endless! :D

  16. Wow, you’re so clever, I think the end result looks great. And I think the white was definitely the way to go, it helps Audrey to really pop :)

  17. Corey says:

    It’s hideous! I love it!

  18. LeelaBijou says:

    It´s gorgeous! Fantastic work!

  19. The clock looks wonderful. I have always been tempted to do this with my left over Little Golden Book covers, but children can’t tell the time and the numbers would be too messy. Brilliant work! It looks fabulous! xxNick

  20. Sam says:

    Wow, what a great idea! As if I needed another thing to look for at thrift stores… ;) but yours is so lovely!

  21. Sarah says:

    Lovely idea and execution, Ana! I’d have to add numbers to mine, though, to stop my husband from asking what time it was ;)

  22. alyshajane says:

    Woweee! That is, without a doubt, the most creative and inspiring project that I have seen in a long time. I am so inspired to keep an eye out for lovely clocks now. Thank you so much for sharing your brilliance! :)

  23. denis picard says:

    since time never seems to be on my side, with this post you really put me on the right time..love your work ..cheers

  24. Pingback: Fiber Fool » Monday Linkity!

  25. GENIUS!! very well done. it’s so hard to find a good clock.

  26. Pingback: what (not) to do with an old cheese dome. | i made it so.

  27. Patty says:

    Wow! This turned out awesome. Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. Pingback: audrey o’clock ~ featured on “better after” | i made it so.

  29. Ray* says:

    coolest thing ever!!!! Very unique.

  30. Van says:

    Amazing and creative before and after, the result is indeed very unique and beautiful. It’s a lovely way to showcase the beautiful 60s-tastic artwork of the My Fair Lady movie poster.

  31. Tara Benwell says:

    How did I miss this? Fascinating! Are you taking orders? :)

  32. Pingback: How to recycle an old clock into a stylish new one with an old album cover · Recycled Crafts | CraftGossip.com

  33. Pingback: friday links 12/3/10 « trying to do it myself, hilarity ensues

  34. This is fantastic :) now i know what to do with those broadway record albums i have! At least one of them. Thanks for giving us a new way to keep the old functional :)

  35. Pingback: 2010 in a nutshell… | i made it so.

  36. Tara Benwell says:

    I’ve been thinking about this post recently. I think it would be easier to just send you the clock.

  37. Jacqueline says:

    Before I scrolled down and saw that you painted it white, I was like, how can she see the hands?? They blend right in! And then when I scrolled down my thoughts changed to, she’s brilliant! That white’s just what it needed! Beautiful clock, Ana! :)

  38. Pingback: weekend in a nutshell | i made it so.

  39. Pingback: chiminea. go on, say it, you know you want to. | i made it so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>