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.
the mechanism seemed to be working fine once i put a new battery inside, but the rest of it could go.
i used a screw driver to pry open the staples that were holding the backing in place, and pulled them out with pliers.
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 :-)
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.
i traced the hole where the hands/mechanism would attach…
then i cut a small “x” there using a sharp knife.
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.
i reattached the mechanism, hands, placed the backing on the clock again, and…
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!
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.
a close up of the artwork from the my fair lady album.
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?
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!
i shared this post with sarah and her readers at thrifty decor chick. tons of ideas and inspiration there!
© 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.