Sunday, April 20, 2008

Recycled Clock

nice boxI was keeping a nice box just because I liked it. Steph suggested we make it into a clock. Good idea - the box was very shallow, with a square top, about the right dimensions for a clock. So how do you make a clock anyway?



clock mechanismWe bought a battery-powered (rechargeable batteries, obviously) clock mechanism from a craft and hobby shop. If you want to make a totally recycled clock you could use a working mechanism from another clock.





measuring the boxThe instructions on the packet told us how big to make the hole for the hands, so we measured the centre of the box precisely, and using a craft knife we made a hole the correct size.

After that it was mainly a matter of following the instructions. We pushed the mechanism through the hole and fixed it in place with a hot melt glue gun. We assembled the hands on to the stem of the mechanism, making sure they were all aligned at 12 o'clock. A little nut secured the hands in place, then we could insert the rechargeable battery and set the correct time. Hold your breath to see if the second hand begins to move. Hurrah!

cutting a hole for hangWe needed to be able to access the clock mechanism to change the time and replace the battery, and we wanted to be able to hang our clock. The bottom of the box fit very snugly on to the top, so we decided to push it back on (but not glue it) and make a hole in the back for hanging. We measured the exact centre of the box, and cut a triangular hole.

recycled box clockThat's it! Our clock was finished and we hung it on the wall.

If you don't have a box just the right size for a clock, there are other possibilities. You could make a box out of cardboard and cover it with wrapping paper, wallpaper, fabric, or paint it. Use the cardboard from a Corn Flakes packet, keeping the image from the packaging as the clock decoration for a funky Warhol-esque kitchen clock. Use a chocolate box with a nice image on the lid. I don't have numbers on my clock, but you could draw or paint numbers on yours. If you prefer a more professional look you could get transfers or stencils for numbers from a hobby craft shop. Or print some out in a font you like and glue them on. Alternatively you could just put dots in the location of the numbers - paint or draw the dots, or glue on beads, sequins or glass nuggets. If you make a recycled clock, I'd love to see it. Email me a photo, and let me know if you're willing for the photo to be shown on Bean Sprouts.

10 comments:

Stonehead said...

We have a lovely, wood-cased mantel clock. The chimes no longer work and I can't adjust it properly (it's either too fast or too slow), but I love winding it every Sunday. No batteries, just a seven-day clockwork mechanism.

One of my grandfathers had a similar ritual. He had a very, very old cuckoo clock with a a weighted chain drive. It had to be re-set every week, too.

There's a lot to be set for clockwork or other mechanical systems, even if they aren't as accurate as quartz systems or are more "inconvenient". We also have several old tinplate clockwork toys that still provide good service—although they're probably illegal to use as toys these days.

Yellow said...

I loath my kitchen clock.
Hey, I must lead a pretty content life if a kitchen clock can cause so much pain in my soul.
Okay, I dislike my kitchen clock, butm being frugel, could not find justification in purchasing another to replace it. Now I think I'll have a look to see how easy it would be to remove and reuse the mechanism. If I make a new one, I promise in front of all your readers as witnesses that I'll post you a picture.

Lizzie said...

Hi Melanie
I made a clock from a camenbert box once but unfortunately used gold hands on the clock (because I already owned the mechanism & hands) and the box was red with gold writing. It was better in theory than in practice. Actually it looked really good close up, you just couldnt tell them time from a distance! I still have the movement and hands, just waiting for another nice box or some other object to come my way
Best Wishes
Lizzie

Sarah said...

fantastic idea :)

another idea for funky homemade clocks... old vinyl records. 7" records are the perfect size.

Melanie Rimmer said...

I like the idea of the vinyl record clock, Sarah. I suppose a CD clock would also work - a possible use for all the useless CDs and DVDs that seem to pile up. Lizzie's camembert clock made me laugh! It sounds really unusual and pretty though. Couldn't you have painted the hands black?

Stonehead, I also have a lovely old mantel clock but it doesn't go. I keep meaning to find a repairer and take it to be fixed, but I never seem to get round to it. If someone wanted a timepiece for their home, an old but reliable clockwork clock would be a very green choice. I proposed this project as a creative way to recycle or repurpose junk, though. It seems to have inspired Yellow to do something crafty and "green" with her unloved kitchen clock, for example. That's the sort of reaction I hoped for.

HowToMe said...

Lovely. Nicely done. :-)

(see in MIFS)

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