DIY: Clock Making & Movements

Written by tracie grimes
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DIY: Clock Making & Movements
Bring out your unique sense of style in your DIY clock (clock 6 image by chrisharvey from

Stay on time in a style all your own by creating a do-it-yourself clock. You can use materials you have laying around the house or buy objects that reflect your personality. An easy way to start is by using an existing clock and reusing its parts or you can just as easily start from scratch by purchasing a kit.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Clock face material
  • Working clock or clock kit
  • Number material
  • Scissors
  • Clear-drying super glue
  • Utility knife
  • Drill
  • Drill bit to fit clock mechanism stem
  • Safety glasses
  • Metal file (for use on metal clock face)
  • Medium-grit sandpaper (for non-metal clock face)
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers

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  1. 1

    If using an existing clock, pry open using utility knife blade. Carefully remove the hands and numbers and glue on clock face material. If you’re using a clock kit and are mounting a piece of wood, plate, etc., mark the area where you will be placing the movement (hands) and numbers of the clock.

    DIY: Clock Making & Movements
    Unusual pieces of wood make some of the most attention-grabbing clocks (Brown old clock image by robootb from
  2. 2

    Drill a hole where you’ll be placing the clock hands. Before inserting the clock mechanism, file down hole edges using a metal file for a metal clock face or a medium-grit sandpaper for a non-metal face. Push the stem of the clock through this hole and add the hanging clip and rubber washer to the back of the mechanism (follow kit instructions). If you’re restyling an existing clock, reattach the hands after you’ve finished the clock face.

    DIY: Clock Making & Movements
    Embellish your clock with items that enhance your room's decor (wall clock image by palms from
  3. 3

    Attach the numbers (or items you’ll be using for numbers). Beginning at the

    12 o'clock position, place a number marker at every 30 degree point around the face of the clock.

    DIY: Clock Making & Movements
    You can use parts from a ready-made clock (clock's parts image by FJ Medrano from
  4. 4

    Place (or replace if using an existing clock) the mechanism's brass washer and nut on the front of the clock and tighten with pliers.

    DIY: Clock Making & Movements
    Plates bring colour and interesting patterns to your clock face (decorative plate image by Joann Cooper from
  5. 5

    Attach parts in this order: hour and minute hands secured with small nut, second hand after the nut and finally, brass cap to secure all. Use the nut and cap provided in the kit, or the ones you've removed from an existing clock.

    DIY: Clock Making & Movements
    Interesting buttons can be used for the clock numbers (assortment of buttons image by Pix by Marti from
  6. 6

    Place the battery in the clock and set the time.

    DIY: Clock Making & Movements
    Use glass nuggets or jewels for numbers to add bling to your timepiece (glass image by cherie from

Tips and warnings

  • Your clock mechanism doesn’t have to be in the centre.
  • If you’re using an image for your clock face, measure face material to fit clock face.
  • If using crafted wood for your clock, it’s a good idea to seal the face of the clock (once you’ve attached the numbers – after step 3) by painting on a resin (use a resin/catalyst kit and mix according the directions on the package). Allow the resin to dry completely before moving on to step 4.
  • Wear safety glasses when drilling

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