How to Use a Stencil to Paint a Clock

Written by tuesday fuller
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How to Use a Stencil to Paint a Clock
Stencilled clock face designs are customisable and simple to apply. (clock's parts image by FJ Medrano from

Whether you're making your own stencil or buying one from a craft store or online vendor, using a stencil to paint a clock face is the easiest way to create a unified and symmetrical face design in one simple step. Stencils also make it easier and goof-proof for young or beginning hobbyists. With stencils, you can create a personalised look or use a variety of shapes and designs for the numbers to match an existing theme within the room.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Clock mechanism
  • Marker
  • Stencil
  • Masking tape
  • Acrylic paint
  • Plate
  • Brush or sponge
  • Paper towel
  • Poly-acrylic varnish

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  1. 1

    Assemble the clock mechanism. Place both the hour and minute hands on the 12 o'clock location. Mark the centre of the desired location.

  2. 2

    Move the minute hand clockwise around the face until the hour hand moves to the next location. Mark this as the 1 o'clock spot. Continue doing this until you have marks for all the numbers.

  3. 3

    Remove the clock mechanism from the clock and set it aside.

  4. 4

    Position the stencil onto the clock face, lining the numbers up with the marks made earlier. Tape the stencil in place to prevent it from slipping.

  5. 5

    Shake the paint to mix the colour and then pour a small bit out onto a plate.

  6. 6

    Dip the brush or sponge into the paint. Dab off the excess paint onto either a paper towel or the plate.

  7. 7

    Paint over the stencil in thin layers. Do not allow the paint to run or clump up, as this will smear when you remove the stencil.

  8. 8

    Remove the paint from the stencil and carefully lift the stencil from the clock. Let the paint dry completely. Seal the clock face with poly-acrylic varnish to protect the paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Finish the clock surface before applying the stencil. You may wish to stain or paint the face before adding the numbers.
  • You can make stencils from almost any style of numbers or shapes. Simply place a clear plastic film or vellum over the design and trace the design onto the plastic with a fine-tipped permanent marker. Cut out the design with a craft knife.

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