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How to Make a Play Grandfather Clock Out of a Cardboard Box

Updated February 21, 2017

Before you throw out that nice, big cardboard box, consider the many ways your children could play with it. Kids like to act grown up, and adding a grown-up item to a play area can spark their creativity and help them play more imaginatively. You can make a grandfather clock out of a cardboard box. Better yet, you and your children can make the grandfather clock together. They'll be even more likely to play with it if it's a product of their own planning and ingenuity.

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  1. Stand the cardboard box up against a wall and step back to look at it. Imagine the proportions of a regular grandfather clock and then apply those proportions to the cardboard box. The upper 1/5 to 1/4 of the grandfather clock will contain the face. The lower part will contain the pendulum. Draw out the basic structure of the grandfather clock on the cardboard box using a pencil so you can erase and redraw, if necessary.

  2. Once you're satisfied with the general outline of the grandfather clock, draw the face on a piece of white or manila paper. If you like, you can make adjustable hands by cutting the hands out of heavier paper and attaching them to the face with a brad. The brad allows the hands to be moved from the front. After you have written the numerals 1 through 12 on the face, cut it out and glue it to the grandfather clock in the upper portion of the box.

  3. Cut a rectangular or oval section out of the lower part of the box, making sure all corners of the box are left intact. Don't throw out the piece of cardboard you cut out, because you'll need it for the pendulum. Use a pencil to draw -- on that piece of a cardboard -- a pendulum that is shaped like a long, thin rectangle with a circle at the end, and then cut out the pendulum. Using a brad, attach the pendulum to the inside of the front of the clock, just above the cutout space, so it hangs in the cutout window. The brad enables the pendulum to swing back and forth, just like on a regular grandfather clock.

  4. Draw ornate designs around the top section of the grandfather clock. These outlines can be left a single colour, or you can add colour to them for a bolder look. Draw moulding down the sides and lower half of the box to represent hand-carved woodwork.

  5. Alter the shape of the top of the grandfather clock by cutting arched or dome-shaped pieces of cardboard from the scraps taken out to make the pendulum. Glue these pieces to the top of the cardboard box to give it a more interesting shape.

  6. Warning

    Take care when cutting cardboard. It may be necessary to saw at the cardboard with a steak knife in some places in order to cut it.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tall, skinny cardboard box
  • Paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Markers
  • Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Brads

About the Author

Rachel Terry

Rachel Terry has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University. She has been a freelance writer since 1998, authoring literary study guides, as well as articles and essays.

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