In my continuing mission to rid my home of hideous objects, I decided to make a whole new clock for my living room to rid the room of the plastic monstrosity that we have been using for time keeping. Here is the new improved model - The Babclock, designed and made by the Babcocks.
I roped my dad, Barry Babcock into helping. This is a great project to make with your dad or for your dad, just in time for Father's Day. If you are not a woodworker or don't know someone who is, you can still do this project, just substitute some of the materials.
What you'll need to make the clock:
- 1/4" (6mm) thick plywood (non-woodworker alternative: foam-core, also known as foam-board, as sold in art supply shops)
- Saw - jigsaw, scroll saw, band saw or if you are power-tool poor, a coping saw (non-woodworker alternative: an Exacto knife)
- Sander or sandpaper - belt sander, disk sander or a piece of sandpaper
- Drill - we used a 21/64 bit, but that will depend on the width of the shaft of your clock movement (non-woodworker alternative: an awl or other implement to poke a hole)
- Clock movement - we used a 1/4" (6mm)shaft continuous sweep movement
- Clock hands - we used 4 1/8" clock hands
- Second hand
- Paper for background of clock face - we used comics from a newspaper, but you could also use sports pages (use an article featuring the recipients favourite sports team), a map, pattern pages etc.
- Scrap of newspaper for creating pattern
- Paper scissors
- Modge Podge
- Acrylic paintbrushes - 1 x 1" (2.5cm) brush for applying the Modge Podge, 1 x 1/4" (6mm) brush for paint and 1 x detail brush
- Acrylic craft paint such as Deco Art in black and one other colour - we used a sage green
- 2 1/2"-3" (6.4cm - 7.6cm) metal house number as found in hardware and DIY stores - we used the number 9, make sure the number is not too thick, ours is 1/8" (3mm) thick as the clock hands must be able to clear the number as they sweep around
- 1 x Flat back diamante or rhinestone to fill in hole meant for the screw on the house number
- Gorilla Glue or other strong glue - we used the clear type of Gorilla Glue
- Exacto knife
What to do to make the clock:
1. Create your pattern on a scrap piece of newspaper (not the paper you will use as the clock face background). Trace a large bowl to create a circle approximately 11 1/2" (29.2cm) in diameter. If you have chosen clock hands that are a different size to the clock hands that we used you may need to increase the circle size or reduce it accordingly. Cut out the circle.
Fold the circle in half twice so that your circle is folded into quarters.
Then fold the quarters into equal thirds. Your circle should be folded so it looks something like this:
2. When you unfold your circle all the folds should intersect at the centre. Poke the tip of your pencil through the centre of the circle so that you can mark the centre of your clock easily later on.
Label each fold mark with the corresponding number on a clock. Obviously starting with 12 at the top and working your way around.
3. Find a piece of 1/4" (6mm) plywood large enough to accommodate the circle. We just used a scrap that Dad had in his workshop. Trace the circle onto the wood with a pencil and mark the middle of the clock with your pencil through the hole that you poked through the paper circle at the centre.
Non-woodworking option: Simply trace your paper pattern in the same way onto foam-core.
4. Use a jigsaw, scroll saw, band saw or if you are power-tool poor, a coping saw to cut the circle out. We used a jigsaw. Newer models of jigsaw will have labels on the side of the saw to tell you what settings to use for plywood.
Before you think that the men do all the power tool toting in the Babcock family, let me just say that my dad taught me how to use power tools at a very young age and I love them. However, my hands and wrists are injured and weak and I can't lift hand held power tools anymore, so Dad did all the heavy lifting for me. Plus, he cuts a mighty fine circle.
Non-woodworker alternative: Use an Exacto knife to cut the circle out of the foam-core.
5. Sand the edges of the circle smooth using a disk sander, belt sander or some elbow grease and a piece of sandpaper.
6. First use a scrap piece of the plywood (off-cuts from your circle would work well) to test drill a hole. Remember that the hole must be large enough to allow the shaft of your clock movement to come through from the back of the clock. The shaft of the clock movement should come through easily, but not have too much room to move around. We used a drill with a 21/64 bit, but you may need another size depending on your particular clock movement. Err on the cautious side and start out with a smaller drill bit and work your way up until the shaft of the clock movement fits cleanly through the drilled hole.
Once you've found the correct size drill bit to use for your clock movement, press an awl or something similar into your marked hole at the centre of your wood circle to create an indentation - this starts the hole off well and helps prevent the drill bit from jumping. Drill a hole at the centre of the circle where you marked it. Use a piece of sandpaper to smooth the rough edges of the drilled hole.
Non-woodworker alternative: Use an awl to bore a hole in the centre of the foam-core.
7. Paint the edges of the wood circle with black acrylic craft paint. Let dry completely.
Non-woodworker alternative: The cut edges of foam-core can be a bit ugly. To get the best look you may want to coat them in Gesso first and then paint them.
Here I am wearing my dad's shop coat that he has had since he was 16 years old and underneath it is the paint-shirt (once belonging to my dad) that I've had since I was 5. We keep it real in this family.
8. Trace the wood circle onto the paper you intend to use as the background of the clock face. We used a page of comics from the newspaper, but you could really get creative here and use all sorts of paper to personalise your clock. To make the circle easier to place, mark the position of the 12, 3, 6, and 9 inconspicuously with a pencil on both the paper circle and the wood circle using your paper pattern, that way, you'll get the best match when you glue the paper circle to the wood. Cut out the paper circle with scissors.
9. Coat the wood circle with Modge Podge using a paint brush. Press the paper circle into place, matching the marks you made on both the paper and wood circles and smoothing out any wrinkles. Let dry.
10. Using a paintbrush, coat the top of the paper covered clock circle with Modge Podge. Let dry completely.
11. Download the template for the numbers in PDF format by clicking the following link: . Download Clock Numbers for the Babcock Clock The 12, 3, and 6 are all going to be painted on using the template, while the number 9 will be a house number that we will apply later. Cut out the number templates.
12. Place each number in place on the clock face using the inconspicuous marks that you transferred from your paper pattern in step 8. Trace each number in place with a pencil.
13. With acrylic paintbrushes, hand paint in the numbers. We painted the 12 and 6 black and the 3 sage green. You may need two coats to get a smooth colour.
If you struggle with hand painting you could cut the numbers out of the template from a piece of card with an Exacto blade to create a stencil, then spray the back of your stencil with a temporary spray adhesive, paint in the numbers with a stencil brush and then remove the stencil. I personally prefer hand painting.
14. Using your paper pattern as a guide lightly mark in the position of the other clock numbers, that is, 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11. Use the corner of a piece of wood or cardboard to trace triangles with a pencil at each of these other number points so that you get a consistent shape. Paint the triangles with two coats of black acrylic paint. These triangles make the clock much easier to read.
16. Using a paintbrush, coat the top surface and edges of the clock circle with 2 coats of Modge Podge. Let dry completely betweenr each coat.
17. Assemble the clock parts as instructed by the manufacturer. Dad and I used the 1/4" (6mm) continuous sweep clock movement from Lee Valley Tools. Click here to see and order the same movement. Most clocks are assembled in a similar way to the diagram below but this one threw us off slightly. The diagram below, provided by Lee Valley shows the use of the second hand AND the end cap.
When we called the lovely people on the customer service line at Lee Valley they informed us that you do not use the end cap unless you are not using a second hand and to assemble the second hand you push the split pin that comes with the second hand onto the pin in the shaft of the clock movement. Voila!
18. Now to attach the number 9 to the clock face. With the clock movement assembled check to ensure that the clock hand can sweep past the house number with enough clearance before committing to gluing the number in place.
If you have enough room, glue the house number at the number 9 position using a strong glue such as clear Gorilla Glue.
19. Fill in the hole in the house number (the hole meant for a screw) by gluing a flat-backed rhinestone (known as a diamante, here in the UK) in the screw hole.
© Colleen Babcock and Barry Babcock 2010, All Rights Reserved
If you love the idea of making your own clock, but would rather sew than saw, check out my cloth doll pattern Gather Ye Rosebuds which in fact incorporates a fully functional clock within the base of the doll.
The kit for Gather Ye Rosebuds is highly recommended as it is in fact cheaper to buy the kit than purchase each of the harder to find items separately (plus, you get a free pattern with it).