How to Make a DIY Wooden Clock
I totally have a thing for clocks.
I can’t walk into a Hobby Lobby or a Bed, Bath and Beyond without hemming and hawing over a wall clock.
Yet, wall clocks in the store can get quite expensive. I always wanted to make my own but I never got around to it.
As part of our Deck the Home blog hop, this week’s theme is a DIY gift.
Sooo I decided to finally make my DIY clock, as a gift to myself. 🙂
Our mantle clock was just a little outdated. It was my hubby’s from his bachelor days. 🙂
When the clock stopped working, it was the perfect opportunity to make my own!
It was super easy – the hardest part was deciding what color to paint it!
If you are totally in love with clocks too, try your hand at making your own (see what I did there?!).
Here’s how to make your own DIY wooden clock.
How to Make a Wooden Clock
Making the wooden clock was super easy! Here’s the materials and tools needed for the project.
Materials and Tools
- Acrylic Paint – I used regular black and white paint from the craft store
- Clock kit with hands
- Orbital Sander
- Router with straight cutting bit
Wood for the DIY Clock
To make our clock, we first needed a square piece of wood at least 20” wide (the diameter of the clock). We didn’t want to use plywood (which could easily be cut to this size), but instead opted for boards.
Using boards would result in a better look and higher quality.
However they don’t come large enough for a 20”x20” piece, so we used two smaller boards and joined them together with pocket hole screws.
We had an extra 12” wide board leftover from a previous project that would be perfect for the clock.
Cutting the Boards
Here I am getting ready to cut some lengths of boards for the clock:
We made the board cuts roughly 22” each.
Even though the clock diameter was only 20,” it would be easier to make the circular cutout of the clock if the board dimensions were padded a little bit.
Using Pocket Holes
With two cuts of the board done, we were ready to join them together with pocket holes.
Here are the boards with my Kreg pocket hole jig ready for action:
We made four pairs of pocket holes (eight holes in total) along the longer side of one of the boards:
Then we clamped the boards together with a 36” bar clamp and fastened them together with pocket hole screws:
The pocket holes were going to be on the back of the clock, so I didn’t have to plug the holes to make them look nice.
Here is the other side of the boards after being joined with pocket holes (you can’t even tell it’s joined with pocket holes on the other side):
We now had a solid square board large enough to accommodate my 20” diameter clock.
Drawing and Cutting the Circle
We had an existing 20” diameter clock on the wall that was being replaced with this DIY clock. So I traced the outline of that clock to make my circle.
If you’re making your own clock, just look around the house for something round that’s close to your target diameter (like another clock, a plant pot or plate).
Alternatively, you could even use the pencil and string technique to make a circle outline.
Simply tie a string (or wire) to a pencil. Then pin the other end of the string to the center of your board (to be used as a pivot point).
Pull the pencil until the string is tight and start drawing your circle. Move the pencil around the pivot point keeping the string tight until you have drawn a complete circle.
With my circle made, I took my time and carefully cut it out with my jigsaw:
Sanding the Wood
Finally, it was time for sanding with the orbital sander. I used 120 grit paper and gave both sides of the clock a good sanding. The seam where the two boards met practically disappeared after the sanding. I also hand bevelled the edges too with the sander to remove any splinters.
Marking the Number Positions on the Clock
To prep the board to transform into a clock, I had to mark the positions of the numbers.
So I located the center of the circle, drilled a small hole and drew lines every 30 degrees (using a protractor).
Each line represented an hour on the clock dial. I made all these lines on the backside of the clock, and used them as references later when placing the clock numbers.
Here’s a picture showing the rear of the clock with the 30-degree guidelines I made using my protractor (the black thing in the center is the clock mechanism):
Routing a Hole for the Clock Mechanism
I had purchased a clock mechanism to insert into the circular board. It’s a square device that sits at the back of the clock, protruding through the center where the hands are attached on the other side.
The part of the clock mechanism that runs through the board was not long enough to reach the other side (the ¾” board was too thick). So I had to route out a square notch for the mechanism to sit in.
To do this, I draw an outline of the mechanism on the rear of the clock and gave it a little bit extra space.
Then after some trial and error with some scrap wood, I determined an ideal depth for my router (about 5/16”). I used a ¾” straight cutting bit and carefully cut out the notch for the mechanism.
Here’s the rear of the clock with the notch routed out:
The clock construction was pretty much complete at this point. It just needed to be painted.
Painting the DIY Clock
The hardest part of the project was painting the clock because I couldn’t decide on the color. I actually painted the clock three times before I was satisfied with the color.
For the actual paint, I used acrylic paint from the craft store. Just the regular little bottles of paint that are usually fifty cents. The bigger bottles probably would have worked better but I always use what I have.
Another reason I liked to use this paint was that it was so easy to paint over when I changed my mind.
Finally, I settled on a chalkboard black paint color. I used black with a little bit of white mixed in – and then I kind of brushed in more black or white, to make it look like a chalkboard.
I painted the top of the clock and the side – no need for the back.
Here’s the DIY wooden clock drying:
I hung it over the mantel to see how it looked, and this time (haha) it passed the test. Third time’s a charm!
Drawing on the Clock Numbers
I bought a couple of chalk paint markers and paint pen markers at the store. However, when I got home and opened them, none of them worked – so I had to make do with what I had. And, that was plain ole regular chalk.
I used the marks I made on the back and tried to center my numbers around them.
The nice part about using the chalk was that if I wasn’t happy with the number I drew, I just erased it.
In fact, I rewrote the numbers so many times that chalk started smearing on the face of the clock. It contributed to the chalky look, so I didn’t mind one bit.
I also printed out these Roman Numerals so I couldn’t make any mistakes.
Here’s the clock hanging on the wall with the final Roman numerals drawn on.
Last, I painted the clock hands whitish gray, as a last-minute change from the stark black we bought them in.
Adding the Clock Hands
After it was painted, I inserted the clock kit mechanism, and the clock hands were attached to the other side. Here is the finished clock:
Time & Cost
This DIY project took a couple of hours and cost less than $15. That fifteen dollars went toward the clock kit and the wood. The paint and chalk were from around the house.
If you are thinking of making your own clock – or if you have a love for clocks like I do, definitely make your own. You can use anything – it doesn’t even have to be a piece of wood.
I’m so thrilled to have my hubby’s old clock off the mantel and replaced with this one! It brings a more modern element to the room – and it’s fun seeing my handwriting on a huge clock!
I love all your wood projects and this clock is fantastic!
Awww thanks so much Anam!:)
I’ve always thought it would be fun to make a clock, I’ve seen the mechanism at Michael’s, but just never thought I could. This is a great tutorial, thank you for sharing. Love how your clock turned out.
Aww thanks so much Sarah! Yes I hope you get a chance to make one – it was super fun!
Wow! What a great idea! I, too, am a sucker for wall clocks, but I never thought about trying to make my own. Now the wheels are turning… Thanks for the inspiration!
Haha yesss! You could make your own with anything so long as you can a clock kit!:)
Wow! Your clock iis a beautiful way to start a Christmas tradition. You did an incredible job.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much, Meegan! 🙂
Your clock turned out great. Joining two boards together to make one big clock is brilliant. The black and white gives it a chalkboard feel too. Love it!
Thanks so much Toni! Yesss the chalkboard feel is so fun!
Very cute idea!
I love this, Eileen! It’s much more unique than a store bought version. The hand drawn Roman numerals are the perfect touch. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thanks so much, Rebecca! It was fun to make and we are loving the way it looks!
So cool! It looks great with your decor!
Thanks Jessica:) We are loving it!
Goodness how cute is this clock??? And I love anything that is customizable!!
Thanks Lidia!! It was pretty fun to make – after I figured out what color I wanted ha!
What a fun DIY. I love that you used chalkpaint so you could actually change out the times to different styles if you wanted.
Thanks Laura! It’s actually just regular black acrylic paint. The chalk wipes on and off of it no problem! 🙂
I don’t know what it is about clocks but I LOVE them. This one turned out so cute… I love the rustic chalkboard kind of look… it would be a super cute present.