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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trash to Treasure Clock Tutorial

Electric Clock Re purposing
Before & After

Quite a change, huh?   So, as many of you know that I'm part of an online group called Junk Market Style and as a contributor as well as a member of this great group, I am suppose to be creating projects to post on this site.  I am asked to do primarily jewelry posts, but can do whatever else strikes my fancy as well.  This project in this blog is something that I created for the "French Flea" shop to sell for last weeks sale.  So what to do with it now?

Shown displayed for sale at the French Flea of Anoka
I found this old electric clock one day while searching for cool items to re purpose and sell at our shop, and it just so happen to be additionally marked down too.  I had seen my dear friend, Janis blog about something similiar she'd done with an old clock, and she'd seen it somewhere else, and thus I changed mine up to make it my design.  As an artisian, I don't ever want to copy someone's work, but may find inspiration or an idea that they've used and then try to make it my own.  So here we go, this is what I did:

This is why I did it.  The electric cord was literally fried.  Useless at this point.

This clock had nice brass features.  The base, the top piece and the trim ring are all brass.  First thing I did was unscrew all of the screws on the bottom brass piece, which then let me get to the wood portion that I wanted to spray paint white.

This is the top decorative brass piece removed off the clock. 

There were also two screws in the back, which is what held the clock mechanism and glass domed piece as well as the clock face onto the clock case.  There was also a cool brass i.d. tag on the back held on by a few brass brads, so I pried them up carefully and put the i.d. tag aside as well.  What I was left with was an empty clock case, the mechanism & glass front, and misc. brass parts.

Empty clock case

Misc. pieces

Notice the long screw posts?  That is what held it all into the clock case.

While it was still Fall, I took the clock case outside and elevated so that I could more easily spray paint the top as well as the edges at the same time.  After drying, I turned it over and repeated this process and spayed the back of the case as well. 

 I was left with a nice solid coat of white spray paint on the clock case.  Too nice, for me, so I grabbed a piece of sand paper to have at it.

With a bit of strokes here and a bit of strokes there, my sand paper did its job and you will note on the final photos that there is just the right amount of distressing done on the clock.

Next up, take your glass prism and clean it really well with soap and water.  Dry thoroughly than lay it over top of an image you want to use for the clock.  I found a vintage postcard photo that was in my stash of images I'd purchased on a DVD off ebay, and made it big enough to cut out the size of my circle piece of glass.  Trace it with pencil and proceed to cut it out.  Make sure the image fits accurately inside the glass piece. 

I chose to carefully attach the image onto a piece of card board backing (like off a notebook) and cut it in the circle as well, which then fit snug inside the rim.  I also added some white glue to areas that I wanted to add glitter to, such as the snowballs, and the young girls hat.  Let the glue and glitter dry real well.  After drying you may then glue the brass rim carefully around the back edges right to the hole in front of your clock where it originally came from.

Screw the brass piece on top and base back into their respective locations and carefully add the i.d. tag back to the clock case if applicable.

You may now add the frosting to the cake.  My frosting was quite simple.  The glitter I had originally added to the snow balls and the young girls hat, and than added this black diamond (grey) Swarovski crystal with gold vintage jewelry element to the top corner for a little extra touch.

The finished project.

Tools used:
screw driver
sand paper
spray paint
photo copied image
white glue
bling - jewels


  1. Wow, I will never look at the old clocks the same again! I usually pass them up, but not anymore. I love what you have done and the project looks easy. Thanks for showing us how to do it.

  2. Great project, Gretchen! And fabulous step-by-step photos!!


  3. Hello dearie! I am so loving this idea. I did see Janis' version too and loved it as well! And the beauty of it is you have a clock face that will look great all by itself! Love the paint job on the "new" version, the picture, glitter, etc.! FUN project you smart girl! Happiest of holidays to you my friend and I look forward to seeing you in 2010! Andrea

  4. Okay, girlie, girl. And you haven't put this on JMS why? It turned out great, love the glitter embellishments, too, and I think you should share it with more people! And unfortunately it' still winter, so the theme is perfecto! So go submit, k?


  5. I bought that clock and it looked amazing in my Christmas display!!

  6. Hey Marlene thanks so much for letting me know you bought it and loved it with your holiday displays. So fun to hear. I'm thinking you could use it all Winter and not just for Christmas.
    It was a fun project and will be posted soon on the Junk Market site as well for inspiration for others to try.
    Happy shopping at the French Flea.

  7. Thanks Sissie, Andrea,Amy and Lani for your sweet encouragement. The idea was from a post Janis did on Junk Market, and she found it elsewhere on the web, so who knows whom originally thought this up, but what a fun re purpose of something that was someone's else's cast offs and now is a pretty in Marlene's home.


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