How to: Make a DIY Modern Silhouette Cuckoo Clock

By: Craftmel Feb 22, 2012

created at: 02/22/2012

In my bedroom I have a small, awkward wall.  Nothing fits there but my vintage library chair, and it has become the neglected space in the room. I recently decided that I needed a clock in my room; not just any run-of-the-mill time keeper, but one that would make my wall of woe a little more interesting while keeping with the modern feel of my bedroom.  I looked everywhere, and nothing was in my taste and in my small budget, so I decided to make exactly what I wanted. To make a modern wall clock like mine, just do as I did:

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Supply List:

  • Clock Kit with 4 1/2" minute hand (I bought the kit at Hobby Lobby, and then purchased longer hands separately)
  • Plywood, no thicker than the shaft of your clock kit, cut 20" square
  • Jig saw
  • Electric Sander, sandpaper
  • Paint Colors of choice
  • Ruler, pencil
  • Contact paper or vinyl
  • Exacto knife or electronic craft cutter

When I went hunting for plywood for this project, I knew I wanted something a little on the nicer side so it would take paint well and hang straight.  I was lucky and found the perfect piece in the cull bin at the hardware store for a whopping 51 cents! Somehow, I felt like this project was meant to be.

created at: 02/18/2012

I wanted the edges of my clock to be rounded to give the overall clock a softer look.  I used a can of dry oats to trace a nice curved edge on each corner.

created at: 02/18/2012

I carefully cut around each corner using a jig saw.  The edges were a little rough (I'm terrible with a jig saw), so I gave them a good sanding with an electric sander to get a cleaner edge. While you are at it, sand the front of your plywood with a fine grit sandpaper to get it nice and smooth.


created at: 02/18/2012

The plan was for my clock hands to be centered on my plywood, so I marked the center of the board and drilled a hole for my movement shaft at this point.  Depending on the image you are going to use, you may want to drill your hole later.

created at: 02/18/2012

Next, I painted the plywood the color I wanted my cuckoo clock .  I also made sure to paint the side edges of the clock too, since those will be visible on the wall.

created at: 02/18/2012

I cut out a silhouette image of a cuckoo clock using an electronic cutting machine and contact paper, but your image of choice could be done by hand as well using a craft knife, like Exacto. I actually cut two images- my first attempt was too small and I had to scale it larger to look good.  Learn from me: measure and do a mock-up first!. Carefully place the contact paper image on the plywood.  Make sure it is adhered really well along the edges so your next layer of paint doesn't bleed through.

created at: 02/18/2012

Now, add your second color of paint (I used leftovers from a laundry room project). Use as many coats as necessary, but be careful when painting around the contact paper edges.

created at: 02/18/2012

When the paint is dry, pull off your contact paper.  If you had a non-centered image, this is where you should carefully drill your hole and add any paint-touch ups from drilling. I had only one or two places that needed small amounts of touch-up paint around the image edge.  Since I had to do a few coats of blue paint, I gave the whole board a good sanding with a foam palm sander to get it smooth after my touch-ups had dried completely.

created at: 02/18/2012

The only thing left to do is start assembling your clock, following the directions on the kit.  Don't forget the battery!

created at: 02/18/2012

My clock part came with a hanger, so I simply put a nail in my wall and hung it up. 

created at: 02/22/2012

Now the sad blank space on my bedroom wall has a unique piece of functional art to adorn it.  The modern update to a classic cuckoo was just the right touch, especially since it pays homage to our Austrian and Scandinavian roots.  It is a bonus that it is the same color as everything else in my room, too...

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