Introduction: Cigar Box Memory Clock

Picture of Cigar Box Memory Clock

I made a clock out of a cigar box for my wife's parents for Christmas, using pictures of their children (4) when they were very young, 50-60 years ago. The box can also be used as a small storage container for keys, change, or whatever.....

Unfortunately, the one I made as the Christmas gift is several hundred miles away now, and I wasn't aware of the contest when making it - so I tried to re-create the process for this Instructable. The actual finished product is pictured on the "intro page."

Step 1: Basic Materials

Picture of Basic Materials

Following is a list of the basic materials used to construct this instructable:

> Wooden Cigar Box
> Clock mechanism (available at most hobby shops)- i.e., for less than $4 @ Michael's w/coupon
> Pictures of children, the size where they can be cut into 1" circles (for primary clock numbers)
> Dowel rod long enough to be cut into 8 pieces the depth of the box top (around 1/4" each)
> Polyurethane for finishing the cigar box
> Stain or paint, to finish the ends of the small dowels (for the non-picture clock numbers)
> Small felt pads to be placed on bottom of box/clock to protect furniture
> Glue to adhere the pictures and small dowels

Step 2: Basic Tools

Picture of Basic Tools

Following are the tools required (and some might be optional) for this project:

> Drill or drill press with appropriate sized bits for drilling the hole for the clock mechanism, picture numbers, and dowel numbers (I used 3/8" for the dowel holes and the clock mechanism; while using a 1" wood spade bit for the shallow picture holes- could possibly use a Fortsner bit)
> Scissors or 1" paper punch for cutting the pictures into circles
> Paint or foam brush for adding color (stain or paint) to the dowel pieces and applying the polyurethane finish
> Steel wool or fine sandpaper for use between polyurethane coats
> Measuring devices- I used a tape measure and a carpenter's square
> Might need a small/tack hammer to insert the dowels

Step 3: Center and Drill Hole for Clock Mechanism

Picture of Center and Drill Hole for Clock Mechanism

Using the measuring device of your choice, determine and mark the center of the cigar box top. Once done, go ahead and drill a hole for the clock mechanism according to the instructions on the package (but don't install this yet.... you'll do that later).

Step 4: Prepare "slight" Holes for Placement of the Pictures

Picture of Prepare "slight" Holes for Placement of the Pictures

With the 1" wood spade bit, drill a slight hole for the pictures. There were 4 children, so the pictures will be placed in the primary clock number positions (12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00). Depending on the size of the box, drill the holes 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches from the center hole...... basically whatever distance looks good to you and is symmetrically positioned (@ 90 degree positioning) for accurate time keeping.

Remember these 4 holes are very low-profile- maybe 1/32". This is to allow each picture to be flush with the box top when installed.

Step 5: Drill Holes for Dowel Placement

Picture of Drill Holes for Dowel Placement

Using the same diameter of bit, as is the diameter of the dowels, drill 8 holes completely through the top of the cigar box (for the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11), symmetrically placed 30 degrees apart- again for time keeping accuracy.

Step 6: Cut Pictures Into 1" Circles

Picture of Cut Pictures Into 1" Circles

Using scissors, cut each of the 4 pictures 1" in diameter, so as to fit in the 4 low-profile holes. You might try to find an object this diameter and trace the 1" circle onto the picture prior to cutting. I was fortunate, as a neighbor who does quite a bit of "scrap booking," had a 1" paper punch I was able to use.

While this might have been "over-kill," the pictures were laminated prior to cutting the circles and installing in the holes.

Step 7: Glue the Pictures Into Place

Picture of Glue the Pictures Into Place

Using only a slight layer of glue, position and glue the 4 pictures into place.

Step 8: Prepare and Install the Dowels

Picture of Prepare and Install the Dowels

Cut dowel into 8 pieces, the depth of the box top. You can use any number of tools; I used large metal cutters and gave the ends a quick sanding. Not having any stain that contrasted the cigar box enough, I used black paint to color the ends of the dowels.

After allowing them to dry overnight, I installed the dowels with only a little glue in the 8 non-picture clock number positions. Be sure to use the same diameter of dowel as the holes drilled in the box top. If a little tight, you might want to use a small hammer, such as a tack hammer to position the dowels flush with the top.

Step 9: Finish the Cigar Box With Polyurethane

Picture of Finish the Cigar Box With Polyurethane

Apply 3 or 4 coats of polyurethane with a foam brush, allowing it to thoroughly dry between applications. Prior to applying each subsequent coat, lightly sand with fine sandpaper or steel wool.

Step 10: Install Clock Mechanism

Picture of Install Clock Mechanism

Into the previously drilled hole in the center of the cigar box top, install the clock mechanism in accordance to the instructions on the package.

Step 11: Install Felt Tabs

Picture of Install Felt Tabs

Place 4 felt tabs, near the corners of the bottom of the box to preserve the furniture where the clock is placed.

Step 12: And With a Little Luck......

Picture of And With a Little Luck......

....... there will be a smile on the in-laws' faces.....


omnibot (author)2009-01-06

That is really cute.

Fasteners (author)2009-01-05

Thats really nice, especially for parents.. I hope they enjoyed it!

About This Instructable




More by volndawgville:Cigar Box Memory Clock
Add instructable to: