Introduction: Jar Clock

Picture of Jar Clock

Here is a fun and easy way to make an unusual clock for your desk, office or just around the house.

This project took me about 30 minutes to make and cost less then $5.

I'll admit, it is hard to read the time, but it;s a great conversation starter, and looks neat and different at the same time.

I hope you enjoy (sorry for the poor photos), please leave suggestions and comments below.

PLEASE NOTE: I got this idea from I am not taking credit for coming up with this idea. Just showing you how to make one yourself.

Etsy Jar Clock

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

You don't need much for this project, most things can be found around the house.

Materials and tools:

Glass Jar
Numbers (stickers)
Paint (optional)
tape (optional)
Quartz clock mechanism
Dremmel (optional)

I used a jar I found around the house. The clock mechanism came from a clock I found at a dollar store. The number stickers I found in a stationary shop.

Step 2: Fitting the Clock to the Jar

Picture of Fitting the Clock to the Jar

Make sure the mouth of the jar is big enough to fit the clock base. I had to use my dremmel to take a little off the corners to make it fit.

I ended up just wedging the clock into the jar, and did not need to use any adhesives.

You can attach the base to the lid, but remember, you will not be able to turn the lid (think of a square peg in a round hole)

I also thought of using the dremmel to take the threads off the lid, and just snap the lid on (no turning needed)

IMPORTANT: you want to find a jar that has a circumference close to that of the mouth. If not you will have a hard time getting the clock hands in (and close to the wall)

Step 3: Adding the Numbers

Picture of Adding the Numbers

I used the 12, 3, 6 and 9 points for my clock.  I used a piece of masking tape as a guide, and the seams on the jar as a point of reference for the center.

It may not look centered but after measuring, I was only off by 2 mm's

Step 4: Bending the Hands

Picture of Bending the Hands

Next, you want to bend the hands of the clock at a 90 degree angle. before you put it all together, make sure the hands to not come into contact with each other.

All my hands were black, so I painted the second hand red to make it stand out.

Step 5: Put It All Together

Picture of Put It All Together

Next, add your battery and insert the clock and lid into the jar. Job done.

I thought about adding an LED for viewing at night, or frosting the glass a little to make it easier to read.

I think next time I will use thinner numbers, as these ones are pretty thick.

Anyway, enjoy and I hope you liked this Instructable.  Please comment and rate

PLEASE NOTE: I got this idea from I am not taking credit for coming up with this idea. Just showing you how to make one yourself.

Etsy Jar Clock



MicioGatta (author)2014-09-22

Great! This is cool!!

scooter76 (author)MicioGatta2014-09-23

Cheers. It's fun trying to watch folk try to tell time on it for the first time.

redorchestra (author)2011-07-10

If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do...

peyton14 (author)redorchestra2012-05-15

hmmm.take it upside down and makes you younger? Best mothers day present ever!(IF it makes you yuonger

9ale7 (author)2011-05-22

Outstanding !!
excellent work

fedora98 (author)2011-05-14

To make the hands more visible at night, you could dip the hands in glow in the dark paint.

scooter76 (author)fedora982011-05-18

Very Good idea, will do so on next model. Cheers

lukethebook333 (author)2010-09-19

Where do you find the stickers that are black on both sides?

meshrammanish07119028 (author)2010-04-29

hey dude!
nice idea of making a clock inside a jar...

well i think you can make it more visible by increasing the diameter of the jar
as the linear distance every hand makes is directly propotional to the diameter of the jar...

do the math
and you can get an adequate clock
readability can be improved by decreasing the size of the numbers

and yeah
not everyone has this clock so take pride in saying that this one is yours...

see ya!

chickenlegss (author)2010-04-25

Very simple to make, thanks.

moapz (author)2010-04-19

wowww. that's great idea
thank you.
i create it for my girlfriend birthday.

hassi (author)2010-04-16

Aces!  Tops!  Best Instructable EVER!  OK...Not "ever."  But pretty darned close to it...

Super job...This will make Solstice gifting sooooo much easier.

Huge obsequious thanks...

claudiapatx (author)2010-04-15

This is so to make one now! Think I'll add a little something to the end of each hand so I can see better...really neat clock though!

hogtowner (author)2010-04-15

Great idea.  Great Instructable.  And thanks for paying homage to where it is from.
Might I suggest smaller numbers all 'round?  Since it is a decoration piece, use just the hour hand like the first clocks ever made.  So you can see quarter past 1, half past 6 or quarter to 3.
Maybe put a smaller jar, hot glued inside with sand to isolate the hand from the background.

kelseymh (author)2010-04-11

Just a minor nit-pick on Step 4 -- those are 90 degree angles :-)

pedla (author)kelseymh2010-04-15

as per the instructions:-nit-pic your nit-pic

kelseymh (author)pedla2010-04-15

The author properly edited the text of Step 4 to correct that error.

pedla (author)2010-04-15

Elephants on acid, how many tabs does that take? I;m sure Billy Connely could do a great gig about that

sagearbor (author)2010-04-15

   If you replaced the hands with long triangles it might make the clock easier to read.  There would be depth so you could see if the hand is point toward you or away.

elladan99 (author)2010-04-15

great 'ible! you are right, it would look better with the glass frosted but this looks pretty nice.

robot797 (author)2010-04-14

put a 5 wat light ulp in there and put on celing you got yourself a cheap projection clock

ilmubebaspakai (author)2010-04-13

dude, i think it's cool.
there are several ways to make it better.
1. make the pointers outside the jar. Use fiber material.
2. Put some colored gel inside and LED
3. Attached a different color led to the center of the pointers.
4. Make the housing so you can put it on your ceiling.
this way you don't need to make rotating jar clock. it would quadruple your coolness if you do that :D

keep it up...!

Ward_Nox (author)2010-04-13

cool idea but i think I have a better idea how to do it

id make it so the pointer was static but the jar rotates

Warlrosity (author)2010-04-12


connawhite (author)Warlrosity2010-04-12

very funny :O

scooter76 (author)connawhite2010-04-12

Ha, no longer a child friendly project. will have to use 5 and 8 now

zascecs (author)2010-04-11

Pretty neat, but I have to agree that it does look a little hard to read. I think I'll just stick with the standard digital/analog clocks... 

scooter76 (author)zascecs2010-04-12

This clock does make you use your brain, and sadly somedays we can't be bothered, but I'm getting use to it.

Thanks for the positive comment.


swingline (author)2010-04-11

I think it would be interesting to try to use a very light plastic jar and fix the jar on the hour hand. That way (hopefully) the clock could rotate the jar so the hour is always in front. The minutes would be relative to the front of the jar though not 12 as usual but that's not too big of a deal. Good 'structable though.

Lance Mt. (author)swingline2010-04-12

 How about a attaching the lid to a solid tripod? Or a larger jar? That was you'd have the jar roatating.

have lots of jars. the smaller the jars get, the increments of time gets. you'd have a seconds jar, a minutes jar, a hour jar etc. That would be cool. 

scooter76 (author)Lance Mt.2010-04-12

I don't think the quartz mechanism would be strong enough, need something more industrial or change the gear ratio but it would be cool. Or you could just ad an insert (paper or clear plastic to rotate and keep the jar stationary. Again many possibilities

Lance Mt. (author)Lance Mt.2010-04-12

|    [CLOCK]   |
|           |           |
|           |           |
____   |  ____|

scooter76 (author)swingline2010-04-12

I don't think the quartz mechanism would be strong enough, need something more industrial or change the gear ratio but it would be cool. Or you could just ad an insert (paper or clear plastic to rotate and keep the jar stationary. Again many possibilities

Celt (author)2010-04-12

How about attach a clear circular strip to the hands with the numbers on it and leave a clear window to read the numbers through.  OHHHH the possibilities...........

Lance Mt. (author)2010-04-12

 Love it.

rtomson (author)2010-04-11

I love a good clock / watch mod.  This one is very inventive.  I find it a bit difficult to read the time though especially when the hands are on the other side of the jar... Thanks for posting!

Sunbanks (author)2010-04-11

Awesome! That looks nice, and it's so cool that you made this (: 

scooter76 (author)Sunbanks2010-04-11


mdeblasi1 (author)2010-04-11

The first guy to think of this idea was. . .

scooter76 (author)mdeblasi12010-04-11

Ha Ha, sweet

NachoMahma (author)2010-04-11

.  Nice job and a cool project.

scooter76 (author)NachoMahma2010-04-11


kelseymh (author)2010-04-11

You might want to make the URL an active hyperlink in your intro.  Go back to Edit, highlight the URL and copy it into your buffer (Ctrl/Cmd-C), then bring up the Link dialog box (either click the world-and-chain icon, or hit Ctrl/Cmd-L).  Paste the URL into the box (Ctrl/Cmd-V) and hit Ok.

scooter76 (author)kelseymh2010-04-11

Thanks for the comments and heads up. I have changed step 4 (was thinking to fast when  wrote it)

Still having the problem with the link, but will try again tomorrow.

Thanks again

Dr.Paj (author)2010-04-11

That is a good idea, but maybe you could get the jar to move while the hour hand stays stationary so you can tell what time it is between 1:00 and 8:00. Although that may be an entirely new instructable all together *hint hint*

This is just my addition to the project / new project idea (feel free to use my idea if you like it)

kcls (author)2010-04-11

Pretty cool! I just saw this as a forum topic the other day, and someone made it into an 'ible! Nice job.

kelseymh (author)2010-04-11

Very cool that somebody built this, and posted an instructable!

About This Instructable




Bio: Jack of all trades, master of none. Father, husband, creator.
More by scooter76:Maple Syrup EvaporatorGreen Tomato Raspberry JamPie Cake (3.14 - 3 pies in 1 cake = 4 desserts)
Add instructable to: