Introduction: Upcycled NOW Watch--Picture Frame on Your Wrist!

Picture of Upcycled NOW Watch--Picture Frame on Your Wrist!

A friend of mine saw this "always exactly accurate" watch online for $50 and asked me "do you think we could make this out of an old watch?"

This classy upcycled watch will inspire you to seize the day and fight any procrastinating spirit. "When should I ask that cute girl out on a date?" NOW. "I really should study for my test, but..." DO IT NOW. "If only I could quit my boring job and follow my dream of starting a successful online travel program that shows viewers how to visit exotic locations on the cheap" (this is what my friend who wanted the watch actually did. You can see his show at

Stop procrastinating; NOW is the time!

Even if you are not interested in making your wrist say "NOW," this instructable will show you how to turn your old, broken watches into wearable wrist picture frames.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

- precision flathead screwdriver
- pliers
- exacto knife

- broken or thrifted watch. This very manly leather-banded style is easy to find and great for guys!
- black foamcore
- "NOW" design (or whatever other graphic you want to put inside the watch). I've uploaded a page of "NOW"s in different sizes for you to print off and find the best fit for your watch.
- rubber cement

Step 2: Gut It!

Picture of Gut It!

Examine the back of your watch to see how to remove the backplate. Some have tiny screws, some you need to pry open. I have the pry open kind. After trying to get the back off for an hour, I realized that this watch was jammed shut far beyond my opening abilities. I took it to WalMart's jewelry section and the employee there opened it up for no charge.

Once you get the back off, carefully pull out the watch pins on the side and lift the whole time mechanism out of the watch body. Set aside for later disassembling.

My watch had a plastic band on the inside marking the 12, 3, 6, and 9 spots. I grabbed it with pliers, bent it back and forth a bit to loosen it up, and yanked it right out.

Now you have a beautiful, wearable picture frame ready to be filled!

Step 3: Cut Foamcore to Fit

Picture of Cut Foamcore to Fit

Cut a piece of foamcore down to snugly fit inside the back of the watch. Don't worry about cutting perfect rounded corners- just cut a rectangle and notch off the corners until the foamcore fits right in.

Step 4: Glue on Your Design and Wear Your Watch!

Picture of Glue on Your Design and Wear Your Watch!

Print out your design. If you are using my "NOW" sheet, put the paper on a table, move the glass watch frame on top of each "NOW" until you find the size you like. Cut out the best sized "NOW", leaving a generous amount of black space around it.

Brush rubber cement on one side of the foamcore and center the "NOW" on it. The easiest way to center the word on the foamcore is to hold the paper and foam up to a light, move the paper around until the word is in the right spot, and let the glue dry.

After drying, turn the paper and foamcore upside-down and cut the excess paper off with an exacto knife.

Fit the foamcore into the glass watch frame and put the backplate on. You may have to trim a bit of the height off the foamcore to get the backplate to lock back into place.

Wear your watch and get motivated!

Now that you have your watch gutted and the backplate loosened, it is easy to make interchangeable images on foamcore for the inside. You could change out the word or picture daily to match your mood or style and use your new, upcycled watch as a custom wearable picture frame!


saramahir (author)2015-01-09

Good post!
Have a look at Sykla smartwatches bought at

Todd Gehris (author)2014-07-27

Best watch I've ever seen. Great present for someone who needs to be reminded how to live in the moment.

Shantorian3d (author)2013-11-02

That is so cool--thanks for putting it out into the world! I would love to see a picture of the printed watch face.

BloodySugar (author)2012-03-20

Did this with a childrens watch. Turned out pretty great imo :D

That looks awesome! I love how colorful the band is on that watch.

awesomecreations (author)2013-01-19

I would like to make one with a broken digital watch and put an LED behind the face and use a pen over the parts of the "8"s so it says now but it will take people a bit longer and it should look more like a fully functional watch.

AussieAnglerGal (author)2012-09-24

haha awesome
if i can find my old watch i might just make this with something like "now" or "later"

Printy (author)2012-07-18

This is so cool! I'm going to make one!

HMice (author)2012-01-16

Love it!!!

GummiBear (author)2011-12-03

Sometimes i draw a watch on my arm and pt the time at 3:45 (when skool getz out) maybe someday ill do tht wit a reel watch? hmm...

chicopluma (author)2011-11-20

jaja cool

memyselfand1 (author)2011-11-20

My normal responses:
"Do you have the time?"
"Yes, I do."

"What is the time?"
"Time to get a watch."

I now have a legitimate excuse to say just "Now."
Thanks for this idea.

smileys (author)2011-11-09

You should see if you can keep the hands and instead of lots of numbers or roman numerals use the Pi symbol and put it on so that when the hour hand hits Pi the time is 3:14. Also you will have a new excuse to eat pie at either 3:14am or 3:14pm.


emilygraceking (author)smileys2011-11-14

What about putting pi signs in place of all the numbers so that it was always pie time? It wouldn't be very accurate for telling time, but my belly sure would enjoy it. :)

monsterlego (author)2011-11-08

If your a procrastinator can you make it say "later"?

Haha that is an awesome idea...or "NEVER" for super procrastinators?

Heehee, "the time is... never" :)

ilpug (author)monsterlego2011-11-08

I was wondering when someone would say that :P

flyingpuppy (author)2011-11-05

I'm so going to do this with my garden clock/thermometer that's broken. What should I put on the thermometer side? "Just right"?

jbecker8 (author)flyingpuppy2011-11-09

In the Summer: Be Thankful it's not Hotter.

In the Winter: Be Thankful it's not Colder.

Spring and Autumn: Be Thankful.

Probably Ambient

...Would be better I think, after all, what is just right? or maybe just


ilpug (author)KaptinScarlet2011-11-08

"weather" or "some degrees F" might work too.

I love that idea! What about "Beautiful Day"? I would love to see a picture when it is done.

paqrat (author)2011-11-08

If the dial is flat I think you could just carefully remove the hands and glue a picture or message directly to the dial. With the hands put back on you could have a functioning watch. (Assuming it worked before)

ilpug (author)2011-11-08

Iv'e got some old watches.... Will do this!

ibrahim kafoury (author)2011-11-08

Can I write NOW with ARABIC Lang.

That sounds beautiful...Arabic is so pretty :)

JannaU (author)2011-11-07

In russian I'd say : "Все гениальное - просто!". I just cant find proper translation to english. It kind of "All genious is simple!" or " All great things are simple!" Something like that. I wish i didn't throw away my broken watch :)

emilygraceking (author)JannaU2011-11-07

What a good saying!

JannaU (author)emilygraceking2011-11-08

ooopss! i wrote that in russian letters , but it came out as some formula. :)

ssoundflint (author)2011-11-08

Seen this in 1988 ... a guy who was about to get discharged from military ... he was seen wearing his watch that served him well over the years but got broken recently .. the sign was "The time is NOW!".

Harelros (author)2011-11-08

Great idea!
just finished making mine.

ckimbell (author)2011-11-07

I just made this. My watch also had a solid backing, so i searched it on google. A little prying and it came right off.

emilygraceking (author)ckimbell2011-11-07

Awesome! Thanks for sharing that link. Enjoy your new watch.

rrichardson-1 (author)2011-11-07

I think you could/should have left the black ring with the numbers in the frame for a full "clock" effect......just my $0.02

Leaving the black ring is a neat option for a bit of a different look. If you leave the black ring you can use the rectangular watch component as a template for cutting the foamcore which is very useful!

Mark AJA (author)2011-11-07

Draw on a peace of paper a circle.
Draw a line from the center of the circle to the top and a line from the center to the right. Stick the paper on the watch. It will now tell the correct time at 12:15am, 12:15pm, 3:00am and 3:00pm
Put the watch on upside down and it will tell the correct time at 9:30am, 9:30pm, 6:45am and 6:45pm. No batteries required.

merijnvw (author)2011-11-07

That's super! I will definately make this to replace my real watch when going out - I need to forget time some more

mischka (author)2011-11-07

What a cool idea! Love that watch! Always accurate... LOL

re.Create Design (author)2011-11-07

What a fabulously clever project!

Oppidum (author)2011-11-07

Waaaa!! I need one! xD

KaptinScarlet (author)2011-11-07

inspired... I love it

nnygamer (author)2011-11-05

Cute, when I saw the title I was thinking you had used a mini digital picture frame and put it in a watch.

emilygraceking (author)nnygamer2011-11-05

That is a great idea!

twix (author)2011-11-05

Great project!

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2011-11-04


About This Instructable




Bio: Quirky gifts, colorful paintings, detailed drawings, silly graphics--I do it all.
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