Introduction: DIY Antique Clock

A piece of medium density fibreboard (MDF) was used for the face, and battery-operated hands are widely available in various styles. Although it looks complicated, the ship design is traced and the central compass is drawn with ruler and compasses. Perhaps the most difficult feature is the free-hand lines, and you should practice this on scrap paper before you begin. The face has been given a royal look by giving it an "antique" finish by a final coat of two-stage crackle varnish.

You will need

>Clockface and hands and movement

>Acrylic primer/undercoat


>Brushes for base coat and varnish- 2.5-4 cm (I-1.5 in.)

>Emulsion (latex) paint- yellow

>Square of the card, 25 by 25 cm (10 by 10 in.)

>Pair of compasses

>Ruler and pencil



>Artists' acrylic paint- Payne's grey, raw sienna, Venetian red and white

>Design brush- no.4

>Short coachliner- no. 1

>Tracing paper

>Masking tape

>Graphite tracing-down paper

>Crackle varnish (optional)

>Oil-based varnish

>Artist's oil paint- raw umber

>White (mineral) spirit

Step 1:

Seal the MDF with a coat of acrylic primer/undercoat and, when dry, sand it lightly. Apply a coat of yellow emulsion paint.

Step 2:

Draw a circle, 25cm (10 in.) in diameter, on the card. draw a line through the circle, and mark off sections every 30 degrees with a protractor. join the marks to give 12 sections. Subdivide sections by marking off 6 degrees to give the minutes. Cut out the card.

Step 3:

Mark the central points of each side of the clock face. Position the clock dial centrally, aligning the 3,6,9 and 12 o'clock points. Draw around the card and transfer the hour and minute measurements to the clock face.

Step 4:

Use Payne's grey and a coachliner to paint in the circle. Paint a second circle, 3 mm (1 by 8 in.), outside the first, and between the two, paint in the minute and hour marks.

Step 5:

Draw in the numerals with a pencil before painting them in. Mark the line starting at the top left of the Xs and Vs as thick as the upright line of the ls.

Step 6:

Draw a pencil line from 9 to 3 and a vertical line from 12 to 6. Place your protractor at the intersection and mark off 45 degrees between each line. Join these points through the center. Find a point about 2.5 cm (1 in.) from the center on each line and join this point to the top of the adjacent lies to form an eight-pointed star.

Step 7:

Use raw sienna to paint in the star compass, remembering to identify the imaginary light source before you do so.

Step 8:

With a coachliner and raw sienna, paint a circle outside the dial. Outline the whole clock face, following the arc at the top and joining the lines between the top corners.

Step 9:

Trace the ship and shooting star motifs and use tracing down-paper to transfer them to the clock face. Paint in the shooting stars at every corner, making the stars darker than their tails.

Step 10:

Use diluted raw sienna to paint in the ship, moon, and sun. Paint the sails in white and add shadows with a little Payne's grey.

Step 11:

Mix some Venetian red into the raw sienna and make the paint a little thicker to add more shadows to the ship. Leave the paint to dry.

Step 12:

If you use crackle varnish, apply the first, oil-based coat. Use the varnish sparingly, spreading it out from the center before reloading your brush. Leave it to become tacky, Which can take from 1 to 4 hours.

Step 13:

Press the varnish lightly with your fingers. It should feel almost dry but your fingers will feel a slight tackiness. Apply the second, water-based coat over the whole surface. While this coat is wet, massage it lightly to have it adhere to the first coat. Stop when the varnish begins to pull against your fingers and feels almost dry.

Step 14:

Leave it to dry for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight. Take care that the second coat does not come in contact with water. Apply gentle heat to encourage the varnish to crack.

Step 15:

To patinate the clock face squeeze about 10 mm (1 by 2 in.) of oil paint onto the surface. Do not use acrylic paint, which will remove the finish. Dampen a piece of kitchen towel with white spirit and use a circular motion to spread the paint over the whole clock face. Use a tchen towel to wipe off any excess.

Step 16:

Different pigments in oil paint dry at different rates. Raw umber dries in about 24 hours, but some colours take longer. When you are sure the paint is dry seal the surface with an oil-based varnish.


> If the crackle varnish does not come out as you hoped, remove the top, Water-based coat by washing it off. You can then start again with the first coat of varnish without damaging the underlying painting.

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