Introduction: How to Make a Custom Vinyl Record Clock

Tired of your analog being analogous to every other clock on the market?  Sick of those stacks of records you just have lying around the house?  Well worry no more!  With the same amount of time and money as seeing a movie on Saturday night, you can create a fun and unique timepiece that will bring some funky flair to your bland walls.  Whether you are an experienced hobbyist or a novice tinkerer, this project will prove to be both challenging and enjoyable!

Step 1: Materials Needed

Total Cost: ~ $10

1. Vinyl record X 2
2. Superglue or hot-glue
3. Acryllic paint
4. Clock

Optional Materials (Not Pictured)

1. Numbers 
2. Decorative adornments
3. Plain white paper

*Tips - If this is your first time working with vinyl, I recommend having several spare records on hand in case you mess up.  These are cheap and can be found at about any thrift shop.  I also suggest using superglue as opposed to a hot-glue gun as the heat from the gun can distort the vinyl.  

Step 2: Tools Needed

1) Paint brush
2) Pen or marker
3) X-acto knife
4) Heat knife or wood burning tool
5) Screwdriver
6) Pliers

Optional Tools (Not Pictured)

1) Sandpaper

*Tips - If you do not have access to a heat knife or wood burning tool, you can either heat the blade of an X-acto knife with a lighter or warm up the record in the oven prior to cutting.  This second option can be done by heating the oven to 200-250°F and placing the record on the middle rack for a couple seconds at a time.

Step 3: Disassemble the Clock

1) Using the screwdriver, remove the screws from the back of the clock.  

*Tips - Depending on how many screws your clock has, they can be saved and later glued to the face of your record to act as replacement numbers.

Step 4: Disassemble the Clock (continued)

2) After the screws have been taken out, use the pliers to remove the clock hands and gearbox

*Tips - Be careful when removing the clock hands as they can be bent easily.  If this happens, just bend them back into place using the pliers. 

Step 5: Paint the Clock Hands and Background

1) Using the brush and acrylic paint, apply a coat of your color of choice to both the second record and the clock hands.  Doing this step early in the process will allow the paint to dry while you finish the remainder of the clock.

*Tips - You can use various types of paint for this step.  I chose acrylic paint because I like the brushed texture it leaves on both the background and the hands.  However, not all types of paints will apply well to the materials used in this project so be sure to read the label before purchasing!

Step 6: Create the Design

1) After you set the background and hands aside to dry, sketch your desired design onto the record using a pen or marker.  Colored sharpies work especially well for this.

*Tips- Try first creating your design on plain white paper and then laying the cutout on the record.  The white paper will allow you to trace your design while also visualizing what the finished product will look like.

Step 7: Cut the Vinyl

*Warning* - Wood burning tools and heat knives can heat up to temperatures that exceed 1000°F.  Please use extreme caution when performing this step.

1) Now that your design has been transferred to the record, begin to slowly cut out your pattern with the wood burning tool.

*Tips - Make sure to place something beneath the record to prevent the knife from damaging your worktop.  If you are using one of the alternative methods discussed in the "Tools" section, it is best to alternate moderate heating of the record/knife with cutting and cooling to prevent the vinyl from warping.

Step 8: Remove the Rough Edges

*Caution* - If your design involves intricate details and cuts, it may be necessary to get your fingers near the knife blade when removing rough edges.  Be sure to take caution when doing this and remember to always cut AWAY from your body.

1) Remove any burrs or rough edges left from the previous step by carefully cutting them off with the X-acto Knife.  

*Tips - Working the blade in a sawing motion can help to remove stubborn burrs without applying too much pressure to the knife.  This will reduce your chances of slipping and accidentally injuring yourself.  If your design does not involve too many tight corners or cuts, it may be possible to use sandpaper to complete this step.

Step 9: Assemble the Clock

1) Using the superglue, glue the cut record to the painted record

*Tips - Lay the cut record face down on your work surface and apply the glue to the backside.  This will help you to avoid placing glue on cutout portions, while also making it easier to align the two records.  If using a hot glue gun for this step, avoid contacting the vinyl with the metal tip of the gun.  

Step 10: Assemble the Clock (continued)

2) Attach the clock mechanism (removed in Step 4) to the backside of your record by placing a few drops of superglue on the gearbox and pressing it against the record.

*Tips - Be sure to orient the top of the clock mechanism with the top of your clock's design.  

Step 11: Assemble the Clock (continued)

*Optional Step

3) If you so desire, attach any numbers, markings, or decorations to the face of your clock.

*Tips - This is a great opportunity to recycle those screws from Step 3!

Step 12: Assemble the Clock (continued)

4) Reattach the clock hands to the mechanism by popping them into place

*Tips - The clock hands might not fit the first time due to excess paint on the mounting ring.  To solve this, simply scrape it off using the X-acto knife.  

Step 13: Brag!

*Warning* - Extreme jealousy may ensue from your friends with less awesome time keeping devices.  Proceed at your own risk.

1) If you have followed the instructions properly, at this point you should have an awesome wall clock much like the one seen above.  If you instead have mangled pile of vinyl and clock scraps, try again!  Browse the "*Tips" icon on each step to see if there is  a step or two you overlooked.  This is a fun home project and not everybody will master it on their first go.