Introduction: Making a Can Lid Clock

About: Human who loves learning from others and sharing what she knows

I wanted a clock in my house that represented my personal style. Something that I had made. It was a project that I worked on alone even keeping it pretty much secluded from my maker group at the local library. We had taken apart an old clock that I had purchased at a thrift store, much to the dismay of the clerk who said you can bring it back with in 3 days if it doesn't work. I responded that I would not need to bring it back, I would be tearing it apart. So the hands were removed and I set about beginning my project.

Here is what you will need....

Small mouth can flats
Sand Paper
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush
Adhesive Numbers
Floral Wire
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Something for the base

Step 1: Preparing the Can Lids

I chose to use new can lid flats. You could use some that have been used before if they have been gently removed, but to make sure they weren't bent, I chose to use new ones. Now it is time to take these innocent little can lids and rough 'em up. I used medium grain sandpaper and ran it across the surface of the lid to give the paint some texture to which to adhere.

Step 2: Painting the Base Coat

This one took some trial and error. I had tons of the type of acrylic paint that I use to paint ceramics. This paint has served me well on may projects but not this one. In my first attempt, I painted the lids and let them set over night. This paint dries quickly so there was plenty of time for it to dry. I found out this was not the best choice. Once the numbers were applied the base coat peeled off.

On my second attempt, I used artist quality acrylic paint. Following the same pattern as before I got much better results.

I also chose to paint mine different colors for each lid. I wanted this project to be colorful and fun.

Step 3: Applying the Numbers

Adhesive number are harder to find than letters. Found this out the hard way, went shopping at several locations with a little bit of luck but not a lot. You could find sheets of numbers for mail boxes, down side, you had to cut them out with scissors, a rather time consuming process or you could find small ones that wouldn't really work for a clock. I chose to put in the cutting time so I could actually see the time from across the room.

Once I cut them out, it was simple peel and stick.

Step 4: Painting the Top Coat

Once the numbers are applied, you can paint over them. You could used the less expensive paint for the top coat. That would be fine. I chose to use the artist's quality again simply because it was handy. I tried to use contrasting colors to make the numbers pop once the stickers are peeled off.

Step 5: Show Me the Numbers

Once the top coat of painted, give it a little bit of drying time and peel off the numbers. You don't want the paint to completely dry or the stickers might not come off. They might need a little coaxing but the peel off pretty easily.

Step 6: What to Do, What to Do???

I tried several different things for the "base" of the clock. I even went as far as cutting apart a tomato cage and trying to use it. That would have worked but I didn't have any place to attach the clock works. It would have just been a circle with numbers attached to it. I tried a couple of things with that attempt to create a center bracket for this piece.

One day I was in the dollar store and I was walking down the seasonal isle. I looked to my left and low and behold I saw the perfect thing. (You can add a bright light and angel music here if you would like). A grill topper. A buck fifty would solve this problem and I might add, give it an industrial look which appeals to my sensitivities.

Honestly, this was probably the hardest part of this entire project.

Step 7: Attaching the Clock Works..

The scavenged clock works were placed on the base. The person who had rescued them for me had taken such care of them and I of course bent the second hand when trying insert them into the clock.

The grill topper had a small bow in it. So the battery part of the clock works went on the concave side. The hands themselves went on the convex side.

Step 8: How Do I Attach the Lids to the Clock???

Now I have some colorful can lids, I have something to attach them to, question is... "How"

I took a couple advanced piece of equipment called a hammer and nail. I hammer two holes into each can lid.

Next I took wire cutters and cut off a small piece of floral wire and ran it through the holes in the can lid and wrapped it around the grates in the grill topper and twisted it with needle nosed pliers until it was firmly secured.

Step 9: Time to Make a Finished, Working Clock

I started with the 12 and the 6. Then I added the 3 and the 9. This was the most assured way that I could get the numbers on the clock "face" correctly. It was not without a couple of tries was I was too close to quit now. So patiently, I reworked until I got it just right.

Step 10: The Finished Project/Product

And voilà have a working clock, made from can lids, recycles clock works, paint and some wire.

It is fun, easy and now it's TIME to make your very own.


Thanks for sneaking a peek!!