Introduction: Pin Clock

About: The V&A Museum in South Kensington, London is the world's greatest museum of art and design, with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. Discover 3000 years' worth of amazing artefacts, including…
Make this clever pin clock following the step-by-step instructable by our HSBC Designer in Residence Lao Jianhua.

You can read about Lao Jianhua's residency in his Blog:

Victoria & Albert Museum
London, UK

Step 1: You Will Need...


- 14 map/push pins
- A piece of soft wood (eg. pine). It could be any size as long as it's about 3 cm deep
- Small, battery-powered, clock mechanism. You can get clock parts from craft stores, speciality
stores, 'Pound' stores, the internet, or you may want to recycle an old one, like we did for this
- 1 battery


- Ruler
- Pencil
- Hammer
- Saw
- Screwdriver
- Drill or chisel and hammer to carve a hole in the wood

Step 2: Disassemble the Clock

If, like us, you are re-using an old clock, carefully dismantle the whole unit.

Step 3: Draw a Square

Decide what size your Pin Clock is going to be and draw a square of that size on your piece of wood.

Cut it to size using the saw.

Step 4: Find the Centre

Find the centre of your piece of wood by drawing two diagonal lines from opposite corners.

Step 5: Draw an Outline

Place the clock mechanism on top of the wood, trying to match the centre of the wood with the centre of the mechanism.

Draw around the mechanism to create an outline.

Step 6: Drill a Hole

Using an electric drill or a screwdriver, make a hole in the centre of your piece of wood.

(in this image, we haven't cut the square out of the bigger piece of wood [Step 3] yet!)

Step 7: Hollow Out a Space for Your Mechanism

Hollow out some of the wood from within the outline you drew in Step 5.

Do not remove all the wood, but remove enough to house the clock mechanism so it sits flat within the carved area.

You should leave about 3 mm of wood. You can use the hole you made in Step 6 as a guide so you don't carve too much.

Step 8: Mark the Places for the Pins

Download and print the pattern at the bottom of this page.

Put it on top of the wood and mark the 12 points where the pins will go.

Step 9: Insert the Pins

Insert each of the 12 pins on the marks that you previously drew.

Step 10: Insert the Mechanism

Insert the clock mechanism into the hole that you carved.

Insert the battery.

Step 11: Assemble the Hands

Assemble the clock hands.

Make sure that they don't bend.

Place them pointing to the 12 o'clock pin (middle top).

Step 12: Use Two Pins to Create a Support

Use 2 pins at the back of the clock to create a support.

Alternatively, you could drill another hole and hang it on the wall.

Step 13: Voila!

Adjust the hands to the current time and you are ready to tell the time.

Step 14: Variation

Here's a variation using a bigger piece of wood and metal pins.