Wall Clock Transformation

Introduction: Wall Clock Transformation

I recently found a seemingly nice wall clock by our local dumpster.  I took it home, cleaned it up and thought it would be a nice addition to our house.  My beautiful wife thought otherwise; the light colored wood and ugly face did not seem to match our decor in the house and she told me to toss it, I began to realize she was right.  But then I thought, why not fix it up and make it look like an antique?  My wife loves antiques, and maybe she'll want to hang it up somewhere!  Great idea!  So, if you have a hideous looking wall clock hanging somewhere and you want to upscale it into a masterpiece, follow this instructable!

Step 1: Things You Need

Things you need:
-Old clock to refinish, we happened to find ours at the local dumpster!
-Sandpaper of varying grits (60, 120, 220, 320; work your way up)
-Wood glue (any will work well)
-Some type of wood stain, whatever your preference (I chose Minwax,Red Mahogany)
-Couple of brushes (Purdy brushes are great, use natural fibers for a smooth, “bubble-less” finish)
-Mineral Spirits to wipe down sanded table, as well as clean brush
-Rubber gloves
-Various plastic sheets/blankets for easy cleanup
-Preferably a space dust-free to stain and finish
-Frost Glass spray paint (any local hardware store will have this)
-Exacto knife
-Dremel tool to sand between trim flutes (hand sanding will take forever!)
-Basic tools for take down of clock (screw drivers, etc.)
-About 2 days

Step 2: Disassembly

Step 1:
-Decide on a clock to refinish
-Purchase/Gather your supplies
-Disassemble, if possible, to make the surface you are working with easier to handle
-In this case, we just unscrewed anything we could and disassembled the clock to the smallest units possible
-Keep in mind, every clock is different, so it’s very hard to explain how to take down yours.  I didn’t take many pictures of the disassembly because of this reason...
-Determine what level of work this project entails, and plan accordingly

Step 3: Sand Entire Clock

Step 2:
-Begin sanding down the surface of the clock as well as the sides.  To begin, use a corse grit sandpaper, about 60 or 80 grit to strip the old finish/stain/paint off of the clock.  It is much easier to use an electric sander, or a dermal tool with sanding attachment.  Take your time here, you want the finished product to look nice.  If you happen to like the color of the clock, don’t worry about staining it.  However, if applying new stain, you MUST take off the old finish, otherwise the new stain will not soak into the wood and will look like a mess.  After the clock is rough and the majority of it shows bare wood, use a higher grit sandpaper.  Move to about 120 or 220 and re-sand the clock again.  This ensures every crack and blemish on the table is smoothed out ready for finish.  After the sanding is done with the 220 grit, clean off the excess sawdust.
-I first blew the dust off, and wiped it down with a dampened paper towel with mineral spirits.  This works well, and you MUST ensure that the clock is completely clear of any and all dust particles.  Tack cloths work well also.

Step 4: Stain Time

Step 3:
-Now that your clock is perfectly smooth and ready to stain, gather your favorite wood stain and a nice brush.  Believe me, you get your moneys worth for a good brush.  Like I said, Purdy makes real nice, natural bristle brushes for about $10-$20 a piece.  By the way, you can find all of these supplies at your local hardware store, (Lowes, Home Depot, Ace, Harbor Freight, etc.)
-Go to a well-ventilated area and follow the instructions on the can of stain.  Apply thin, even coats, taking your time.  Be sure to wait for each coat to fully dry before you move onto the next.  This was frustrating for me because I had to wait a good day to finish staining. 
-Stain at least 2-3 layers to get a nice, even coat and depending on your darkness.

Step 5: Frosting Glass

Step 4:
-Do this step while your stain dries...
-My clock has a glass piece in front of the pendulum that had paint of the name “Regulator” on it.  I wasn’t a fan of this.  When I took the glass piece out, I noticed that the exacto knife really took the old paint off well.  I then wiped the glass with mineral spirits to get the excess residue off.
-I found a monogram “B” on the computer and printed it off.  Then I took my exacto knife and carefully cut out a stencil to put on the glass.
-Tape the stencil on the glass backwards on the backside of the glass.  Basically, you want the design to be seen from the other side of the glass when finished.  You don’t want to the design to be exposed to the outside of the clock, therefore you’ll have to invert your image. 
-Spray several coats of frost paint on the stencil.  I probably used about 6-8 coats of frost to get a nice, translucent monogram.
-When I was finished, I noticed some of the paint spread past the design.  In other words, the design seemed to be a bit blurry.  No worries!  Take your exacto knife again and trace around the design.  The frost paint comes off perfectly. 
-In fact, if you are un happy with your design, or feel you want something else, your knife can take it off without any problems!

Step 6: Change the Face

Step 5:
-Now, while the glass and stain is drying, decide how you want to change the face of the clock.  You have previously disassembled the entire thing, so it should be easy to access the face.
-I actually used leather dye to paint the face of the clock.  The face was made of a light plastic material, but the stain looked incredible.  It gave it an old time finish, kind of like a greenish tint to it.
-Go over the entire face, and wipe with a paper towel.  It doesn’t completely clean it off, but it gives it a nice, antique look with several imperfections.
-Go around the outside a couple more times and dab with paper towel to make the edges look a little darker, again, to achieve that old time finish.

Step 7: Assemble Your Masterpiece

Step 6:
-GOOD JOB!  You are done with all the hard parts!
-Time to assemble the clock...take your time with this as well.
-As stated before, since every clock is different, I didn’t take pictures of this part.  Go ahead and reassemble your piece carefully and admire your work.
-Make sure all pieces are dry before you do so!  Be careful with your glass piece with the frosted design, it scratches off pretty easily. 
-Hang your beautiful new unscaled clock and wait for the compliments!!

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    wicked jypsi
    wicked jypsi

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is such a great tutorial! I have a clock I found at a thrift store that is almost identical to yours, but I am new to the whole refinishing thing...so it has sat in my craft stash for weeks. Now, I know what to do. Thanks so much!!!!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Much more easy that I thought. Nice project.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, it doesn't take much longer than a day to complete. Thank you for your comment!


    9 years ago

    Great job! That's an awesome transformation! Couldn't believe it was the same face before reading through.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I was surprised leather dye could make it look like that, this was more or less an experiment. I appreciate your comment.