Introduction: Book Clock

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Book clocks are analog clocks combined into the spines of vintage hardcover books. Book clocks can be made from almost any kind of book and can be easily customized with your favourite books! These book clocks look great in a bookshelf next to other books and is sure to amaze your literary friends!

This idea isn't new as commercial versions of the book clock can be purchased online here, here, and here; ranging in price from $24-$30. I happened to see one on display at my local book store which was $40! The commercial ones are hollow, made of cardboard, and had standard analog clock inside. Hardly worth the price tag.
I figured I would try to make my own, so I grabbed
an analog alarm clock from the Dollar Store and found 3 hardcover books at the Thrift Store spending around $4.

commercial version
Combining the parts was easy, each book was partially cut with a hobby knife and glued together, the analog clock easily fits inside and can be placed anywhere along the spine where there's an opening. My book clock took me just over an hour to make. 

Let's make!

Step 1: Tools + Materials


1x analog clock - $1.00
3x hardcover books - $2.50

Total:  $3.50
  • hobby knife / rotary tool with cutting wheel
  • rule
  • pencil
  • white glue

You can use either a hobby knife or a cutting wheel to remove the pages from a portion of each book. I found the hobby knife generally worked better for this project, but either will suffice.

Step 2: Planning / Cutting

To make my clock I had the majority of the analog clock placed in the centre of one book with the clock ends being covered by a book opening on either side. I started with the center book then made the ends line up on either side, then the entire thing was glued together.

Centre Book:
The cover was removed from the analog clock so I could see how far the clock dials extended from the clock face. I wanted my clock to be near the bottom of my book clock. I lined up the clock face with the edge of the binding of the book and traced around the clock with a pencil. I added a buffer of a few millimeters around the outside which will allow some allowance around the clock after it's installed.

Once the location was determined the hardcover of the book was carefully removed and the traced clock outline was removed with a sharp hobby knife. Use caution when cutting piled paper as the knife can buckle or slip and seriously injure you. Take your time and work your way through the book. This size of cutting took me about 10 minutes.

After the page opening has been made place the hardcover back on and trace the opening you just made onto the inside of the hardcover, then use a knife to make an opening on each side of the hardcover along the trace lines.

Outside Books:
I repeated the tracing technique used on the centre book with each of the outside books, using the opening already made in the centre book hardcover as a guide. Each outside book will probably only need a portion of their pages removed to accommodate the clock ends. Plan out your cuts and remove pages with hobby knife.

Step 3: Install Clock

The clock was disassembled completely, then placed inside the centre book hardcover lining up the clock dial with the centre of the book spine. I made a mark mark on the spine and punched a hole with a screwdriver, the opening was then reamed with a pen until it was the same diameter as the clock dials. The inside edges were trimmed with a hobby knife.

The clock face was then glued to the inside of the centre book spine.

Step 4: Glue Books Together

Since I wanted access to the clock battery I decided to leave the centre book with the back cover and spine not glued together, this will allow the book to open and the clock to be serviced if needed.

Each end book was glued completely shut, their outside surface was roughed with some coarse grit sandpaper to enhance adhesion and then glued to each side of the centre book. I applied a liberal amount of glue to the outside edges of the pages of the books and spread the glue around ensuring good adhesion. After the books have been glued a weight was placed on top to compress the books together while the glue set. After 40 minutes the weight was removed and the books were one.

I had left one side of the centre book unglued so was able to open my book and insert the battery into the clock. Lastly the hands for my clock seemed puny, so I cut new ones out of cardstock, painted them white for high contrast, then glued the new hands on top the old ones.

The clock hands were then installed onto the clock dial and the time was set.

This book clock looks great on a table, on its side, and especially when placed alongside other books. Since you can use any books you like it can be cherished and nostalgic or themed to go with someones personality.

Have you made your own book clock? Share a picture of your version below.

Happy making :)

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