Build a Globe Clock




About: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric bikes that I've built, and an electric scooter pushed by a soc...

Well, I looked around my junk pile to see what I could combine for a new project, and what I found was an old globe and a wall thermometer that was perpetually stuck on 80 degrees.  Seemed like a good combination for a project!

What I did was use the bezel of the thermometer as a frame, and inset half of the globe into the frame and made it into a clock.  I also discovered a good use for the other half of the globe, which I'll get into in the last step.


Step 1: Cutting the Globe & Adding the Clock

I began by cutting the globe in half at the equator.  Since sawing cardboard would produce a pretty jagged edge, I simply used a shop knife and kept scoring around the equator until the globe was cut in half.

I drilled a hole in the end (North Pole) and mounted a quartz clock movement.  I guess I could have stopped here and just mounted the globe clock on the wall, but I wanted to make use of the old thermometer housing.

Step 2: The Thermometer

The thermometer was cheap one bought a few years ago from a garden store, and for the past two years it has been stuck pretty much on 80 degrees.  It wasn't worth fixing, but the bezel was a nice copper color, so I had not yet discarded it.  And, the opening of the bezel just happened to be a bit larger than the diameter of the globe, so it would be perfect to frame the globe.

Step 3: Preparing the Thermometer Housing

The thermometer was held together by six wire tension attachments on the back (photo 1).  Removing these allowed me to take off the back and the glass lens.  I discarded the glass lens, and peeled the face off the front of the thermometer (photo 2)

Since glue was stuck everywhere (after removing the face), I decided to glue a piece of black posterboard where the face had originally been (photo 3).  I figured this would be easier than trying to get all the sticky glue off.

Step 4: Mounting the Clock

In deciding how to mount the globe containing the clock to the thermometer housing, I knew I would have to be able to get to the back of the quartz movement about once each year to change the battery.  I initially thought about just cutting a hole in the back of the clock, but decided it would be better to just make it to where the globe could be easily removed.

I cut a piece of scrap lumber (photo 1) that was just long enough to allow for a friction fit when the globe was pushed on and temporarily glued it to the center of where the old dial had been.

Next, I drilled two holes completely through the lumber and the back of the thermometer (photo 2), and secured the lumber in place with two wood screws (photo 3).

The friction fit turned out to be a good idea.  To install the globe I simply pressed it on.

Step 5: Hang It on the Wall

The final step was to hang the new clock on the wall.

But wait, there's more..........  Since I only used half of the globe for the clock, I had half of the known world left over!!

So, in the last step I tried to put it to good use......

Step 6: What to Do With the Other Half....

I hated the thought of wasting half a globe, so the unused half of the globe was hot glued to a large candle holder and filled with some decorative stuff my wife came up with.

So, from an old thermometer and an old globe came a wall clock and a decorative bowl, and nothing left over!

This was an easy project.  The materials used to make the clock were:

 - an old globe
- an old thermometer (stuck on 80 degrees)
- a quartz clock movement
- a piece of scrap wood
- a piece of black posterboard

Tools used were:
- shop knife
- drill & bits
- screwdriver

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    30 Discussions


    3 years ago

    really cool!


    7 years ago on Step 6

    I know I'm late here, but this looks so awesome! I've been searching for a gift idea for a geography professor who was nice enough to write recommendation letter for me and this doesn't look too hard. granted, i have VERY little experience with making things so my question is: what exactly is a "shop knife"??? thanks a lot for sharing your idea!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for your comment! A shop knife is a knife with disposable blades -- I use the kind that you can snap off to get to a new point. Any sharp knife will do the job, but it needs to be really sharp and thin. Shop knives are very sharp and thin, and cheap.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What an simple yet awesome project.looks like its time to shop at goodwill for a globe. i think i will make 12:00 at the prime meridian. Thanks for the great idea.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    If you get some copper tape from your local stained glass or hobby store you could edge the decorative bowl too.

    1 reply

    Hehe!! I like it! Cool and all in-keeping with the turn of the century style.
    I like the idea of casually walking by and noticing that it is half past Reykjavik :D


    7 years ago on Step 6 has a gallery of clever ideas like this one, and I recommend that you send them a picture!

    The globe clock would look good in my ham radio room - next to the clock from the Soviet nuclear submarine!

    1 reply