Halloween Diorama Clock




About: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and likes to be in the centre of things, so you will see him in several of my instr...
  In this project I have some Halloween characters attached to the hands of a clock traveling in a circle creating an animated Halloween diorama in a jar.  A ghost is attached to the second hand traveling in a circle at a rate of once a minute.  A cat is on the minute hand completing a circle in an hour.  The zombie, much slower since he has a bad leg takes 12 hours to go around.  The tombstone marks twelve o"clock and the pumpkins mark 3, 6 and 9 o'clock so you can still tell the time.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Clock mechanism

Large jar with lid

Craft foam or card stock, small Halloween decorations

Clear plastic

Optional: LED tealight

Black paint and coloured markers




Step 2: Ground

Trace and cut a circle of black craft foam using the opening of the jar.  The circle should be able to fit inside the jar, trim as needed. 

Make a hole in the centre of the foam large enough to fit the part of the clock mechanism that holds the hands.

Step 3: Hands

Place the hands on the clock and set it in the lid of the jar. 

Bend the hands up so that they fit inside the jar and are angled far enough apart that they don't interfere with the rotation (or each other).

The hands on top need to be shorter then the one beneath, (so in this case the hour hand is longer than the others - going against convention.)

Step 4: Ghost

Sketch a little ghost about one inch in height and transfer it onto white craft foam.

Cut out the shape and draw in the eyes and mouth. 

Trim the arm of the second hand so that only the horizontal portion remains.

I found some clear plastic (PET) packaging that had a bend and cut a piece 2 inches long and ~1/4 inches wide and includes part of the bend (see image 4 and 5 above).

Glue the straight end to the ghost and the bent end to the second hand.

Step 5: Cat

The cat I used for the minute hand  was made of wood so it was light enough not to interfere with the movement of the clock.

Trim the vertical part of the minute hand so that it fits behind the cat.

Glue the minute hand to the back of the cat.

Step 6: Zombie

I can't draw very well and I wanted something that looked really good for the hour hand so I searched the internet for some free Halloween clip art and came upon this zombie.  It can be found here: http://www.zombies-and-horror-movies.com/zombie-clipart.html.

Cut out the zombie parts from craft foam and glue together.

Draw in the features (eyes, teeth, scars etc)

Glue the hour hand to the back of the zombie.

Step 7: Hours and Other Decorations

To mark the hours for the clock I made a tombstone with craft foam for the 12 and used pumpkins for the 3, 6 and 9.  The 3 and 9 I glued to the jar facing inward and the 6 is facing out.  I added a moon, a spooky tree and some bats for additional decorations.  Two of the bats I attached to the jar with nylon thread so that the hang down.

Step 8: Paint and Assemble

The hands of the clock that I had was silver so I painted them black to blend in better with the ground.  I added a few layers of cardboard to adjust the height of the clock in the jar.  Place the hands onto the clock, close the jar and test it out. Make sure none of the characters are bumping into anything.  (My ghost sometimes hits one of the bats on the way around).

Step 9: Optional: Light

This step is optional.  I thought the clock would look creepier if it had a flickering light so I used a LED tealight. Remove the flame and glue it to the top of the jar with the light facing down into the diorama.



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    25 Discussions


    That's scary COOL, man! I'll bet If I started one now, it would be finished in time for Halloween... Maybe... just maybe! :^)

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I loved the cat! This is so cute! Thanks for sharing.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I found mine at a dollar store, another option is as ildegiron mentioned below to use a cd/dvd container.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I like this instructable. I have seen a clock like this that is built into a glass cube, with a witch that flays around a house every minute. I may think of another theme to make one of these. The jars are easily found in dollar stores in the kitchen department. Well done.


    Very clever! I love the idea of adapting the clock movement for an animation purpose. Very nice job on the foam figures.

    My own version would probably switch the ghost and the zombie. The herky-jerky movement of the second hand seems appropriate for a zombie, and the more subtle positioning of the minute hand is good for a sneaky creepy ghost. Maybe the Grim Reaper on the hour hand.

    This is one 'ible I may actually try on my own. Thanks for taking the time to document your work.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, I wish I had a better quality clock with a sweeping second hand so the ghost would move more gracefully.

    The Grim Reaper sounds like a great idea, I'd love to see it when it is done!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I was thinking that a Christmas theme would be great for this too--or any other theme one would wish really. Great idea, thank you!!!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool!!!

    I will be building a couple of them as gifts for some friends. Instead of the jar I plan on using discarded CD containers.