Paint Swatch Clock




Introduction: Paint Swatch Clock

About: My actual name is Ethan Gibson. I currently reside in Spokane, the second largest city in Washington. I recently migrated to this city to follow the "let's move out of the small city" urge tha...

I was recently browsing 'ibles, and came across a lovely project by flamming arrow, called An Artists Clock.

In the Instructable, she mentioned that she picked up a paint swatch to use as her pattern, and traced it out to cut her shapes.

I am a tightwad, and when I saw this, my eyes exploded, my head leaked a bit, I heard grinding sounds. I began to think.

"Why not make a clock entirely out of paint swatches from the home improvement city?" Thus, the idea was born. I love free things, and making a nearly free clock appealed to me.

Have fun!

Step 1: Steal Your Materials.

I felt dirty. REALLY DIRTY. I entered the home depot, trying to look as normal as possible. Like there was nothing wrong. Little did the unusually tiny woman in orange at the counter know, I was about to perform a heist.

My accomplice (name withheld), distracted the attendant at the paint station (he dropped a pen and picked it up, slowly), and I pretended to decide which paint would go with my living room.

Then I made my move.

I gathered one of each paint swatch from each of the paint galleries I wanted. I gathered the supplies for a grey-scale clock (for my winter decor), a vibrant red-orange clock (for my fall decor), and a cool blue-green clock (for winter and summer decor). I also picked up a leaf styled swatch (actually, a lot of them), for a stencil, similar to what flamming arrow had done.

S*** just got real.

I gave my accomplice the signal, and headed for the door. He took an alternate path and met me two aisles down, near the chains and padlocks, as originally planned.

As I walked out the large double doors, the attendant looked at me. She looked at the pile of swatches. Then at me.


Then I realized that these things are free. They want you to take them. So you'll buy paint. You don't have to come back. Just take them.

I picked up the largest swatches available, that would be able to be cut to the size and shape I wanted. Feel free to experiment, but for this 'ible, we'll stick with my leaf design.

You'll also need tape/glue, and a clock mechanism. I priced clock mechanisms at my local hobby shop, and they were wanting a whopping nine dollars per mechanism. I decided to go to Walmart, and pick up a clock for three bucks.

Step 2: Cut Out Your Leaves.

Simply trace the leaf shape (posted below, just in case it's not at your Home Depot / Walmart / Lowes) onto the existing paint swatches, being careful to avoid and cut around the labels.

I used a craft knife and a cutting mat to do this, but scissors would be just fine.

Step 3: Tape Your Swatches to Create the Clock Face.

This part gets a bit tricky, so you're going to need some patience, and I would reccommend a craft mat or a protractor.

Tape (I used electricians tape because it was the only thing I had on hand at the moment, although I would recommend glue or double sided tape) each other, making sure each swatch is over one swatch, but under another. Or, if you don't like that, and prefer to do it differently, go ahead.

I decided to use one swatch for each hour, and therefore needed some way of keeping them accurate. I made each angle between the swatches 30 degrees apart. Conveniently, my craft mat had just the right angles.

Step 4: Add Clock Doohickey.

You're going to need a clock mechanism. Do not go to the hobby shop for this one. Try checking out a dollar store / discount store / thrift store to find one on the cheap. They are definitely not worth the 8 to 10 dollars my hobby shop was charging.

Punch a hole in the very middle of your clock face. I added a circle cut out of a spare paint swatch in the middle to compensate for the ugly tape job. Poke the mechanism through, and click the clock hands back on.

Use something to stick the face to the mechanism. If the hole punched through the middle is too big, it won't stay put. I opted for double sided sticky tape so I could easily remove the face if I wanted to switch up the colors in my room.

Step 5: Hang.

Congrats! Hang 'er up!

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    7 Discussions

    hey cool design and a nice twist of what i thought of. and please do post pictures when you finish any others. ok now i just want to let you know, even though it was an honest mistake, i did laugh, but i looked down my pants and i am definitely a guy.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hey thanks very much for your instructable. Here is one that I made today for my son following your instructions.


    HOS Clock.jpg

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Neat! You took it quite a step further! I love your result!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    What a clever and super instructables! Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

    Love it! Awesome story, and Instructable too, of course. I've thought of taking those samples, but I'm nervouse being caught. Maybe I'll give it a try. If you make other colored ones, you should post the pictures up :)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Will do! I just have to find the time.

    And a desk.

    And somehow dig my craft knife out of the moving boxes...

    But! I managed to walk out with a huge stack, and no one said a thing. Don't be nervous. And if someone says a thing, run. Fast.