Shadowbox Clock



Introduction: Shadowbox Clock

About: Stay at home dad, keeping busy making things and answering questions all the while from my girls.

Mission - To upcycle an ugly cheap clock into something much nicer.

We had this old round wood framed clock... It left much to be desired... You can see the face in a few pics, I used it for placing the minutes and hour markers, at least it was able to serve the greater good.

Like all the projects I do, the goal is to use whats either on hand or what I find laying around our subdivisions garbage bins. Loads of nice thoughtful people put certain items beside the bin that they know they cant sell or donate but may serve a different purpose. THANK YOU NEIGHBORS!! Much appreciated! My wife curses these finds until I find the right inspired project to use those salvaged goodies.

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Step 1: Materials & Tools Used

Materials & Tools

As noted in the photos

  • Brains and hands from an ugly old clock
  • 60 gold nails for the minute markers
  • 12 silver nails for the hour markers
  • 1 gold/1 silver oil based sharpies
  • 14x18 inch shadow box
  • Knife
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Tape
  • Canon Rebel T5, tripod and shutter switch for photos

Step 2: X Marks the Spot

Finding the Center

  • Using some scrap string to form an X from corner to corner
  • Mark the intersect "X"
  • Work the knife through the soft press-board - Do not make the hole too big, you want it snug for the "Brains" of the clock to go through or it will fall out :P I almost used a drill bit but feared i would catch the fabric on the other side and tear it off. Thus I opted for the route of less risk
  • Push the "brain" through your hole.

Step 3: Affix the "Brain"

Simply slide on the washer first then the nut can be gently tightened until you are satisfied it will not move on its own, you want the hands to spin not the back :P

  • I used my fingers to tighten it most of the way then used small needle nose pliers to get it snug.
  • Placed 4 pins for the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock just for sizing/reference
  • Dusted off little bits from making the hole

Step 4: 60 Nails for 60 Minutes

I personally am a fan of having a marker for each minute than just the 1-12 hour markers that serve as the minute markers as well. Its just a detail that involves some dedication that shows when done properly.

  • I pinned the old face to the backing to use as the guide for a nice round clock face
  • First just poked a nail into each minute
  • Measured each Fifth minute marker to be 1/2 inch and each other minute marker to be 3mm

Step 5: Adding Time

Hour Placement and Setting the Hands

  • Measured 1.5 inches from the inside ring of the minute hands to poke the hour markers in
  • Set 12, 3, 6 & 9 to be 3/4 inch long
  • Set other hour marks to be 1/4 inch long
  • Paint the minute hand tip silver
  • Paint the hour hand gold
  • Once dry, firmly set the hour and minute hands onto the "brain"

The aim was to have "floating" hands, with the black background matching the black hands the painted tips stand out and are easily identifiable and easily read. Making a sleekly detailed yet almost minimalist clock face. I feel that even batman would nearly approve of this clock :) The frame would need to be black or at the least, very very dark gray ;)

Step 6: Ready Set GO!


  • Clean the glass of the shadow box
  • Using tape, remove any specs of lint and debris from the backing
  • Set backing into the frame, turn the clips to hold in the backing
  • Insert battery and set the time
  • Mount, set, place in your desired location!
  • Enjoy your hard work

First I took down a canvas i had on the wall to see if i would enjoy it mounted or simply set on a surface.

Once I set it between the two lamps, it instantly felt like they meshed together. Need to paint the lamps more of a gray but they have a similar scheme to them and a smile spread when I saw them together. It was simply satisfying.

Having built it with only what I had on hand the finished product is simply fantastic! The wife's eye was drawn to it without my mention and she enjoys it :) 1 hour of work is all it took to put this gem together, made it while awaiting photos to upload for my first Instructable :)

YES some photos are upside down, I did not realize the rotate feature until half these photos were already uploaded haha, note for the future posts!

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