Upcycled NOW Watch--Picture Frame on Your Wrist!




About: Quirky gifts, colorful paintings, detailed drawings, silly graphics--I do it all.

A friend of mine saw this "always exactly accurate" watch online for $50 and asked me "do you think we could make this out of an old watch?"

This classy upcycled watch will inspire you to seize the day and fight any procrastinating spirit. "When should I ask that cute girl out on a date?" NOW. "I really should study for my test, but..." DO IT NOW. "If only I could quit my boring job and follow my dream of starting a successful online travel program that shows viewers how to visit exotic locations on the cheap" (this is what my friend who wanted the watch actually did. You can see his show at www.TheHostelLife.com).

Stop procrastinating; NOW is the time!

Even if you are not interested in making your wrist say "NOW," this instructable will show you how to turn your old, broken watches into wearable wrist picture frames.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

- precision flathead screwdriver
- pliers
- exacto knife

- broken or thrifted watch. This very manly leather-banded style is easy to find and great for guys!
- black foamcore
- "NOW" design (or whatever other graphic you want to put inside the watch). I've uploaded a page of "NOW"s in different sizes for you to print off and find the best fit for your watch.
- rubber cement

Step 2: Gut It!

Examine the back of your watch to see how to remove the backplate. Some have tiny screws, some you need to pry open. I have the pry open kind. After trying to get the back off for an hour, I realized that this watch was jammed shut far beyond my opening abilities. I took it to WalMart's jewelry section and the employee there opened it up for no charge.

Once you get the back off, carefully pull out the watch pins on the side and lift the whole time mechanism out of the watch body. Set aside for later disassembling.

My watch had a plastic band on the inside marking the 12, 3, 6, and 9 spots. I grabbed it with pliers, bent it back and forth a bit to loosen it up, and yanked it right out.

Now you have a beautiful, wearable picture frame ready to be filled!

Step 3: Cut Foamcore to Fit

Cut a piece of foamcore down to snugly fit inside the back of the watch. Don't worry about cutting perfect rounded corners- just cut a rectangle and notch off the corners until the foamcore fits right in.

Step 4: Glue on Your Design and Wear Your Watch!

Print out your design. If you are using my "NOW" sheet, put the paper on a table, move the glass watch frame on top of each "NOW" until you find the size you like. Cut out the best sized "NOW", leaving a generous amount of black space around it.

Brush rubber cement on one side of the foamcore and center the "NOW" on it. The easiest way to center the word on the foamcore is to hold the paper and foam up to a light, move the paper around until the word is in the right spot, and let the glue dry.

After drying, turn the paper and foamcore upside-down and cut the excess paper off with an exacto knife.

Fit the foamcore into the glass watch frame and put the backplate on. You may have to trim a bit of the height off the foamcore to get the backplate to lock back into place.

Wear your watch and get motivated!

Now that you have your watch gutted and the backplate loosened, it is easy to make interchangeable images on foamcore for the inside. You could change out the word or picture daily to match your mood or style and use your new, upcycled watch as a custom wearable picture frame!

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    46 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Good post!
    Have a look at Sykla smartwatches bought at http://sykla.com/

    I would like to make one with a broken digital watch and put an LED behind the face and use a pen over the parts of the "8"s so it says now but it will take people a bit longer and it should look more like a fully functional watch.

    haha awesome
    if i can find my old watch i might just make this with something like "now" or "later"


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Sometimes i draw a watch on my arm and pt the time at 3:45 (when skool getz out) maybe someday ill do tht wit a reel watch? hmm...


    7 years ago on Introduction

    My normal responses:
    "Do you have the time?"
    "Yes, I do."

    "What is the time?"
    "Time to get a watch."

    I now have a legitimate excuse to say just "Now."
    Thanks for this idea.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You should see if you can keep the hands and instead of lots of numbers or roman numerals use the Pi symbol and put it on so that when the hour hand hits Pi the time is 3:14. Also you will have a new excuse to eat pie at either 3:14am or 3:14pm.


    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    What about putting pi signs in place of all the numbers so that it was always pie time? It wouldn't be very accurate for telling time, but my belly sure would enjoy it. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm so going to do this with my garden clock/thermometer that's broken. What should I put on the thermometer side? "Just right"?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    In the Summer: Be Thankful it's not Hotter.

    In the Winter: Be Thankful it's not Colder.

    Spring and Autumn: Be Thankful.