What Time is It?

I've always loved the beautiful over sized, vintage-looking clocks that are featured in various mail order catalogs like Ballard Designs. However, I never really thought about making one myself. When I came upon a clock making class offering at Windy City Scrapbooking (one of my favorite local scrapbook stores), I jumped at the chance to create my own timepiece.

Want to create your own timeless treasure? Take a look at the simple steps below.


Of course you need a blank clock face, but beyond that you'll only need a minimum of supplies. This 18" X 18" face is made by Provo Craft and all the required mechanical elements are included in the box.

You'll also need 4-sheets of 12 X12 patterned paper, coordinating paint, a sponge brush, an ultra thin paintbrush and a small piece of fine grade sandpaper, as well as a small jar of Modge Podge which is an all-in-one, water-based sealer and adhesive.


The first thing you want to do is line up your 4-sheets of patterned paper into one large square. Pay close attention to the shading created when you put the papers together, because different paper placement will give you a different overall look. After you've determined your paper placement, tape all four papers together from the back, to create one large square. I selected sheets from the Perhaps collection by Basic Grey. This particular sheet is called Daphne. I love the vintage look of this paper and the dainty white butterfly stamps throughout the design.


Paint the outside edge of the undressed clock face a coordinating color. I initially painted this part tan but later changed it to a dark brown.

You'll see why the darker color works better further down in this post. Next step is to place the taped pieces of patterned paper face down.




Trace the shape of the clock onto the back side of the paper and then cut out the circular shape.

Line your cut circle up onto the clock face paying close attention to where your pattern falls, as it relates to the embedded numbers in the clock face.

Apply the Mod Podge to one half of the project at a time.  Once you have your patterned paper adhered, smooth out all the bubbles. I used a rubber roller to help with this step.

Blog_clock5 Blog_clock6

Then sand the outside edges of the clock to smooth out the cut edge of the paper. This will also give the project a little hint of distressing around the edges. It's a nice look, especially if your patterned paper selection already looks a little distressed.


The next step is also the most time consuming. You have to feel around with your fingertips to find the indented numerals and other areas that are now hidden under the patterned paper. It's a little hard to find the indented areas because of the thickness of the paper. Once you find the them, use a pointed edge to punch the paper through the surface, exposing the indented details. In this case that includes the two circles which frame the clock face as well as the Roman numerals. The numerals were the hardest to locate with my fingertips. Once these elements are all punched out, use your fine tip paintbrush to paint the areas you have now revealed.

I decided to use dark brown paint to fill in the indented areas so the color would stand out well against the fair colored paper. This is also the point where I realized that the outside edge of the clock would look better if was the same coordinating dark brown color.


Finally, I added the simple message, "use time well", to finish the project off. The brown script letter stickers are also from Basic Grey from their new Mellow line.  Add several layers of Modge Podge over the entire finished project allowing each application to dry before adding the next. This will also secure the letter stickers so they won't shift over time.


The clock hands that come in the packaging are black. Depending on the colors in your patterned paper selection, you may want to paint the hands. I slightly brushed the black metal with a little brown paint just to add a more rustic look.


Major thanks to Windy City's talented instructor Danette Schellhouse who walked me through this great project.  While I wasn't able to complete this clock in one sitting, I did finish it up at home over two days, which allowed for multiple applications of sealant as well as adequate drying time.

It's a fun and simple project that doesn't require any particular skill other than patience and a steady pencil grip for carving out those indented details to be painted.

All in all, I'd say it was time well spent. Tick tock! 

  • Lynne Nelson-Berg

    Your clock is wonderful. I found your blog from Adriennes. Love all your work and definately love your creating room.

  • amandajean

    that clock turned out fantastic. I just found your blog and I am so glad I did. I am enjoying browsing through.

  • katie

    wow! i love this!

  • Kathy ~ Shabby Roses Boutique

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog the other day. It was lovely to meet you!!
    And what a great clock! Thanks for sharing the steps…it looks like lots of fun!!
    All the best,
    Kathy šŸ™‚

  • Pamela

    Wow! A fantastic tutorial and such a great project — must give it a try!

  • kathy

    That is so cool! I really want one.

  • Niesz Vintage Home

    Great project!
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I’ve spent about an hour browsing through yours…its fantastic!
    I am completely envious of your craft studio. What a wonderful place to create.
    Kimberly šŸ™‚

  • sheree (sheree's alchemy)

    Oh, this is gorgeous!! I would love to try this some day.

  • Sue

    Okay, so now I KNOW I have lost my mind! I just posted YOUR comment on a Lisa’s blog and hers on YOURS! I am a lost cause…I blame menopause and global warming and fire ants.
    Still, that email I listed in the comment is mine! : )
    And I DO love your work. You are amazing! That stays the same.

  • Sue

    Hi Lisa…my email is: [email protected]
    Thank you for the sweet comments.
    I adore Alan Rickman too. That voice…ahhhh…

  • Sue

    This is simply beautiful! You have such a talent…awesome!

  • Carla

    SO awesome! Thanks so much for sharing the steps! If I ever get the chance, I may try to make one! I need more time. Too many creative ventures, not enough time! LOL!
    Read my latest post,K? Since your blog is pink, I’d love you to link to my latest post. You’ll get it once you read it!

  • Jody

    Thank you! I can’t wait to try this.

  • Wendi Manuel-Scott

    OMG so so awesome! love your clock project and love how you are fearless in your creativity.
    Keep it up!

  • Sugarshop (Dena)

    Oooh! I love this project. Thanks for sharing. I am so bookmarking this for future!
    šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

  • Nana

    That looks like a beautiful project gone Fantastic!!!!You are right this time of the year I can not wait to receive my Ballard designs, red envelope, crate and barrel, pottery barn, etc… Keep up the good work and those beautiful projects

  • patti

    Very, very cool!!!

  • Cre8Tiva

    how cool is this project…i love it…blessings, rebecca

  • The feathered nest

    I love those huge clocks in the Ballard catalog too. Actually that’s my favorite catalog period. You clock came out so good – it’s just gorgeous. Good Job!

  • Lise Richards

    This is a fabulous project! So well done.

  • Miss Sassy


  • Daisy Cottage

    Perfectly wonderful! I love what you did!

  • Hillary Heidelberg

    oh man, you are too talented!!!

  • erica b.

    That is gorgeous!

  • Elaine Tutman

    I like these garden clocks, too. I have a huge daisy clock on my back porch next to a companion daisy outdoor thermometer. Your creation is really nice.

  • Adrienne

    This is just BEAUTIFUL!