Monday, 12 August 2013

Button-tastic Clock

This post involves something I had been meaning to make for a long time but had never gotten round to. Well, as is usually the case it took for me to have things I need to make, in order to get round to making something I wanted to make (and yep the things I need to make still haven't been done).

I really liked the idea of making a clock with buttons instead of numbers. I bought some clock mechanisms from the online store that has everything- good ol' Ebay. Unfortunately I used the mobile phone app and didn't look at the description properly so bought the wrong type of hands to the ones I wanted. Totally my fault but there's always a way round these things.

I used a piece of "wall art" I picked up for 50p in a second hand shop. I was going to use a blank canvas but this was very similar with a piece of hard board in the back and therefore already had support built in. With the help of my hubby I measured and drilled a hole in the centre of the picture for the clock mechanism to go through. It's amazing how keen he is to help when power tools are involved ;-)
I had some lovely Moda fabric: Lucy's Crab Shack by Sweetwater #5481 - Deep Sea Kite Ties .I just love the colours especially the lime green so choose this colour for the buttons and the handles.
I'm usually a do-it-by-eye kind gal but this is one craft a tape measure/ruler and a protractor really is a must!
Firstly I drew around the frame on the back of the fabric making sure I had enough excess around the edges to fold over and cover the frame to the back. Then using the tape measure I placed an up-turned plate in the centre of the square and drew around that too. With the aid of the protractor I marked a dot at every thirty degrees from the top of the circle all the way around.
Hey presto, all that's needed it to sew a button to the right side of the fabric where each of the dots are and you have the twelve "hours". I used a vintage shank button for the twelve o'clock position and an assortment of holed buttons for the rest.
I used double sided sticky tape to attach the fabric to the frame. Getting the positioning right was actually the trickiest part and took a couple of goes but a necessity for accurate time keeping. I folded the corners as neatly as possible and used thumb tacks to hold them in place.
With a scalpel I carefully cut a hole in the fabric where the hole in the canvas was located and attached the mechanism following the manufacturer's instructions.
If I had been happy with the hands I had ordered all that would be involved now would be to lightly sand them and paint them the desired colour, again lime green, with nail varnish and fit them to the clock. However, as I messed up I had to do a few alterations first. Also I choose black ones and think if I had picked gold ones, the other option available, I could have skipped the sanding and gone straight for the nail varnish, another lesson learnt.
The hands I received were far more ornate than I had intended but as they were made from quite thin aluminium, I used some wire cutters to trim of as much excess as possible and to shorten them. I gave the edges a quick rub with sandpaper too to smooth them out. I'm rather pleased with how they turned out.
Again I followed the instructions to correctly attach the hands and popped in a (rechargeable) battery.
Now I can tell the time using buttons- perfect!
Until next time, craft in earnest! Craftin' Ernest x


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Kate! I've started a couple of others in different colours, it's a great way to have buttons on show- always a good thing ;-) X