Amy’s Free Ideas

Ideas for decorating an inexpensive clock

Glue on:

  1. 1.puzzle pieces

  2. 2.sticks

  3. 3.shells

  4. 4.ceramic tiles (see mosaic craft)

  5. 5.mirror tiles

  6. 6.burned match sticks

  7. 7.small wooden shapes

  8. 8.embossed copper (see instructions)

  9. 9.nails, washers, screws, etc.

  10. 10.figures made from air-drying or oven hardening clay (animals, bugs, machines, etc. that they make themselves)

  11. 11. wrap the frame in twine

  12. 12. Paint on a design with acrylic paints--paint on words, such as a verse, or geometric patterns, or even swirls or a paisley pattern.

Shop around to see what kinds of clocks and clock parts are being sold. Some dollar stores (hundred yen stores) sell clock parts (clock faces, hands, and numbers.) Craft stores sell clock parts as well, but obviously, they cost more.  However, it is probably cheaper to buy clocks (or watches) that are already assembled, and decorate them.  All 3 of the clocks shown above were bought at dollar stores (hundred yen stores.) The blue and green one on the left cost $3--one for the face, one for the hands, and one for the numbers. The same components from a craft store would cost $15 or more. The clock shown above on the right cost $1, and depending on what you decorate it with, could be free, or almost free. For example, the frame could be covered with twigs that the boys pick up off the ground, and cut to fit, or another option would be to decorate it with puzzle pieces from old puzzles that are going to be thrown away. These would be almost free--the only additional cost would be glue. If it were covered with twine, or random screws and washers, the cost would still be quite low cost. Another option for getting inexpensive clocks would be buy clocks in bulk from companies that sell promotional goods to stores or organizations that give them away to promote their businesses.  The photos below show one example of this kind of clock. It also shows how you could use a watch  to use as a clock on a larger base.

I thought this clock had a really clever trick--it has a calendar that fits any month! Just slide the windows over the numbers--slide it over until the number one shows in the window that matches the day of the week that that month begins on (so if you haven’t watched the news on T.V. or read a newspaper, you will have to look it up on line...but I still think it is a cool gizmo!), and all the other dates will be correct as well. Just don’t forget there are some shorter months that don’t go all the way to 31!

If you want to make a calendar like this one on your clock, print the numbers as shown on the clock above. Then come up with a frame that is tough enough to take the wear and tear of moving it back and forth once a month--the lid from a margarine tub, for instance. Another option would be flashing--cheap metal that is easy to cut with tinsnips, metal that is used to keep water from leaking under the roof next to a chimney--buy it at a hardware store. It is not very pretty metal, so you may want to cover it in contact paper, or paint it. Rather than try to figure out a way to cut a lot of little holes, cut one big window, and write the names of the week above the window. It is crucial that this window ONLY shows 7 numbers across. The final trick is to fasten the window onto the front of the calendar so it will slide. If the window is metal, such as flashing, then simply glue 2 strip magnets onto the face of the clock--one magnet above the calendar numbers, and another below. If you use thin plastic for the widow rather than metal, cut 2 narrow strips of thin plastic (such as the rest of the margarine tub lid) and glue them to the frame--if the glue goes all the way to the edge, you won’t be able to insert the window behind them, so make sure that you leave the whole edge clear of glue so the window can slide back and forth.


strip for window to slide under

glue this part of strip  only

strip for window to slide under

glue this part of strip  only

Another option would be to decorate a picture frame instead of a clock. Take a photograph of the kids at camp and develop it in time for them to put it in their frame as a memento of camp. Buy inexpensive picture frames,  or make them out of wood, felt, or EVA foam. Use the ideas for decorating the clocks listed above to decorate the picture frames.