Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.

Bob's Bloggers

A community of bloggers who live and die to DIY

diy, home office

DIY Desk Clock Makeover

By Our Concrete Home on Mar 12, 2013

My little clock upgrade

Many weeks ago I picked up this dated plastic clock at a thrift shop. It was $0.99 and I thought it had nice lines, and the face swiveled, so I brought it home.

the-brave-little-toaster

For some reason, this little clock reminded me of the appliances in the The Brave Little Toaster. I was lucky enough to have a little sister who loved watching this movie over and over so I know it quite well. For those not familiar with the animated film, it’s a story about forgotten appliances left in a family’s summer home that take an incredible journey to be reconnected with their young master. Oh, and the appliances sing. The premise is a little bizarre, but somehow the movie works. Trust me kids love it.

To me, the movie had a very strong message about using the things we have instead of constantly upgrading to the newest version. And in the case of this thrift store clock, I was reminded how many cool items are out there for the taking. So, long story short, I was really excited to do a little makeover on this clock and bring him into our concrete family.

Clock Upgrade

For the makeover, I contemplated painting him all white, but in the end I decided to give him a pop of yellow instead. The back of the clock was missing, so I decided to make one. (The clock was pretty loud without one.)

First I did my best to tape up the front and back to protect the clock.

Clock Upgrade

Then I sprayed about five thin coats of yellow paint until the whole clock was covered.

Clock Upgrade

I stashed the clock in our unfinished bathroom for about a week to let it dry completely. Then I removed all the tape to see what I wanted to do next.

Clock Upgrade

Once I saw how bright the yellow was against the black clock face, I decided to soften the look with a thick, white line. I picked up a white chisel paint pen at the craft store, then slowly traced around the clock face with it.

Clock Upgrade

This technique isn’t perfect, but after a couple of applications, I got a nice opaque line. There was an inconsistent gap between the plastic clock face and the frame, so I used some white puff paint to fill it in (like caulking). I softly smoothed over the paint with my finger.

Clock Upgrade

I left all the paint to dry overnight before I could do anything to screw it all up.

Clock Upgrade

Next, I worked on attaching a piece of blue ribbon to the back of the clock. This would become the pull that would allow the cork backing to be removed once installed. I glued the ribbon to the backing with a little super glue and cut it down to size so only a short tab shows when the back was inserted.

Clock Upgrade

I liked the idea of using cork with the yellow/white/black color scheme for a more modern look. With my trusty X-acto knife, I also cut out a piece of cork for the clock to sit on.

Clock Upgrade

Then I measured and cut a circle of cork to fit in the back of the clock. Cutting cork is a big pain because it crumbles. I found using a sharp knife after lightly steaming the cork worked the best for me.

Clock Upgrade

With all the glue dry, I began putting the clock back together by screwing the clock back into the frame.

Clock Upgrade

Then adding a battery and inserting the cork backing into place.

Clock Upgrade

And there you have it: a simple upgrade to a black alarm clock. The photo shows a summary of what I did on the front of the clock...

Clock Upgrade

and here's what I did to the back.

Clock Upgrade

Overall, I am really happy with the makeover. The clock now has a cheery persona. The cork accents make it current and modern while the yellow/white/black color scheme keeps it classic. I’ve put it in my office for the time being. It looks great with all the black and white accents in there.

Clock Upgrade

I should also mention that this project took weeks to complete. A lot of it was drying time, but I also spent a lot of time playing with the white paint to get it right. :)

With this clock finally completed, I am excited to find my next “brave little toaster” project to work on. You never know when inspiration may strike.

Project Materials List & Budget

  • Clock ($0.99)
  • Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Sun Yellow Spray Paint (I had it)
  • White Chisel Tip Paint Pen ($3.82)
  • White Puff Paint (I had it)
  • Cork Tiles ($1.99)
  • X-acto Knife (I had it)
  • Blue 1/2″ Ribbon ($2.00)
  • Super Glue (I had it)

Total Spent- $11.79

Visit Our Concrete Home »

blog comments powered by Disqus