DIY Copper Clock
The industrial charm of copper pipe lends itself perfectly to this work of functional art.
When Amanda from Dwelling in Happiness took on a blogger challenge took on to create a gift using a copper pipe “t,” she was stumped. But only for a moment. It wasn’t long before she used her ingenuity to build her own copper pipe and wooden clock. What a beauty! Here’s how she made it.
MATERIALS & TOOLS– 8×8 Wooden painting panel/canvas
– Clock mechanism (we used one for a 3/8 thick face, but in retrospect, a 1/4 thick face would be better!)
– 1/2 inch thick copper pipe (5 foot long—ours shown above is already cut to size)
– Copper pipe cutting tool
– (4) 1/2 inch copper pipe “t’s”
– (4) 1/2 inch copper pipe 90 degree elbows
– (4) 1/2 inch copper pipe caps
– Gorilla glue & Elmer’s glue
– Wood stain & Polycrylic sealer
– White paint
I stained my wooden panel with some leftover Americana gel stain in Walnut, and then applied a thin layer of the polycrylic sealer when the stain dried. I sanded it lightly on top.
While the sealer dries on the wood panel, use this amazing pipe cutting tool and cut your pipe into eight 3 1/4 inch sections of pipe. These measurements are for an 8×8 clock, but if you want to make a bigger clock you’ll have to remeasure how much pipe you want between the t’s and elbows. I wanted my pipes to hang over the wood just a tad and the cover the wood corners. I measured my pieces accordingly.
I was going to originally leave the t’s “open” to be the 3, 6, 9, and 12 clock number notches, but I thought it looked funny having them open. So, I decided to cut small pipes and add caps. I cut my remaining pipe into four 1 1/4 inch pieces.
Since all the pipe would be glued down to the wood, I wasn’t real meticulous on gluing all the pipes together. I just used Elmers glue and put a little inside of each of the connecting pieces (the t’s, elbows, and caps).
Keep gluing the pieces together, all the while pushing the pipes together tightly to make sure they all fit snuggly. When it’s all glued together, it should look like this. Now for the actual clock part!
Before putting the clock altogether, I painted the hour, minute and second hands as well as the washers all white. I was going to paint them copper to match the pipe, but it would have been hard to see them against the dark wood. You can paint them any color you’d like. White showed up really nicely against the wood!
To find the center to drill your hole, use a ruler to measure corner to corner and make a little mark in the very center. You should have two marks that overlap or are pretty close to it. You can make a little “x.”
Drill a hole where your “x” was, and insert the clock mechanism. Once the hands and pieces are dry, assemble the clock together per the instructions.
I had a little issue when I glued the pipes to the wood. I had planned to use Gorilla Glue, but knew it could possibly expand and be seen. And unfortunately, I was right; it expanded out from the pipes and out onto the wood where it was visible. Argh! I was a little upset, but grabbed my Xacto knife and started cutting away the glue that was visible. That worked! For the remaining glue, I used a tiny bit of copper paint and a small brush to paint the glue. It blended up perfectly, and you can’t even tell!
Thanks for tips, Amanda! To read even more inventive projects, click over to Dwelling in Happiness.