Weekly Crafty: Making A Playful Kid Clock

This week I was actually inspired by a request from Clara, which came by way of John’s mom. She was laughing as she told me that she overheard Clara telling her cousin that she didn’t have a clock in her room. Random, right? So I thought: I’ve never made a clock… but I bet I can make her something fun – maybe even something that she can interact with somehow. They sell those clock kits, so it can’t be too hard, right?

So here’s where I ended up…

And here it is living it up on the wall in Clara’s room.

I originally thought it could be fun to use a birdhouse and add the clock hands to it, but a lot of them jutted too far away from the wall and didn’t have enough of a “face” for a clock kit to complete full rotations without hitting some part of the birdhouse and getting caught. Then I came across this DIY cuckoo clock, and I loved it! She has awesome directions and even offers a free downloadable template for anyone who’d like to get exactly the same look, but I was looking to adapt it, so I just used the house-like concept as a jumping off point and decided to add some fun little 3D details that I thought Clara would appreciate.

So I hit up JoAnn and grabbed a small 12 x 12″ sheet of quarter inch plywood for $3 (thanks to a 40% off coupon), that I came home and cut down to be the shape of a house with the miter saw (if you don’t have access to a saw, this wood was so thin and light that I bet you could have scored it over and over again with an exacto knife and cracked off the corners to get the same affect).

I had also grabbed a few little objects at the craft store when I grabbed my board for the background, like a small picket fence ($2.99), a little bag of variously sized disks of wood ($2), and a thin trim piece (90 cents) that I could use to add a little roofline. Here they are all disassembled…

And here they are all put together. I just used craft glue to create a little ledge along the bottom as well as a smaller shelf about 3″ below the roof (that wood was leftover from my board that I used to create the house-shaped background) and also glued the little trim pieces along the top to create a little roof-like detail with a round disk of wood under it to mimic a cute little round window.

The tiny picket fence was one of my favorite details, which I just glued and nailed with some small picture nails, so that it wrapped around the entire ledge on the bottom.

Then I marked the center of where I wanted my clock hands and drilled a hole big enough for the clock mechanism to slip through.

Next was painting time. I asked Clara what color she wanted (fully expecting her to say pink) and she said blue! Go figure. Thankfully, I had an old test pot of Embellished Blue by Behr leftover from this project, so I applied two coats for some nice even coverage.

After that had fully dried, I moved onto the sketching part of the project. First I used an old coaster to trace a circle for my clock face with a white paint pen.

Then I free-handed some cute other details, like a window frame around the round piece of wood I had glued on under the roof, and a few other windows with stems coming up from some window boxes (my inspiration cuckoo clock gave me courage since her sketchy/imperfect drawings were so charming to me). I also added stems along the bottom behind the picket fence and in both windows so I could use a red sharpie to add some flowers in those spots.

Here’s everything all sketched out. Once that dried (the paint pen only took about 10 minutes to be fully dry) I moved onto my clock assembly. I had grabbed a clock kit from JoAnn for $6 (you know I used a 50% off coupon, right?) and originally considered painting it, but ended up liking the vintage-y gold finish. It just felt sort of cuckoo-clock-ish to me, I guess.

It’s pretty simple to snap the clock together. You just put the mechanism in the back, slide the spire through the pre-drilled hole, and then slip on the hands and the nuts and bolts they provide in the recommended order.

It probably helps to see the back of the clock too, so here’s how that looks. The black thing with the battery is of course the clock kit, and since that sticks out from the wall, I glued three pieces of scrap wood back there to make it more stable (so it sticks out from the wall the same amount along the top and bottom. Then I added one of those little metal hangers on the top block to hold the whole thing on the wall.

I also drilled a little hole in the base of the shelf and inserted a 4″ piece of trim leftover from the roof with a larger disk of wood, which I painted blue like the clock. It doesn’t swing back and forth, but I love that it adds to the quaint cuckoo clock feeling.

Overall, it probably took me two hours to shop for it, cut, glue, drill, paint, sketch on it, and add the clock. And my total cost was under $15 ($6 for the clock kit, $3 for the wood backing, and $5.90 for the accessories like the roof pieces, the round disks of wood, and the picket fence.

I think it ended up being another one of those crafty projects (like this one and this one) that could make a really cute holiday gift. Even if you just go simple and paint the clock white with gold or silver paint pen details. Without the extra shelves and the fence it could even be an under $10 project.

The best part of all is that Clara is SO INTO HER CLOCK. It’s adorable. I knew when I added the shelf along the bottom and the smaller shelf along the top that she’d get a kick out of seeing various little animals and dragons and fairies on those ledges (you’ve seen her playing with her pretty extensive collection of those here). We didn’t want to hang the clock too low since it’s somewhat delicate and the clock hands can easily get poked into the wrong “time” – so now our ritual is that every night before bed she tells us who she wants on the top shelf (like “Burger Statue!”) and who she wants on the bottom shelf (“Red Rooster and Kitty!”) and we put them up there for her and tuck her in.

Have you guys ever made a clock with one of those kits? Honestly the hardest part was probably drilling a big enough hole to slide the spire though, but that wasn’t even that hard (I just used a few different drill bits, gradually getting bigger, until the hole was the right size).


  1. says

    I’d say judging by that big ol’ grin on Clara’s face that the project was well worth it! Great job! Something she’ll cherish for a long time, no doubt!

    I’ve always wanted to make a clock but wanted to do it with the right vehicle. I’ll have to think on that one.

  2. Amanda says

    Ok, not that I haven’t liked your other “weekly craftys”, but this one shoots the others out of the ballpark. It’s freakin adorable. I can’t wait for Evie to be old enough to want one (I like that Clara got to make choices in it). I might make a boyish spin on it for my 4 year old though!!

    Love it! xoxo

  3. Leigh Anne says

    So creative – you all never cease to amaze me with your inexpensive and original ideas and solutions. I tip my hat to you, m’lady!

    If you could do it over again, would you have painted the individual pieces (fence, circle, ledges) before you attached them?

    • says

      Yes! That could have been easier I think! Although to be honest, painting the whole thing while assembled only took me like 10 minutes for each coat, so it wasn’t a big challenge or anything.


  4. Diane Taylor says

    It’s adorable!!!! The little details make all the difference. This reminded me of the clock project I took on years ago when my son was little. He too asked for a clock in his room – but he wanted it to be “stitched” (I was into cross stitching back then). I ended up stitching the clock face – he still had it after all these years! Now my mom owns it and she loves having it as a memory of him.

    I hope Clara has that for years to come too. Thanks so much for sharing – it would be a great gift!!!!

  5. lindsey says

    What a great idea! I never thought of doing something like that, but I’d love to make one for my sweet pea and put it in her room. I’m home with her today as she is sick – thanks for some Thursday inspiration :)

  6. Amanda says

    So cute! We are building a doll house for our girls, and that picket fence is totally going to make an appearance somewhere. I had no idea they even made that kind of thing!

  7. Amanda T. says

    This is my favorite weekly crafty yet! I love that Clara wanted a clock. Gotta learn to be on time at a young age. Haha!

  8. Lindz says

    One of the BIG requests of my girls when I hinted I might redo their room was that they wanted a clock. A PINK clock. With JEWELS on it. I went to Walmart in search of said clock and just could. not. do. it. The pink clock with jewels was $15! I instead bought the $3 white clock and prayed they would think the rest of the room was so awesome that their less than pink bejeweled clock was ok.

    I got lucky. They loved it anyway.

    And! I’m almost done with the room enough to take some pics and show you our take on the canopy/twinkle lights/rain drop wall! Because I know you’re waiting with bated breath. Ha.

    Great job on Clara’s clock!

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