diy wednesdays: wood clock project

a few months ago, the nice people from the nest magazine paid a visit to our home and shoppe here in san francisco. they were interested in all the crafty diy elements of our home, so in honor of the occasion we made this special little clock. it’s a really fun project, using techniques we’ve shown here before (remember the wood burned tray?) so we thought we’d share it with you. you can turn just about anything into a clock, the mechanisms are super cheap and available at your local craft store. click here for the full instructions (and more pictures) or just click “read more” below.

have fun!
derek & lauren


here’s what you’ll need:
-small wood disk
-scissors or x-acto blade
-clock mechanism and AA battery
-larger sized clock hands (optional, depending on the size of your wood disk)
-wood burning tool
-red enamel paint
-small foam brushes
-power drill and drill bits
-220 grit sandpaper

1. lightly sand the surface of the wood disk and the metal clock hands with your sandpaper.


2. apply two coats of enamel to the hands with a foam brush, allowing them to dry completely between coats.

3. choose a favorite font and print out numbers from your computer that measure approximately 1″. we decided to keep it simple and just use the number 12 on our clock.

4. cut out the numbers and use as templates to trace onto your wood plaque with a pencil.

5. using the finest tip on your wood burning tool, burn the outline of the number onto your plaque, taking care not to burn your fingers!


6. drill a hole in the center of the plaque using the appropriate sized drill bit.

7. in a well-ventilated area, apply two coats of polyurethane to the wood, allowing it to dry completely between coats.

8. turn the disk over and insert the clock mechanism into your pre-drilled hole.


9. following the instructions in the kit, attach the hour, minute and second hands to the clock mechanism.


10. set the time and hang it on the wall.

  1. amy marcella says:

    are those ben floeter’s bricks in the first shot? go ben!

  2. Lauren says:

    I love the idea of turning random objects into clocks. The wood burning looks great too! Right now I’m obsessed with turning vintage looking plates into clocks. I think it would look awesome to have a wall’o’plate clocks in my kitchen. It’s so easy too!

  3. Rachel says:

    I saw that feature! I really loved your cork picture mats and the pics of the outside of your home and store. Fantastic tutorial, I am totally linking to this, along with The Nest article.

  4. Kristan says:

    Very cool. And I love that you could really do this with anything.

  5. mstrex says:

    where can you get a wood disc from?

  6. whitney says:

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I have had this EXACT same project waiting in the back of my very cluttered mind…. hoping to find time to do it. Dang it! You beat me to it! :) But it looks even BETTER than I had imagined! Great job as always!

  7. This is so perfectly sweet.

  8. Derek says:

    Amy: Yes, those are Ben’s awesome bricks. We LOVE him and carry a full line of his fine products at our Shoppe:

    Mstrex: You can get those wood disks at pretty much any craft store, super cheap. Pick up the clock mechanism there too, probably in the same aisle.

  9. katie says:

    I’m curious, how would you turn a vintage plate into a clock? Love this idea!

  10. valerie says:

    i want to cut a disk from a log, but word on the street is that it will crack over time as it dries. any thoughts on how to prevent this?

  11. Michelle says:

    I came across this cool shop on Etsy a while ago –
    It seems anything can be turned into a clock : )

  12. Ali says:

    Fabulous! I love reading these DIY’s….I think I may have to decorate one of these for a wedding gift!

  13. Kate says:

    I can’t find a wood disk like this anywhere, I tried the craft store and searched the web. Does anyone have a link to find these? I even tried the reuse store.

  14. fireflicker says:

    Kate, if you have a Michaels art store I’ve seen them there. Also seen them at Walmart.

  15. nausicaaa says:

    what is the name of the plant in the first picture?

  16. erin says:

    the plant is a succulent named jade.

    been wanting to make a clock like this for a while, but with different hands.

  17. Beth says:

    Make sure to buy the appropriate length clock kit for the thickness of material you are using. This sounds obvious but the labeling on the kit packaging is obscure…

  18. This was the perfect inspiration for my spin on the wood slice project that can be seen here:
    Stefanie Girard
    P.S. I also had saved the wood blocks in the picture but no “brick” paint job.

  19. Lauren says:

    Katie, if you use a ceramic drill bit and drill a hole in the middle of the plate the clock mechanism screws right in. It takes about 10 minutes tops.

  20. Jimmy Johnson says:

    This is A perfect idea for an anniversary gift for my wife. I want to use A picture from our wedding to put on the disk of wood. The wood is Cedar and is 16 inches in diameter. How can I put this picture on the wood? Please help me , I dont have but 2 weeks.

  21. Kojiu says:

    This is an excelent idea! Perfect for my assignment!

  22. Jenn says:

    I, too, had a heck of time finding a “tree cookie” that have that wonderful bark edge but I found a couple sites online where you can order from!

    or to special order:

    Otherwise you’ll have to find a fallen tree and cut away!

  23. dani marie says:

    this is LOVELY! I actually just featured you (photo & link) on my Wednesday What To DO …. CLOCKS! post :) I hope you’ll take a peak:

  24. Ishrath says:

    Beautiful. I find it so lovely to think that… when I look up at the clock to see the time in this fast paced world… I will also think of how beautiful nature is and that I should slow down too.
    Thank you for sharing this idea. I will make it someday.

  25. Dani Marie says:

    I just wanted to let you know I included this in my 2011 Ultimate DIY Gift Guide (101 tutorials/recipes)! :)

  26. Ian says:

    I really love this idea but i want to take it a step further. I want to make one for my dad with a picture of my son on it. Do you know how I could afix a large image (glossy picture?) to the clock?

  27. Rodricke says:


    Great Idea. Loved the clock you made…

    Could you please help me with few good links to buy Clock Kit… the clock mechanism and hands. Or could you tell from where you bought the one in blog, they just look the kind I need.


  28. lizzy says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, looks awesome! I have had a difficult time trying to find the correct clock mechanism and hands. What are the measurements of yours and what store did you purchase them from?

  29. Robin says:

    I have been doing wood burning since 2007 and have bought many wood slices at Walmart, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby. They range in price (depending on size) anywhere from $6.99 up to $19.99.

  30. Erin says:

    I’m a bit confused as to what size clock mechanism to buy. Does anyone know? My wood disc seems to be of the same thickness as the one in the pictures. There are options like 1/8, 1/4, and 3/4 at the craft store.

  31. Carol says:

    My clock mechanics doesn’t go all the way through. Do they come in different lengths? The wood I am using is pretty thin. Any ideas?


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