DIYdiy projects

diy wednesdays: clock refashion

by Grace Bonney

we do our best to keep our ikea impulse buys to a minimum, but the other day we were flying through, looking for something else, when we came across a stack of ridiculously cheap (in every sense of the word) clocks. the clock mechanism alone was worth the $1.99, and we figured that at the very least it would give us something to play around with. once we got home we took the clock apart, and using some leftover fabric and a bit of spray paint, transformed it into a one-of-a-kind timepiece. we ran with a country-crafts vibe, but you can use any style of fabric to easily create something to perfectly accent your home.

have fun!
derek and lauren

CLICK HERE for the full project steps after the jump!

here’s what you’ll need:
-clock (ours was from ikea)
-pencil or fabric pen
-cardboard for a template and paint mask
-spray paint
-spray adhesive
-embroidery hoop, needle, and floss


1. start by disassembling the clock. this model is held together with little plastic tabs that can be easily clicked apart. take off the face as well as the hands of the clock (they pull right off).

2. create a cardboard template the same size as the clock face (we cut ours out of a cake box). be sure to poke a hole in the center to accommodate the clock mechanism.

3. trace the template onto the wrong side of your fabric. add 1” all the way around and cut it out. make cuts from the outside of the circle (about 1” apart) to the pencil line. these will help you fold the fabric over the cardboard template in step 6.

4. embroider numbers onto the right side of the fabric.


5. to avoid getting paint on the clock mechanism, use the backside of the cardboard template as a mask and spray paint the outer rim of the clock. let dry.

6. apply spray adhesive to the cardboard template and cover with the fabric. flip the piece over and apply more adhesive around the perimeter of the template and smooth down the 1” fabric flaps.

7. poke a hole in the center of the fabric where the clock mechanism will go through and reassemble the clock with your fabric-covered cardboard as the new (and improved) face.

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  • I did something similar with a cheap plastic clock from Target. Just pop the plastic off the front and customize it any way you want.

  • i did the exact same thing—but i used paper & stickers for my friend’s nursery. yours is so much better! fabric is a fantastic idea.

    gotta love ikea for cheap blank slates. :)

  • I have one of these ikea clocks– it has never properly kept the time regardless of fresh batteries. Thanks for reminding me that it’s time to chuck it.

  • This is a serious question – does doing this to the clock quiet the noise of that particular clock at all?

    My husband bought that clock for the office at work – and every time he walks out of the office, someone takes it down. It’s SO loud!

    Love how it turned out!

  • Hey, I have one of those clocks floating around someplace. Maybe I need to go dig it up — this tutorial is very inspiring. And…it looks really easy :)

  • what a cute idea! though i am hesitant to buy a cheap clock from ikea… they are always broken by the time you get them home!

  • Id love to use some of my illustrations for making this project!
    Seems cheap and very nice, its difficult to find nice clocks.
    Love the wallpaper combinations.
    Much love

  • Tres charmant! If only there were an Ikea near me- they don’t really sell these fun little extras online, do they? Perhaps Target instead.

  • I found a great clock at a thrift store ($.99!) and immediately snatched it up, excited to create this project! Thanks for the great idea.

    To everyone else looking to try this project, don’t overlook your local thrift store! Great prices for a great cause.

  • Such a great post! After reading I took down my cheap boring clock from Target in the kitchen and made it over. Although I have no skill for embroidering, so I painted the numbers on. Love it!

  • What an awesome idea. i have a old clock sitting in my bathroom with a dead battery, but I refuse to change the battery and hang it back up cause it is not very cute and definately doesn’t match my house! I’m so excited…thank!

  • I’ve made a few — scrapbooking paper and number stickers work really well. Alternatively, print (via computer) numbers onto contrasting/matching paper and use a decorative circle hole punch to nicely frame the numbers.

  • I did the same idea but got a nice clock from Target that had depth to it. I took the face off, replaced the boring backer and used some pretty craft papers for a backing. Then I attached old keys I got from an estate sale and other neat items and incorporated them into the clock. It was great because the clock had about 2″ of depth to work with behind the glass!