diy project: tin letterpress clock

this is the very last of the altoids tins diy projects, i promise! they are just so cute. i have several shopping weaknesses, and letterpress art is one of them. a friend of mine sent me this adorable card (by wexford girl)and i have been meaning to frame it. but since wall art is another thing i have kind a lot of, i decided to turn it into a little clock for the kitchen. instead of attaching the clock directly to the card (which you can do), i used the altoids tin for extra support. plus, it hides clock mechanism nicely and gives the clock more weight. i plan to add magnets to the back so it can stick on the fridge. have fun! – kate

CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!


What You’ll Need:
1. altoids tin
2 drill
3. card or small artwork
4. scissors
5. spray paint (optional)
6. clock kit (these are available at craft stores for around 5 bucks. get the smallest size.)
7. glue
8. foam core or cardboard scrap (a little smaller than the size of the card)


1. take the top of the alotid tin off and place the clock base inside. hold and press the top over the tin lined up with where it would be when closed and press down. the clock base will make a small dent in the tin so you know where to drill.
2. drill a hole for the clock shaft to poke through.
3. put a battery in the clock and stick the base through the top of the tin. follow instruction to secure the clock to the tin using the included hardware.
4. if you want to change the color of the clock hands, spray paint them with a primer and then the color of your choice and let them dry completely. you do not need to paint the nut or the washer, as they will not show.
5. when the hands are dry, place them on the card to eyeball where you want them to be. make sure that your desired spot will still hide all of the altoids tin when the clock is attached. mark the spot where the center of the clock will be on your card or art with a pencil.
6. cut a small hole where you marked with an exacto blade.
7. cut a matching hole in the cardboard or foam core so the clock shaft can poke through both. glue the card/art to the foamcore/cardboard.
8. place the art on the clock shaft, add the hands and tighten as directed.
9. now all of the clock mechanism and face is attached to the top of the tin. set the time with the dial on the back of the clock and then snap the top onto the base of tin. just snap it over the hinges, do not put the hinges back together. the tin will remain securely closed like this, and you’ll see the second hand moving if you attach the hands correctly.
10. add magnets or stickies to attach to a wall or magnetic surface. you could also fashion a stand pretty easily if you wanted it to be a table clock.


  1. FruGal says:

    I totally LOVE this. SO sweet! I’m going to try this out. Thanks!

  2. Sian says:

    Oh but it’s the best one yet! AND I get to eat more Altoids! I’m definitely going to make at LEAST one of these-there’s so many possibilities…

  3. Aww, that’s adorable. If only the OH would let me use a drill (I’m a little accident prone sometimes so he’s pretty much banned me from using anything which might maim me!)… Love the card too – away to check out wexford girl’s stuff.

  4. C.Alicia says:

    Oh, that is ridiculously cute! Love these tin ideas, keep ’em coming!

  5. Renae says:

    I’ve got so many beautiful cards that I can’t part with–now I know what to do with some of them. I love this idea!

  6. Claire Bock says:

    Love this idea! Now I want to create cards with a clock in mind.

  7. sandra says:

    great idea! bookmarking this one.

  8. Adaiha says:

    this is so cute!

  9. Louise says:

    Fun! how about attaching design elements to the this project!

  10. Thats too darn cute!!!

  11. Angelyn says:

    I love this, thanks for the great and easy idea!

  12. megan says:

    this is seriously adorable!

  13. jodi says:

    brilliant and oh-so-cute!

  14. Aline says:

    love the idea, perfect for my son’s room.

  15. gabe says:

    Very clever

  16. Awesome, what a great project!

  17. Wexfordgirl says:

    Hey, my bear! Thanks so much Kate. It’s not letterpress though; it’s an original frawing with collage. You can find more here:

  18. Marian says:

    So clever! You just think of that all by yourself? Impressive:)

  19. amanda says:

    oh what fun! I love a scalloped edge.

  20. dinah says:

    the best altoid tin project i have seen so far! i desperately want to do this now.

  21. MJPhoto says:

    Very nice! Love the bear. I did a clock too…..not sure if i have a pic…

    Nice site!

  22. kate says:

    annie @ wexford girl – you’re right! it was late in the night, i don’t know why i said letterpress. i LOVE this card so much, that bear makes me smile every time i walk by. love your work!

  23. wink says:

    I can’t wait to make this.

  24. Jana says:

    Ooooohh I love clocks! Im very time obsessed, have one in every room and have been making ones like this for years! Will give this method a try though….very very cool!!!!!

  25. Frenchy_googler says:

    Im mad about your selt and pepper… where its come from ?

  26. Brett Torrey says:

    just love this. so genius. a great way to reuse old beloved cards as well.

  27. Linda says:

    Love this idea!

  28. Very cute. Here’s a materials tip: if you have a dollar store around you, they usually have small wall or desk closks that you can buy and take apart for the motor and hands. Exactly the same as the ones from the craft store, for 1/5 the price!

  29. sukigirl74 says:

    I love the idea of this clock, I always think of clocks having to be so big but I think this size is perfect for certain small areas.
    I also think the comment above me about getting the hands from clocks at the dollar store is brilliant. Those hands can get really pricey at craft stores!

  30. Shirley says:

    I’ve copied the instructions to my blog cause I am prone to losing them. I’m going to make one of these and post it later thanks a million! Luv your blog.

  31. paola piva mokfa says:

    olá!!sou do brasil e adorei tudo!!beijo

  32. Struggler says:

    Thanks for this wonderful posting. I have linked to it in a round up of great craft projects!

  33. Halley says:

    I love that artwork! It is adorable and it looks great with the yellow hands!


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