In this easy do-it-yourself project, I'll show you a super quick and easy way to create a mid-century modern clock. It's not exactly a hack in the sense of transforming a piece of furniture into something else, but it's definitely a hack of purpose. This is done without tools or glue, from inexpensive ready-made items that you can buy almost anywhere. Plus, in the video, you'll find a few inspirational ideas if you want to go beyond and add your own crafty touch.
So hop on and watch the video below, then keep reading on the other side. Don't miss the photos at the end.
Let me explain a little bit how this clock came to life...
First, the clock mechanism
Years ago, in my other home, I had this white clock mechanism that I bought at a craft store. It was on a white wall, over the TV and a floating Lack IKEA wall shelf. It was more of a wall decorative element than a useful clock but it looked really nice. Simple and modern. Normally, this mechanism is only the central part of a broader project. You would add your own digits, or if you're crafty, you can think of any glam, original, or fun 12 objects to act as digits. You can put them very close or quite distanced. For me, it was a design element on its own that fit my decor perfectly so I was using it as is, without anything else. We all have the precise time available in so many ways nowadays. Then I moved to Palm Springs and I kept it in a box.
A word on how and where I shop
This is not about the clock per se so you can skip it but it's fun to share how and where we can find inspiration...
The hacked wall decoration
Back to our clock. As you see in the first picture, the clock is made of a mid-mod metal starburst wall decoration. I found this one at the local Marshalls store. I never miss to visit the home decor section for bargains or diy project ideas. I got it for a mere $20. I wasn't sure what I would do with it but I knew when I saw it, hidden behind a plethora of ugly frames, that it would eventually become something amazing if I waited for the right fit. I installed it on the wall with no thinking behind it, just as a temporary filler for empty spots. First in the living room, then in the bedroom, to be back in the living room above my desk in the office section. And that was it for a few months!
Searching for the right mid-century modern clock
On a completely different level at the time, I was searching for a unique mid-century modern clock. It's such a classic piece of home decor that encompasses this era and it can tone a room in a snap. I have to admit that my search for the perfect mid-mod clock gave me a hard time. Either it was way too expensive for what it is, or too classic and unoriginal, or flanked by too much wood or too much color. So I put this project on the back burner for a while and started opening my mind for a do-it-yourself project. I went to craft, dollar, and hardware stores on a think-outside-the-box quest for any kind of raw material that would spark the ultimate idea. Sticks, dowels, bars, moldings, tongs, spoons, you name it.
Here's a shot from the video as a reminder...
Well, that didn't work either! I found myself collecting a ton of pieces that are now sleeping in a box. Even though it would have been a fun project to plan, execute and shoot, I got lazy and never started exploring. That's ok because this is actually how I gather crafty material that's always useful one day. But still. The clock project was gathering dust and getting old by now.
And then there was light...
One day, I'm trying to get rid of the last moving box and stumble on my clock mechanism from my old home. It reminded me of all the trouble I went through in Palm Springs to find the perfect clock or ideas to eventually create one. On the rush to find a place for every gizmo in that box, hammer and nail in hand, I was scanning every wall for an empty spot... when my eyes crossed the Marshalls sunburst over my office. EUREKA!!! I immediately knew that these two things had to unite and become a clock. Hammer down. Spirits up.
Think time... or time to think it over
The only problem was to find a way to join those two unrelated items. Seems simple right? Not so much... After several attempts with all sorts of ideas, each more crazy or complicated than the next, I realized I would never be able to do this without addressing the main obstacle: the metal beads were in the way. When something like this happens, I do a 180° and try to use the problem to my advantage instead. I scoured the whole condo for anything that could be flexible enough to attach the two together. The simplest solutions are often in your face: a paper clip!!!!
All it required was to straighten it up and twist it back into the shape of a small hook, while securing it on one of the branches. With a few calculations to make sure it would fall in the center, I was able to use one of the beads as a guide and support. This allowed the clock to be hung thanks to the eyelet behind the mechanism. All this in the blink of an eye. Cheap, quick, beautiful! You can't beat that. I was dumbfounded by the simplicity of it all.
Have a look...
Think outside the box
Normally, this would end with a shopping list but it doesn't apply here. A clock mechanism is easy to find in various styles and the background decor is yours to decide. You have all the tips and locations advice. Just open your mind, don't be afraid to dig a little if you have to, think outside the box and let your creative soul express itself. Don't forget, the simplest solutions are often right there under our noses.
Be creative and have fun!