You can make a clock out of just about anything you can hang on a wall or stand alone.  Some ideas may take a little more work and imagination than some but most are doable.  I have fun making canvas clocks but there are a few little tricks that I found quite useful.  I have put down the steps I use to make a canvas clock from a blank canvas.

First determine the size of the clock you would like to make and if you are painting your own canvas or making one out of a commercial framed print or other framed art.  I usually like the 12×12 or 8×10 size canvases.   You could have a large canvas but only want to put a clock on part of it.  You will still need to determine where you want your center to be.  If you are working with a fresh canvas that you will paint measure the back and find the center where you want to put your mechanism.  To do this mark the edges of the canvas where the clock center will be.  This is an 8×10 pre-stretched and primed canvas from the dollar store. The next step I found very useful.

The first canvas clock I made I just drilled my hole and put my mechanism in.  The minor torque of the hands made the mechanism turn with the hands and it didn’t keep time properly at all.  I thought of gluing the mechanism to the canvas but if I needed to replace the mechanism I would tear the canvas, also the weight of the mechanism though very light would still be enough to stretch the canvas over time.  I decided to try and make a brace out of wood for the back.  If you are using a standard length shaft all you really need is about a 1/8in thick brace.  I thought if I had a extra large tongue depressor that would do the trick but I don’t know if they make them or at least not the length I was looking for. I had some would pieces from another project that I used to mill the brace out of.  A shim works too but they tapper and you might need a longer shaft on your mechanism.

Milling canvas backing supportTo mill my own piece I used a band saw.  In this case I had a 1/2 in thick and decided to just mill it in half.  Not quite but I came pretty close.  Making sure I had a good block to push through my wood and one to support against the fence.  Of course safety glasses too.  I still have all my digets.  Make sure you turn off the saw and the blade has stopped moving before you retrieve you milled piece.  I usually unplug the saw too as an extra precaution.

I then measured the length I would need for my back brace.  Once I had that I tapered and rounded the edges on each end.  This I do so when I put the piece in I don’t end up tearing the canvas.  You can do this manually or with a stationary belt sander.

tapper edgescanvas clock braceIf working with a belt sander hold your piece and work from the bottom up not the top down.  Going top down makes the wood jump and could toss it.  Working bottom up gives you more control and even sanding.


Once done slide the brace into the canvas and square it up with the measurements previously done and find center and mark.squaring up

Once done hot glue the brace to the edge of your canvas frame and let dry.  Next I used a piece of primed 1 x 6 that I have for drilling and covered it with a piece of paper towel so I wouldn’t get the canvas dirty.  To get a clean drill, (splits or splinters) always make sure the piece is supported.drill support and cover-1

drill hole

Now I have a perfect hole and support for my

beach canvas clock

mechanism.  Now the fun part painting the canvas.

On this canvas I decided I wanted it to be a fun “What Ever” clock.  Most of you have seen these.

I washed my pallet with color.  Using three colors and a sponge applicator or large brush.  I was working on several canvas clocks at the same time so I tried different color mixes as you can see.

canvas pallet paint

I painted all over the canvas and wrapped the edges.  While that was drying I picked out my font for the numbers and decided on Ravie in size 90 and 125, which I printed onto paper.  I traced these onto the now dry canvas.  I have tried other methods and am still in the process of trying out methods that would work better.  Any input is greatly appreciated, I have had epic fails with some methods so I felt safe with this one.  At the beach wash

Next I chose a font for my “What Ever” saying, which was Blessed Day size 125.  Again printed and then traced.  Once all was dry I used a silver gel pen and went around all the numbers.  I also went over the saying in a sage green gel.  I liked the end result which was great considering it was my first try with the gel pens.  I wasn’t sure until it was all complete.  I let all sit overnight and then I sprayed a clear coat over the whole canvas.  Once that was dry I attached the mechanism and hands and tested it out.  Worked as expected.

At the beach clock At the beach clock-2


Here is another clock I made at the same time.

Gone camping clock

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