Easy Photo Clock Present

Hello! My name is Kayla and this is my first Instructable. This Instructable is about making my grandparents Clocks. Sometimes it is hard to find good things for grandparents that shows you care for them and love them. That is why making clocks idea came to mind. I will show the steps of making these clocks!

These are the materials we used to make this clock.

  • (2) 15"x9"x3/4" Aspen
  • 15"x9"x3/8" Walnut
  • 2-3/4" (2-1/2" Fit up Primex Quartz Clock)
  • OPTIONAL Accent Wood (We used padauk)

Tools that we used

  • Table Saw
  • Drill press
  • Sander
  • Router
  • Clamps
  • Flush cut router bit (1 1/4")
  • 2 1/2" forestner bit
  • Scissors
  • double stick tape
  • Wood Glue
  • Glue Brush
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Awl
  • Wood knife
  • Paint brush

Step 1: Patterns...Patterns!

First we drew and cut out a pattern. You can click the second photo for the same pattern that we used and print it with regular 8 1/2 x 11 paper. We made the pattern with round lids Etc. We used card stock but you could very easily use regular printer paper.

Cutting patterns!

Step 2: Preparing Our Wood Pieces and Tracing

We cut the 2 wood pieces to the correct size (15"x9"x3/4"). We used aspen wood because it is much whiter than most woods and looks nice with walnut.

We used double sided carpet tape to stick two pieces of the aspen together. Be careful how much you use as it can be really hard to unstick!

Next we traced the pattern on to the wood. Now you'll notice it is half of the whole clock, so after you trace one side, flip it over and complete the other so you have the full clock. You don't need to do this to both pieces of aspen, just to one side.

Cutting and tracing!

Step 3: Cutting Out Our Clock Main Body

After we taped and put our pattern on, we brought it over to the bandsaw and cut it out staying about an 1/8" away from the pencil line we drew. You might get it closer if you want, but remember that bandsaw marks are ugly and need to be sanded away and if you do it too close to the line, you won't be able to sand them away!


Bandsaw in motion!

Step 4: Sanding the Aspen

Then we sanded off the rough parts from the band saw on the oscillating spindle sander. It took a long time, but its important to do this because we need a nice edge for the router and our flush cut router bit to ride on.

Sanding in action!

Step 5: Walnut and Aspen Sandwhiches!

After sanding, we removed the double sided tape, inserted the walnut between our freshly cut aspen pieces and used wood glue to glue it all together. In the picture it looks like we are gluing walnut on top (the picture with the red container) but we're just using the wood to protect the top of the aspen board.


Walnut and gluing in action!

Step 6: Trimming Walnuts...

When the glue was dry, we used a router with a flush cut bit to trim the walnut off. Again, if you are reading this before doing the gluing, it is very important to make sure that the aspen is sanded so that the router cuts out a perfectly clean cut from the walnut.

Trimming the walnut

Step 7: Creating Rails for Our Pictures

These next to steps are a tough explanation, but we'll push on through! We cut out strips of walnut on the tablesaw (but you can use a bandsaw) that were about a 3/16" wide by about the size of the pictures tall. In our picture frame, the strips on the sides were 3 1/2" tall (the size of a wallet picture). We cut 2 of those out. The larger picture, which is a 4x6 photo, needed (2) 4" long strips cut out. The base (the shelf that all 3 pictures sat on) is 12" long.

But that's not all.

In order for the pictures to slide in, we need to make rails. Under the strips we cut, we're going to put thinner strips in which will allow the pictures to slide in. Look at the pictures with the red circles to get a better understanding of what's being talked about in this step.

The thinner strips are a little over a 1/16" wide. We'll need to glue them to the other strips so that they create a capital "T". We used hot glue and wood glue so that we could set the pieces easily and then allow the wood glue to create a strong bond.

Gluing the strips...in motion!

Step 8: Attaching the Photo Rails!

After we have made our rails, we're going to glue the rails to the clock. The first rail we put down will be the 12" base that the other rails will glue perpendicular to. We found the center of the clock base and the center of the 12" rail and lined them up. The width from the bottom of the clock base to the bottom rail was about a 1/4".

Once we have the rail base glued with hot glue and wood glue to the clock shape, it's time to put the perpendicular pieces on.

We used scrap wood blocks to space the perpendicular rails so that the rails would be easier to be placed. Because the pictures need to slide inside the rail, the block would need to be smaller than the picture we're inserting. For example, if we're using a 4x6 photo as the center picture, the width of the entire picture is going to be 6". Because it is sliding inside of a rail, we're going to lose a 1/16" (1/8" in all) on both sides of the picture. That would mean that we'll need to have a scrap board that is 5 and 7/8" wide. We'll find the center of a scrap of wood that is 5 and 7/8" and place that center above the center of the 12" rail base.

If you choose to do wallet pictures on the sides, those are about 2 1/2" wide, so you'll need to use a scrap of wood that is 2 and 3/8" wide.

I know this is confusing, but it really is all about using a board that is square on both sides as something to put the rails against, making the rail gluing much easier.

Spacing Our Rails...In 4K!

Space Our Rails Pt 2...Also In 4K!

Step 9: Awling, Drilling, Sanding!

Now let's go back to using the old clock pattern we used earlier to make the clock base. If you notice, there's also a place where you can cut out half circles, for the clock. Cut the furthermost half circle out (you will have a half circle inside the half circle you cut out). Now we'll draw the circle in by drawing half and flipping it over for the other half. Once we do that, we'll use an awl and put a center in the circle.

Unless you have a hole saw or a forestner bit that's big enough to cut out the diameter of the hole, you're going to need to find a way to remove all that wood in the circle. Of course, if you choose not to cut this part out, you can skip this step and go directly to installing the clock. One way to do this is to drill several holes to clean out the wood and then using a spindle sander to sand it to the line.

You could also use a bandsaw, making a slight cut through the top and then gluing the hole together.

Making our clock hole!

Step 10: Insering the Walnut Clock Insert

Then we cut circles on the bandsaw that were bigger than the holes we drilled out in the last step, and traced the clock hole over the circles before sanding them to fit perfectly. It's important to trace the circle out on the walnut by using the clock base as a pattern as you will not be able to drill a hole out perfect enough to get a perfect circle cut to fit inside.

Bandsawing Walnut Circles and Patterns

Step 11: Cleaning the New Hole and Polishing It!

Then to make it perfect we used a little bit of sandpaper to smooth it out as well as routing the inner edge with a round over bit to give it a three dimensional look. Rounding the edge will also hide any imperfections that you might have if you make any mistakes with cutting and sanding the walnut or even clock base hole as it will create a slight shadow.

Preparing the Clock Base Hole!

Step 12: Donut Making!

Next we used a drill press to cut a hole in the walnut for the clock to sit in. If you use the clocks that were listed in the beginning, you'll need about a 2 and 1/2" forestner bit, or hole saw. If you don't have one, you can use the spindle sander and sand it down to the right dimensions. Once that's done, fit the walnut ring in and glue it.

Something that's optional is putting a backing on the back of the hole. It's not absolutely necessary, but we made a second disk and glued that in the back so that the clock looked good if you were passing by the back of it. But it's completely unnecessary.

Making Walnut Donuts!

Step 13: OPTIONAL: Inserts

In the clock face we used padauk inserts, but you don't have to. It does have a very aesthetic quality though and it's festive!

Step 14: Shellacking to Finalize

To finish it off we used some colorless shellack to polish it off. When done we slid the pictures in and were finished!!

Shellack Attacking Your Clock!

I just want to say that this dedicated to my grandparents and great grandpa and I love you all! Merry Christmas '18

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    3 Discussions

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    6 weeks ago

    I love your use of dark and light woods :)