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8 Apr 2015

DIY Mid-Century Modern Ball Clock

Today I'm participating in a fun DIY challenge.  A really lovely bunch of bloggers and I have challenged ourselves to come up with something to dress up our walls using craft wood from Michaels.  I decided to use my favourite craft wood: beads to makeover an old clock I had and I'm super happy with the result!
The makeover was super simple and only required some paint and wooden beads.  I'm really happy with my clock's new modern and clean look.  It's inspired by the George Nelson ball clocks from Vitra that I have always liked. I decided to go with my favourite black, white and wood colour combination and I can see it fitting in anywhere in our house.  It's hanging in my new workspace (which I am still working on finishing!), but it may end up in the kitchen since we don't have a wall clock in there at the moment.  Below you can see what the clock looked like before and you may remember it from our first kitchen renovation.
The original clock was not bad to start with, but I never really loved it.  I had accidentally broken one of the numbers off it when cleaning and I had always planned on painting the hands since the silver on chrome made it super hard to read from a distance.  Another thing that bothered me about the clock was that the arms were far from the numbers.  You'll see what I did to remedy that in the How To below. I also don't know what I was thinking, but I completely forgot to take pictures of the process of my makeover.  It was really quite straightforward so I'm going to describe it below and share the one process picture I did take. ;)

DIY Mid Century Modern Ball Clock:

  • starburst clock (I purchased mine from HomeSense/HomeGoods and see them there often)
  • spray paint and craft paint
  • masking tape
  • twelve 1.5" wooden balls (purchased from Michaels)
  • drill/drill press
  • grinder or metal saw (optional)
How To:
1.  Remove the numbers from your clock (if it has numbers like mine did)
2.  Tape off the spokes/metal rods of the clock with masking tape/painters tape and spray paint the face of the clock and arms.
2.  Once the spray paint is completely dry, paint the arms of the clock in a contrasting colour using a brush and craft paint.  You can also remove the masking tape from the spokes at this point.
3.  Drill holes into the centre of each ball going 3/4" deep with a bit that is the same width as one of the spokes/metal rods on the clock.  You will want to drill as straight as possible into the bead so that it sits evenly once inserted onto the metal rod.
4.  This step is optional:  Since I wanted my wooden beads to sit closer to the arms of the clock (and look more like the George Nelson ball clock, I decided to cut down the metal rods so that once the wooden beads were in place they would sit just above the minute hand.  I marked off the length I wanted on each of the rods and my husband used his grinder to cut them (see picture below).  You could also use a hacksaw.  **Please always use safety glasses when cutting metal.  Metal chips easily fly up and watch your fingers!**

5.  Place the drilled beads on the end of each spoke.  If you have drilled the holes small enough you won't need anything to hold them in place, but if your holes end up being a little too large then use some adhesive suitable for metal to hold the beads in place.

Here's a little sneak peek of what's been going on in my workspace.  A lovely new grey wall and some much needed storage.  I'm hoping to share more of this space next week!

Don't forget to go and check out all the other projects that are a part of this craft wood challenge.   You can find all the links below:

Annabode: DIY Bud Vase
Brave New Home: DIY Wooden Modern Cuckoo Clock 
Lemon Thistle: Birch Plywood Wall Hanging 
Petite Modern Life: DIY Craft Wood Shelves 
Persia Lou: Inkodye Wood Wall Art 
Squirrelly Minds: DIY Animal Head Mounts


  1. What a fun little project--it looks great!

  2. love this, anu! it is so you and the difficulty level is perfect for me! :)

  3. I love this so much! Beautiful job--it looks amazing on your wall and I can't wait to see your office!

  4. This "new-old" clock looks gorgeous! And your office also - I love the grey on the wall! Perfection!

  5. I'm just tickled that you tackled this iconic design! It came out amazingly. Nice job, Anu!

  6. This is fantastic! I love how much more the hands pop with the paint, and I love that you left the wood it's natural colour!

  7. Beautiful! I love the style and simplicity of it!

  8. Oh so loving this and agree, it's so you!

  9. darling! and easy enough...I think I could pull it off too!


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