Featured List

"Quick" Craft - Small Clock Makeover

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Since I'm waiting on parts (and a little inspiration) to finish up our radio cabinet makeover, I spent a few hours fixing up the little alarm clock I got the other week:

The case's finish was mostly rubbed off, so it was dull and grungy, and the plastic face plate was scuffed.

The face itself was gorgeous, with the glaring exception of those pale green glow-in-the-dark dots around the numbers and on the hands:

The maker name, Linder or Linden, is actually hand written on the face in ink. Pretty. (I don't know how old it is - although it's stamped West Germany, so that's at least pre-1990. Heh.)

I scraped out the green dots & popped out the green sections on the hands with the point of a craft knife:

Already lookin' better!

You can also see in that photo the little holes above the numbers. John drilled these by hand with a tiny bit, to make way for...

...some bling!

The crystals were scavenged from a ring that had already lost a few over the years. However, when I pried the stones out they lost their reflective backing, which is what gives them their sparkle. So - and here's where you'll start questioning my sanity - I applied silver leaf in each of the tiny holes before gluing in the crystals. Considering that the crystals are smaller than a bread crumb, this was a real pain in the rear. (Toothpicks. Gotta love 'em.)

However, in the end I think it was worth it:

The gems really sparkle in the light - far more than their plastic rhinestone counterparts.


For the body of the clock, I polished the inner housing and refinished the feet, handle and lattice side wrap with this:

We were faux finishers for years, so trust me when I tell you Montana's Goldchrome spray paint is one of the closest you'll ever get to "brass in a can." Of course, it's most convincing on small pieces, so don't expect to fool anyone on large bed frames or anything.


Here you can compare the original brass finish (the inner metal seen through the lattice) with the painted feet, handle, and lattice. Not a bad match, right?

I left off the scuffed plastic cover, so now you can see the face clearly:

Oh, and lest you think I sacrificed a perfectly good ring, that's it there. As you can (kind of) see, I removed the crystals in a flower pattern, so I think it actually looks better now than it did when I first bought it. A win-win!


The clock is sitting, ticking, beside my keyboard as I type this. I find the ticking kind of soothing, but it drives John bonkers. (A win-win-win?) :D


Important Safety Update: Thanks to dmontag in the comments, I was reminded that old clocks often made use of radium paint on their dials, which is harmful. We didn't *think* this one was old enough, but just to be sure we opened it up and found it was made in the early 70s. (From what I can tell, radium dials tapered out in the '50s.) If you have an old clock or watch with glow-in-the dark detailing on it, go here to learn more about the dangers of radium paint - and PLEASE don't go scratching it off like I did on this one. o.0

Posted by Jen at 3:46 PM Labels: ,

37 comments:

  1. I hope the "green paint" on the clock hands wasn't radium. If it was, did you handle it/dispose of it carefully?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Adorable, and totally worth the toothpicking for a little sparkle in my opinion! ;) I like the sound of ticking clocks...not sure why, but it does drive a lot of people a little batty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gorgeous. I admire your level of commitment to your diy projects. I always have these sort of ideas for crafts but can rarely find the motivation to get working on them...

    ReplyDelete
  4. i had to look up linden clocks after reading this just to see what kind of value your little alarm clock has :) i love doing that with old ceramic and knick-knacks from my family. anyways, i found that linden made special edition disney clocks like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/Linden-Disney-Limited-Edition-Dopey-Clock-New-Box-/190545359833?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c5d6373d9#ht_500wt_949

    nifty coincidence for a disney lover like you :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. @dmontag - Yikes! That hadn't crossed my mind, so I just googled my little heart out. From what I've read, the radium glows without needing sunlight to "recharge" it - which this clock face did. I'll keep researching, though.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was distracted by the cool penny table top! (The clock is nice too, though!) ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Driving husbands crazy is probably not a win-win-win...

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Faux finishers" does that mean you weren't "real" finishers?

    Normie

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Jen,

    Linden made some very nice and affordable clocks and have been owned by various companies over the years, including Seth Thomas. The name Linden came from the fact that they originally used the wood of the Linden tree. Though American clock makers made the casings, the clockworks were usually made by Hermle of the Black Forest in Germany. Linden was also a noted maker of Cuckoo and grandfather clocks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Normie - Yup! And you pronounce faux like "fox," too. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love the clock! I have a question about the "penny" table I've seen several of your pictures lately. Did you make it? If you posted info on it please give me the link. I would love to know more about it - its just so cool!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Ladyq - yes, we did! You can see the making-of here.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Julie G. from IowaJune 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Really cool. Is there anything you and your hubby can't do?!
    I'm glad you made mention of the radium issue - I watched some history thing a while back on the "Radium Girls"... The girls worked in the factory painting glow-in-the-dark radium paint on the watch faces with teeny tiny brushes. To keep the small brushes smooth and pointed so it would paint the tiny details, the girls would lick the brushes - unknowingly poisoning themselves. The girls were dying without anyone knowing the cause for a while. So sad but interesting... I'm a history geek!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Question: did you have to repair the works of the clock? Or was it just dirty or something? I have a (probably) mid-century one that only works intermittently, and I'm considering opening it up to have a look-see.

    Also; toothpicks! Right?! So nice to be validated. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have a tiny clock exactly like this! I shall need to get my craft on though. I think I only kept it because I liked the filigree effect.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @ Anna - no repairs needed, although when I wound it today it took a "jiggle" (technical term) to get it ticking, so I think it might be a bit dirty inside. Sounds like that's the issue with yours, too, if it works sometimes. Dirt & old oil are the most common problems with old clocks - that and over-winding (although then it wouldn't work at all.)

    Opening it up is pretty easy, but I'd be afraid to disassemble the gears for cleaning without my dad's help, since he fixes antique clocks as a hobby. You might find a tutorial online to walk you through it, though, if you're feeling adventurous. :D

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've been telling my hub about all your projects; I could gauge the size of the gleam in my own eyes by the distinct wtf look in his. I don't think he expected me to put 'dremel' on my Christmas list.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Jen, Thank you for the link. I bow to you and John's AWESOMENESS! I can't wait to show my hubby and tell him "I want one".

    ReplyDelete
  19. so seeing your table reminds me, when you were in DC did you stop in at Lincoln Restaurant? their entire floor is done in pennies. it might not have even been open when you were here, but i just heard about it recently. http://www.citysbest.com/washington-dc/news/2011/04/15/lincoln-restaurant-a-nod-to-honest-abes-favorites/. seems pretty cool to me!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Nice work! I always enjoy seeeing what you came up with!

    If you want a good shop online to get gems and shiny stuff for other crafts (if you don,t have another ring ;) ) may i recommand you this one: http://www.perlesandco.com/?language=en

    Compared to many others shops i've been and even some jewelry stores, they are a lot less "pricey" and they got swarovski crystals. The shipping is kinda cheap too, if you wonder about it, them being in France.

    And they got some nice pocket watch, old style too!

    (I'm not the kind of person that makes publicity, but when i read about you struggling like that, i thought of that shop immediately!)

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a beautiful job you did on this clock. If I saw that clock somewhere I would have totally bought it.

    I used to work in a place that sold Linden clocks and they were very nice; but much improved I think, with your upgrades!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Beautiful!

    Thanks for the reminder about the radium too. I just finished "The Poisoners Handbook" and was horrified and intrigued by the story of the "Radium Girls" of New Jersey back in the early part of the 20th century.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Jen were you raised with clocks? My dad is a huge clock fan so we always had clocks ticking away in our house. I honestly don't even nothice ticking clocks until my husband (not raised with clocks) mentions it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is a bit off topic, but I was just looking for some Harry Potter steampunk inspiration (which there is a surprising lack of), when I discovered that steampunk Disney princesses are a thing. It made me think of Epbot.

    http://thedilettantista.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/40-days-to-dragoncon-steampunk-disney/

    http://kaladam.deviantart.com/gallery/10551395

    http://anime-ray.deviantart.com/gallery/?q=steampunk#/d2xcvz6

    http://kaladam.deviantart.com/gallery/10551395

    I thought you might enjoy these.

    ReplyDelete
  25. radium = scary! if anyone is curious about how prevalent radioactive materials were (and still are) used there's a book called "the radioactive boyscout" by ken silverstein. a GREAT read!

    oh, and your clock? absolutely darling!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love the small clock.
    Im like John. I cannot stand the ticking of a clock, dripping water. In my college days, I would often wake up during the night and put my roomamtes watch into a dresser

    ReplyDelete
  27. That looks so cool! I don't usually have enough patience, but adding the silver leaf definitely sounds worth it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I had a crescent moon charm that lost a bunch of the tiny rhinestones, they were blue so I fixed it with some blue nail polish. You can't really the difference until you get up close because the nail polish has that shininess too :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Okay..so now i have question...for the refurbishing side of your brain..I have an antique twin-size bass bed...simple tube design..no engraving etc...but due to previous owner abuse..needs to be refinished...any DIY suggestions for how-tos or books on the topic?

    ReplyDelete
  30. It's from the early 1970's. My mother bought the exact same clock in Spain during her study-abroad in 1976. (The glow-in-the-dark bits on the hands can confirm that it's not all that old)

    I loved seeing this update; it's nice to know my little clock has a sibling out there!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Very pretty. :D

    Also, I can't help but think that it 'must be one of them ticking clocks'. ^__^

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks for the great how to's as well as the safety tips [I had no idea about glow-in-the-dark hazards, aside from getting distracted and stubbing my toe in the dark].

    And if I may make a request, more faux finish how-to's Please! Or if you have any classes you know about [I'm on the West Coast in CA], please feel free to send those links along to hugheskristy at rocketmail dot com.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  33. So cute! I agree with John, ticking clocks drive me nuts! I had one in college that I had to put in the fridge when I slept to muffle the noise.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Tute for the cool penny table - please???? :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Gotta love your extreme attention to detail that would drive you to silver leaf the tiny dimples for the gems! I have a circle pin from my grandmother (inexpensive costume jewelry) that has a pearl bead missing from one of the holes and have been trying to figure out how to fill it with something. If you can do the silver leaf, I should be able to find something that would work! :-)

    Also, I'm sitting in just the right spot in our house to hear the kitchen wall clock, the cuckoo clock, and the chiming wall clock from my grandparents--all ticking, but not in sync! Usually I just tune them out and don't really hear them anymore, but every now and then I notice them all--very cool!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Found this post when doing a google search on these clocks after seeing one on ebay. I wanted a little info before I bid on it. Love what you did with yours! From what I've found they're pre-1940's. So you have quite a nice little antique there.
    p.s.: I won the auction and mine's in the mail! can't wait.
    peace and blessings.

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>

Related Posts with Thumbnails