Tag Archives: diy clock

diy Owl Clock

Happy birthday, sweet baby sister!  Bad big sister alert: your birthday was four months ago.  Sorry, baby sister.  Good big sister alert: I gave you almost exactly what you asked for!

Don’t worry, friends, I actually did give my sister a gift on her birthday.  I didn’t have time (there’s a clock joke) to finish this project for her by her birthday, so I got her a shirt that she wanted to tide her over until her real gift was finished.  She’s extremely patient.

One sunny day last August, my sister called me as I was relaxing by the pool.  She says to me “You need to carve an owl clock for me for my birthday!”. “Ha!”, I exclaimed, “I am not a skilled woodcarver, I will do no such thing!”.  But I tucked the idea into my brain, and after some thought, I came up with this little guy.

diy owl clock

You can apply this procedure to any shape, really.  I’ll tell you how I did it.  You can come up with your own clock design, ok?

All the things

  • Basswood sheet (most craft stores sell them)
  • Clock mechanism and face (also at most craft / hobby stores)
  • Template for clock design
  • X-acto knife
  • Cutting board
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes (I used foam)
  • Clear sealer
  • Dremel
  • Dremel saw blade
  • Dremel griding kit
  • Drill

Template:  I picked a cute lil owl via google image search (that didn’t seem too detailed or complicated) and printed it out.  Then I used an x-acto knife to cut the excess paper around the owl.

001 - owl template

I traced him on to a sheet of basswood.  It’s a little bit stronger, sturdier and heavier than balsa but still lightweight.

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Delay:  Then my sister came over and I hid all of the evidence of what I was making for her.  It would stay hidden for the next four months.  Between the super cold weather, and working extra long hours at work, I just never found the time (ha!) to finish it… Until last weekend when the temperature jumped to the high 60’s.  Yay for project weather!

Cut It Out:  I clamped the basswood sheet to this ikea bench my really fancy work bench and fitted my dremel with a saw blade.  There are easier ways and better tools to cut shapes out of basswood – I’m certain of it.  But I don’t have those tools, so I worked with what I had.

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The dremel saw blade is NOT for precision cutting.

diy owl clock

But, I knew this going into it, and was ready with my dremel grinding attachments to smooth the edges.

diy owl clock

Smooth It: Basswood sheets generally come pretty smooth, but I did opt to smooth the piece even further with 150 grit sandpaper and then fine steel wool.  The steel wool removes all sanding dust and any remaining microscopic lumps and bumps.  An unnecessary step, maybe, but I think it makes a huge difference.

Drill it:  I drilled a hole in the middle of the owl’s belly so the clock mechanism could be attached after his paint job.  To find the center of his belly, I folded my template in half length-wise, and then folded only his belly width-wise.

diy owl clock

A little tap of a nail to make a mark where I wanted to drill the hole…

diy owl clock

A zap with my 1/4″ drill bit, and bam.  Owl belly button.  Don’t mind how rough he looks, this is his backside, which will be against the wall.  His front side is much smoother.

diy owl clock

I used a 1/4″ drill bit for the hole because that was the size of the hand shaft on the clock mechanism I bought.  If you’re making your own clock, make sure you match the size of your hole to the shaft on your mechanism.  Guys, that last sentence went south really fast…  Anyway…

Paint It:  A few coats of brown for the “feathers”.

diy owl clock

I do not have a precise painting hand for detail work, so I used my x-acto to cut my template and taped it on like a stencil to paint the eyes and belly of the owl.

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Same concept for the eyes.

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And then I used a q-tip for the whites of the eyes (also for the beak and talons but I guess I don’t have a pic of that part – #blogphotofail)

diy owl clock

Clock It:  Two coats of clear sealer and a clock mechanism later, and… Owl Clock!

diy owl clock

Happy birfday leetle seester.  I hope your owl clock was worth the wait.


So whooooo are you guys diy-ing birthday gifts for?  Sorry, friends, I tried to make it through this post without an owl joke, but, it just didn’t happen.  #bloggerpunprobs