Sunday, 1 May 2011

Make a Clock, using your favourite fabric

Polka Dot Fabric Clock Tutorial
This is an idea that popped into my head a few weeks ago and I finally made mine yesterday so thought I'd share the process. 

You will need:
Clock Tutorial
  • A clock mechanism with hands (see note below about this)
  • An embroidery hoop of the size you want your clock to be
  • A piece of fabric big enough to fill your embroidery hoop
  • Waste cardboard at least as tall as your embroidery hoop plus 2 cm.
  • A pen
  • (not shown) Glue suitable for sticking card to wood
  • (not shown) Scissors
A note on clock mechanisms: You can get these quite cheaply in a number of craft shops and online. I do not like the sound of ticking and so I looked for something called a "continuous sweep" mechanism. Otherwise any clock mechanism will do. I found mine on ebay where prices went up to £10 per unit, but mine was about £3.50 inc postage.

On your card draw round the inner edge of the inner ring of your embroidery hoop. Then add on an extra 1cm on each end and cut out this shape. 
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Using your scissors make a number of small cuts through the extra centimetre of card and up to the line you have drawn. You are effectively making  a number of tabs which will fold up at 90 degrees to the rest of the card. 

Put your fabric in the embroidery hoop and trim off the excess at the back so it looks neat from the front. 
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Flip the hoop over and insert your card. You'll see that the flaps I cut earlier are now pressed against the inner hoop while the main body of the card is flat against the fabric. 
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Once you are sure everything is fitting properly use glue to stick the flaps to the embroidery hoop (but not to the fabric - afterall you may want to change the fabric in 6 months and having it all glued on will mean you need to cut out more cardboard instead of just changing the fabric).

Using a skewer or your scissors and keeping your fingers clear, make a hole in the middle of your hoop, going through both the card and the fabric. The hole needs to be big enough to fit the shaft of the clock mechanism through. 

Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding fixing the mechanism in place, placing of the hands and battery. 

Now put your clock up on the wall and sit back while time passes. 

Hints:
  1. My clock hands kept colliding and stopping themselves when I first put it together. As they were plastic I got a dish with boiling water and dropped them in for a minute. I carefully fished them out and was able to straighten them so they now move smoothly over each other. 
  2. Pliers may be useful for tightening the clock mechanism washers and nuts around the cardboard and fabric. 
  3. As mentioned earlier, you are not stuck with this fabric forever. You can make it seasonal with special summer or christmas fabric, or show off some of your embroidery or patchwork. When you do want to replace it carefully remove the clock mechanism and undo the embroidery hoop. The fabric should just fall out and the card is attached to the inner loop so should stay in place. Put in your new fabric, tighten the hoop, make a hole in the fabric where it needs to be and replace the clock mechanism. 
If you use this tutorial please make a voluntary donation of just £1 towards my ongoing craft addiction. 

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