Making A Clock

A basic guide to clock crafting using recycled metal containers from the home.

As consumers, in each household any number and types of canned and bottled goods that would make appealig clocks are generally readily available. And with the shrinking space for disposing of used and discarded items, new ways to recycle paper, plastic and metal trash are in demand. Although my idea of recycling might not appeal to all, it is definitely done with crafting in mind.

Collecting has become a hobby for many people who do so in a number of ways. Many select a theme or perhaps a name brand. That's where my recycling comes in. I make clocks that delight any number of collectors and make wonderful gifts for friends and family. One of my most popular items are Campbell Soup can clocks. I use institutional size cans since they tend to be earsier to install clock movements into with their larger size. Since the can is round and the body of the clock movement has a flat surface, I recommend purchase of a movement with at least a 3/4 inch spindle. I also recommend the hour hand for displaying time be a minimum of 3 inches in length due to the large surface of the can. The minute and second hands will be slightly longer. The size of the hole needed for the spindle to pertrude on the outside of the can will depend on the maker of the clock movement. Some may require a hole of 3/8 inches or larger.

Before you get started, decide what theme or type of food-stuff container you'd like to recycle into a clock. Whatever the item, open the can at the bottom and remove the contents. Care should be taken when using an electric can opener not to tear the paper wrapping or label found on many canned items. I recommend using a hand-held can opener. Once you've removed the contents, wash the inside of the can but take care not to wet the outside label. If the label should become detached as you work with the can, use a little clear glue. No complicated tools are needed for this project. You'll need a drill, small pliers, clear glue, and a razor blade. Measure the width of the clock movement spindle before deciding on which drill bit you'll need. Then decide on the best place to put the clock that would give you the most satisfaction with the finished product. Once you've selected the appropriate size bit for the hole required, use the razor blade and slit the label in the form of a small cross at the point you wish to insert the clock's spindle. Carefully pull back the paper. This will allow you a drilling area directly on the metal surface of the can and prevent damage to the paper label. Begin by drilling a pilot hole with a drill bit smaller than the one required for the final spindle entry. This pilot hole will allow you the advantage of providing a space for the larger drill bit to grab into the metal and prevent possible slippage which may result in tearing the label. Use the slowest speed allowable on the drill. This will give you more control to the stopping point once you penetrate the can. After drilling the hole, try the spindle for fit on the outside of the can. If it slips in easily, you're home free. Re-adhere the paper previously slit to the can using clear glue and insert the clock mechanism from the inside. Anchor the clock mechanism with the nut provided in the kit, carefully tightening it using the pliers. Follow the instructions provided with the kit to attach the clock hands.

I frequently add other items to enhance and add interest to the appearance of the finished product. Try adding large plastic eyes which are readily available at any craft store. Use your imagination and have fun while you help conserve our natural resources.

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