Book Clock {Tutorial}

August 24, 2011

For someone who is as obsessed with books, like I am, you can't beat this piece of time-telling art.

It has graced my bedroom for months, showing off my bookishness, geekiness, and craftiness (and all of that adds up to awesomeness, yes? lol, now I sound like my brothers).

You can see more of my Destroyable Book projects {here}, and more of my DIY bedroom decorating {here}.

You will need:

  • a Destroyable Book
  • and Xacto or utility knife
  • a clock movement (buy one from the store or gut an old clock)
  • Mod Podge or other glue

This tutorial will be mostly pictorial, since much of it is quite redundant to the Secret Book Box that I made recently. If you are confused about any step, please refer to the post on how to make a hollow book, or leave a comment.

Gather your materials

Figure out where you want the clock to be situated.

The next few pictures show me hollowing out a hole in the book. These are the same steps used to create the Secret Book Box. In just a few words, I cover the cover and a few pages with plastic (from a shopping bag), glue the edges of the book pages together, and use an X-acto knife to cut out the hole.

(You also have the option of gluing after you have cut out the hollow portion. You can glue from the inside of  of the book so that from the outside, the book doesn't look like it has any glue on it.)

If the pictures didn't make sense, the instructions for making a hollow book are {here}.

Note: I had some difficulty aligning my clock with my hole, as you will see. If you run into this problem, you can simply make the hole larger to allow more wiggle room. No one said that the hole has to be the size and shape of your clock movement!

Make a hole where the clock hands will go. I did this without any fancy tools; just lots of muscle, a stray nail to poke the hole, and a pencil to enlarge it.

The next few photos show how I "cleaned up" the hollow part of the book:

At this point, I realized that the hole in the cover, the hollow part of the book, and the clock movement did not line up. Ooops.

Rather than cut out more of the book to scoot the clock movement over to the right by a few centimenters, I just made the hole in the cover bigger.

You won't believe how long it took me to figure out how to screw the clock movement together! I was having a totally "duh" day... In case any of you are having such a day, here is a photo to show you how it is done. :)

Because I had to adjust the size of my hole, it was too big and did not look very handsome. I decided to cover it up-- I just used a paper punch to punch out a page from the book.

Ta-dah! A finished Book Clock!

As you can see here, I added some brown paint to the clock hands. It helps them stand out more from a distance.

I might be something of an anomaly as far as sixteen year old girls go-- I can actually tell time on an analog clock without any problem.
However, if you want to mark off the numbers on the clock, feel free to!
You can use those flat thumbtacks (if you get the white ones, you can even decorate them with Sharpies). You could use number stickers.... miniature paper mustaches.... whatever you want!

P.S. Were you inspired to make something using the tutorial? Please leave a comment, I'd love to see it! 

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  1. That's what I call stylish! Much better than my big clunky digital clock with the *shudder* bright orange glow...

    I really don't know if I could cut up a book, though! :p It just seems so painting with ice cream.

  2. This is such a cute idea! Love how it turned out. I'd love it if you'd stop by my blog and check out the giveaway I'm having for a Dremel Trio!

  3. Thanks!

    Painting with ice cream-- horror! :O
    But this is why I only use "destroyable" books that no one wants to read. :)

  4. Shaylynn, thank you for posting such a great tutorial on how to make a book clock...that is SO original! I have never seen one before. p.s. I got some "destroyable" books this week at GW to hopefully copy some of your book projects.

  5. Such beautiful geekiness! :) I absolutely adore it and am SO impressed by your work (especially at your age...but you probably get sick of hearing I'm just going to say impressed by your work period!)

  6. i love this idea! r book clock is just stunning! thank you for sharing your process!

  7. I love your blog (especially the book crafts) and was wondering if you would be interested in guest posting on my blog? You can find all of the details here: Just let me know if you are interested. Thanks!

  8. Lovely idea! so creative....!
    You have a great blog, too!

  9. Unique.. never seen one like this before ..

    popped in to say hi from pat's color's dekor.

    Keep are truly an inspiration.


  10. wow!! I can honestly say I have never seen a book clock before! this is great! So creative!!

  11. This is so great... Two of my favorite images: text and clocks. Love it! Might need to try.

    ~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking

    A Mother Seeking...

    P.S. Found you through Embellishing Life.
    This week on A Mother Seeking: I Created A Birdhouse Dream House

  12. What a fabulous idea for book lovers:) It came out looking great!

  13. I love it! I love books and clocks so together it is perfect, haha. Also thanks for the helpful tutorial. I will definitely have to try this. Stop by and share at the crafty link party going on right now at Lines Across My Face.
    I hope to see you soon,

  14. Very very cute! Great job thinking outside the box! Came over via Not just a housewife.

  15. Oh, my goodness! This this ever cute, what a great idea.

  16. What a nifty Idea! I love it. new follower from Tea Time Thursdays. Hope you could visit my blog and follow back at

  17. What a clever project. I love how it turned out. I would be so happy if you shared this project on my Inspiration Board {link party}. I know my readers would really enjoy it.
    Hope to see you there.
    carolyn | homework

  18. What a great idea. Can't wait to try it.

  19. That looks great! I made a book clock a couple of years ago and it sure was a booger trying to get the clock movement to line up with the hole AND for the hands to work properly after I put them back on. I love the colors on your book cover. Found you @ carolyn's homework

  20. This is a superb idea! I would love to make one for my house too :)

    Thanks for linking up at Tea Time Thursdays @ Kreative Korner and adding to the fun. This post has been featured on Kreative Korner. Feel free to grab the 'Featured on Kreative Korner' button from the side bar and to use it on your blog.

    The party for this week is going on... hope to see you there again :)

  21. What a fantastic idea! Looks great! ...your newest follower!!

  22. well hello Shaelynn from the heart of America. I thought I was the only one who liked to alter books, although I must say I've never made a clock of one. You have been chosen as a heart of inspiration and so very young, continue to follow your heart and faith. Blessings Terri

  23. Thanks for sharing! You are being featured this week at Lines Across My Face.

  24. Saw this on Pinterest. What a great repurposed project. Added it to my 'repurposed books' board.
    Michael @ Blue Velvet Chair

  25. I am making one for my classroom!!

  26. Wow, your book clock is too cool! I have this linked to my books project post as well today, for inspiration!


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