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Funky Clock

Robert Merrill makes handmade whimsical clocks out of metal and wood.

Robert Merrill started making these clocks for fun. His clocks are entirely handmade, using metal and wood.

Materials and Tools:

1/2" birch plywood
5/8" wood dowel
3/8" wood dowel
yellow and wood stain color stain
foam brush
polyurethane topcoat
silver screws
orange and black polymer clay
wood dowel (for easel)
sheet metal for back plate
store bought clockwork mechanism
power drill and screwdriver
tin snips
wire cutters
safety glasses
100-grit sandpaper
wood glue
wire crimpers
crimping tool or hammer


1. Make templates of your desired designs and trace a body, a pendulum (make two 3-inch circles) and legs onto plywood (figure A).

2. Cut out all of the parts using a jigsaw. Wear safety glasses (figure B).

3. Sand all the cut out parts with 100-grit sandpaper until smooth to the touch.

4. Stain the body and pendulum with desired color stain (figure C) and a wood stain for contrast on the legs. Let dry for approximately 20 minutes.

5. Apply three coats of high gloss polyurethane to the clock with a paintbrush. Allow to dry between coats.

6. Cut out a back plate on a piece of sheet metal using tin snips. The back plate should be just big enough to cover the hole on the back of the body. Drill holes to attach to the body and a hole for the clock mechanism. Attach the back plate to the back of the body using screws and washers (figure F).

7. Attach the two parts of the pendulum together using wood glue (figure G). Screw an eyehook into the top of the pendulum. Attach the legs to the body using screws and washers.

8. Drill a hole in the center edge of the bottom of the clock body to insert wire to hang the pendulum using wire crimpers and a crimping tool. Wrap a piece of wire around a 5/8-inch dowel and remove the spiral from the dowel. Wrap a piece of wire around the eyehook on the pendulum, insert the wire through the wire spiral and hang it from the bottom of the clock body (figure I).

9. Wrap wire around a 5/8-inch wood dowel. Remove from the dowel and cut the spiral into two pieces using wire cutters. Drill two holes in the top edge of the clock body and insert the spiral wires in each hole using wood glue (figure J).

10. Pinch off two pieces of orange polymer clay and shape each piece into a 3/4-inch square. Roll two pieces of red polymer clay between your fingers and shape them into balls. Flatten them and apply them to the center of the orange squares. Roll two pieces of black polymer clay between your fingers to shape two balls. Flatten the black balls and apply them off-center to the red circles. Make a hole at the bottom of each square to attach to wire later. Bake for 20 minutes at 175 degrees.

11. Attach one of the polymer clay squares to each coiled wire at the top of the clock with glue for a funky look.

12. Cut a 3/8-inch dowel to length, drill the back of the clock, add wood glue in the hole and add the dowel for an easel (figure L). Add the clock mechanism and hands to the body of the clock.

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