Thrifty Pottery Barn Clock

I hate throwing any building materials away.  In fact I’m constantly looking through my husbands “trash” and hoarding supplies that I could repurpose.  Such is the story for my Clock project.

I have been wanting to make a clock for some time.  I love clocks, not that they have much influence on my lifestyle since I am always late (yes, I’m one of those people), but in home decor I am drawn to them.  So it was no surprise when I saw this fun little inspiration, from Pottery Barn, that I had a little lust and envy.

Just so happens the $129 price tag took care of that immediately.  A few key things I liked was the wood look, the dotted outside border, and the black numbers.  Keeping these things in mind I accumulated things to make my version of the clock.

My Materials: Scrap Lathe (wood pieces from walls in old houses), acrylic paint, silver brads, wood glue, piece of MDF board, clock “guts” and house numbers, hammer, and access to fancy power tools (drill, band saw, and optional other technical tools)

My budget: Less than $10. (MDF $1.) (Brads $2.50) (Numbers 5@.25=1.25) Clock hands ($1.)  little time and love

We finished out basement this winter, and in doing so we tore down an old lathe and plaster wall.  I scraped all the plaster off about 10 pieces to prep it for paint.

Using off-white acrylic paint I “roughly” painted the tops and sides.  When I say roughly I used a foam brush and just put enough paint on the pieces to add some color, not completely covering the wood.

close up after painting

Then I took a piece of MDF board that I purchased from Habitat Re-Store (I’m an addict, just an FYI) for a dollar.  My handy husband, who is much more efficient at operating power tools than I, cut a 12″ diameter circle in the MDF and added the “hole thingy” in the back to hang it.  Seeing how I wanted mine to hang flush to the wall, and the weight of the MDF was quite heavy, I opted to also have him cut out a piece in the center of the MDF to house the clock guts.  I just picked up whatever MDF I could find which ended up being 3/4″ thick. (pardon my lack of  knowledge of clock parts- hope this makes sense). Note: I know that the chances of people having the power tool that makes the fancy hanging hole in back is slim.  You could easily modify to use saw-tooth picture hanger, or wire across the back to hang.

Then using silver brads, I attached the lathe pieces to the MDF circle.  I wanted the silver brads to make the outside circle design (black dots on the outer edge of the Pottery Barn clock).

As you can see, I didn’t want a specific pattern or striped look to the face of the clock, so I used different length and paid attention to where the edges lined up.  In order to be sure that the brads held I applied a layer of wood glue to the back of each piece then adhered to the MDF circle.  I also drilled little hole to make hammering the brads into the wood/MDF a bit easier.  After all the pieces were attached I trimmed down the pieces that were hanging over the edge of the MDF circle.

I found these house numbers at Habitat Re-Store for 25 Cents each. While they didn’t have an entire collection they had enough to convey the style I was looking for.    One thing about using house numbers, they were a little big.  Fitting all the numbers in was a bit cluttered, so I had to come up with an alternative to make this work.  I might suggest a larger clock face.

Trying to find smaller numbers was a challenge so I took it upon myself to free-hand the remaining numbers.  I used a black paint-pen.  The clock guts (par that makes it work) I had from a clock that died, but I found new hands at a rummage sale.  I just painted the hands black to match the numbers.

The final product:

It was perfect for the husband’s basement decor.

Liking to these party’s
Home Stories of A to Z: Tutorials & Tips Tuesday
Not Just a Housewife: Show me what you got
The Creative Girl: Something I whipped up

Sugar Bee Crafts: Take a Look Tuesday
Todays Creative Blog: Get your craft on
Someday Crafts: Whatever Goes Wednesday
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Friday

DIY Club


Filed under DIY Projects, Handyman, Inspiration

23 responses to “Thrifty Pottery Barn Clock

  1. Oh my goodness, I love this! Such a great idea, and it looks amazing!

  2. Love it! I actually like yours a lot more than the PB one. More character 🙂

    Stopping by from Sugar Bee Crafts.

  3. looks awesome, great inspiration

  4. This is such a great project. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  5. LindaO

    I like your clock better than PB’s. I love the different sizes of the numbers.

  6. Cyndi

    That’s the coolest clock ever! I found your blog through Miss Mustard Seed’s Link Party (isn’t she the best?) Anyway, I just subscribed to your blog and can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

    • I love these. I eaelcisply love that anybody could make them at that price. What a great way to celebrate fall without changing your whole color scheme! Good job![]Roo Reply:August 24th, 2010 at 10:16 amThank you! Yes they were soooo cheap. The pumpkins were a dollar each, and the spray paint was $3.[]

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  9. Oh my…I love your clock!! I love all the inspiration that comes from the Pottery Barn catalogs.

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  11. Awesome! Just may have to try this!

  12. I love yours MUCH better than the Pottery Barn one! Great job!

  13. This is a really awesome project! I am a site manager on You should consider submitting this as an entry to our Clocks Challenge. We’re giving away an iPad along with other great prizes.

    You can check out the contest here:

    I would be happy to feature it on our site if you decide to post the instructions there and help get it noticed among our 10 million visitors. Let me know if you have any questions!


  14. kim

    LOVE LOVE this clock!

  15. Beautiful job, Heidi! I love clocks too – your DIY version is gorgeous!

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  17. Looks awesome, and you’ve built it so neat!

  18. AWESOME!!! i am thoroughly impressed. t is way better than the pottery barn clock!

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  22. This is so great. I used it as inspiration for my own new clock – was a great basis! Thanks for showing!
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