Summer means backyard playdates, lazy afternoons and late-sunset evenings. If you have to keep track of time, make your outdoor clock a piece of garden art. Bring in the colours of your patio furniture, or paint a rainbow and make counting the minutes bright and cheerful.
- One, 1” x 6” x 6’ (2.5cm x 15cm x 1.8m) cedar board
- Scrap wood to be used as nailing strips
- Clock mechanism with arms
- Paint or stain – suitable for outdoor use and elements
- Painter’s tape
- Six, 1” (2.5cm) deck screws
- Tape measure
- Sandpaper (180-220 grit)
- Cut three pieces of cedar to 16” in length (40.1cm)
- Line up the planks and hold in place using 1” (2.5cm) deck screws, through the nailing strips, into each board
- Sand the boards and the edges smooth.
- Line up your tape measure, or other straight edge, from corner to opposite corner and mark the approximate centre. Repeat with the other corners and you will find you’ve created a cross-section at dead centre.
- Drill a hole at this centre point using a bit the size of your clock shaft.
- Insert your clock mechanism from the back of the boards, through the drilled hole and attach your hands (temporarily)
- Line up your hands to the 12:00 position and mark with a pencil.
- Turn the minute hand around the outdoor clock once and mark where the hour hand stops once the minute hand reaches 12 again. Repeat this, complete rotation, until you have all of the hours marked on the clock face.
- Remove the hands and clock mechanism from the boards.
- To create the rainbow outdoor clock measure the distances between each hour point and put at line at the centre point. (approximately 2 1/2 “ (5cm))
- Drawing a line across the clock face, line up these centre points with their opposite counterpart. ie. The centre point between the hours of 1:00 and 2:00 will correspond with the centrepoint between 6:00 and 7:00. All lines will run through the centre of the clock.
- Place the painter’s tape along the outside of the lines of the section you wish to paint.
- Once dry, repeat with the other sections.
- Once all sections are complete and dry, re-insert the clock mechanism through the back of your outdoor clock and add the arms back on. Line up the clock hands to make sure they coordinate with your markings and then tighten into place.
You can protect this (prior to putting the clock hands on) with a coat or two of outdoor polyurethane to keep it from yellowing too quickly, but it’s not necessary – your outdoor paint will be durable enough to last for years.
As much as I love lazing away summer days – there are still meals to think about, and bedtimes, and kids that need to go home for theirs, so our outdoor clock has been a fantastic addition in both form and function.
Have a great one!
Hello. In your article about making your own outdoor clock you didn’t say how you make the mechanism weatherproof? Thanks!
I didn’t weatherproof the clock, but I hung it in a sheltered spot and it lasted for a few years. The spider’s nests clogged it up more than snow or ice did. lol
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