How To Make A Pallet Wood Clock With BIG Impact

Hello Everyone, I’m Marie, a furniture flipping, empty nesting, Grandma who runs on two speeds; sleep and full throttle. I blog over at The Interior Frugalista where I share all things DIY from furniture makeovers, DIY projects around our humble abode, home decor crafts, and room makeovers on a budget. I’m thrilled to be helping Jessi out today while she is on maternity leave.

The first week of a fresh new year is almost over and have you, like me, been spending time thinking about your goals for 2016? As a DIYer my thoughts go to things like, when should I start organizing the bursting closets? What DIY project should I start first?

Thanks to Jessi’s invitation to share a project with her readers, I was motivated to start that first DIY project of 2016 and so today I’m sharing a tutorial on How To Make An Easy Rustic Pallet Wood Clock with BIG Impact. When I say this clock has BIG impact it is because at 38 inches in diameter, it is quite large. Large because it hangs on a wall in our front entrance with a 12-foot ceiling height, with sightlines to both our living and dining rooms.

Create the perfect piece for large spaces with the DIY rustic pallet wood wall clock step by step tutorial. It looks great and can be customized to fit your home.

Easy Rustic Pallet Wood Clock with BIG Impact

Here’s what you need for this project:

  • 6-foot pine fence boards x 8
  • The Clock Shoppe High Torque 18″- 22″ Clock Hands with Mechanism (Hobby Lobby)
  • Aging solution (recipe below)
  • Chalk paint in the colors Luscious Lime, Rocky Mountain Grey, and Simplicity White by Country Chic Paint
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish in the color New Life green
  • Clear Wax by Country Chic Paint
  • Dark Wax by Country Chic Paint
  • Clean white lint-free rag
  • 1-inch wood screws
  • Large D-Ring Picture Hangers
  • Graphite Paper

Tools Used

  • Mitre Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Power drill
  • Large woodworking clamps
  • Trammel Circle Marker
  • Router with Plunge Router Bit
  • Awl

I called it a Pallet Wood Clock but with living in the Canadian Prairies and not having a garage, it’s a little too cold outside to be taking apart a pallet, so we cheated and used 6-foot fence boards purchased at Home Depot. We tried to get rough cedar boards, but they were out of stock so we used pine instead.

Pallet Wood Clock 2

Aging the Wood

To get that aged wood appearance, I use what I refer to as Giggle Juice. What the heck is giggle juice, you ask?

Pallet Wood Clock Aging SolutionW

Giggle Juice Recipe:

  • Fine Steel Wool (the finer the wool, the easier it breaks down)
  • White Distilled Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar (my personal preference)
  • Soak the steel wool in vinegar in a sealed container (the longer the solution sits, the rustier the juice)
  • I recommend you wear vinyl gloves because the smell of the solution will stay on your hands (trust me on this one)
  • Rub the juice onto the wood with a piece of the saturated steel wool
  • Apply in coats until you achieve the desired look

Pallet Wood Clock Applying Aging SolutionW

From what I’ve read, the acidic solution reacts with the tannins in the wood and essentially provides an acid wash stain. I always have a plastic container of Giggle Juice brewing in my shop so mine was super rusty. You can see the difference between the treated and non-treated wood in the picture below. I applied three coats to each board.

Assembling the Clock

Step 1 – Painting the Wood

Pallet Wood Clock PaintedW

After I aged the fence boards and let them completely dry, I randomly dry brushed layers of paint starting with the color New Life green. I let each color dry in between applications (it takes mere minutes). Next I repeated this step using Rocky Mountain Grey, followed by Simplicity White, and Luscious Lime. Note: you only have to paint seven of the boards, the eighth will be used for the uprights on the back.

Once the last coat was dry I applied a thin coat of clear wax using a lint-free rag to bring out the colors. Next I rubbed dark wax, using the same lint-free rag, only in the knot holes and where the wood had character and deep grains, and wiped away the excess. The final step was lightly buffing the waxes so they spread evenly over each board.

Dry Brush Technique: dip the brush so that just the tips have paint. Swipe the brush onto a paper towel to remove excess paint. Apply light pressure on the brush and randomly stroke the paint onto the wood. The goal is to achieve a timeworn look.

Step 2 – Attaching the Boards

Pallet Wood Clock Cutting UprightsW

Cut the extra fence board (the one you didn’t paint) in half using a mitre saw to 3-foot lengths.
Pallet Wood Clock UprightsW

Lay the painted fence boards on a worktable upside down (mine are placed horizontally). Butt the boards up to one another and clamp in place using large woodworking clamps.

On the fourth board (middle board) mark where the center of the clock will be (19-inches from the edge). Using a 3/8″drill bit, drill a hole for the clock hand stem to fit through.

Lay the clock mechanism over the center mark and trace the outline with a pencil. On either side of the mechanism lay the 3-foot boards (these become your uprights). Note: Make sure the top of each upright sits level with one another from the top of the clock because your picture hangers will be mounted on them. Attach the fence boards to the uprights using 1-inch wood screws  (see picture above).

Depending on the thickness of the boards and the maximum depth of the clock mechanism (ours was 7/8-inches) you may need to notch out some of the wood to recess the clock mechanism. Note: The mechanism should rest below the depth of the uprights. I would urge you to do this with a Router and Plunge Router Bit. Our son borrowed our router so we had to notch ours the old fashioned way using a chisel and hammer – hence the crude opening.

Step 3 – Cutting the Clock Round

Pallet Wood Clock Drawing CircleW

Using a Trammel Circle Marker, draw out a 38-inch diameter circle on the back side of the clock with the pointed end of the Trammel in the center hole you drilled earlier for the clock mechanism.

Pallet Wood Clock Cutting CircleW

Clamp the wood onto a worktable and use a jigsaw to cut along the circle, turning and reclamping as you go. With a mouse sander, smooth out the raw edge around the clock. Note:  You will need to paint the raw edge using one or all of the colors on the pallet boards. I used the dry brush technique again along my edge.

Step 4 – Clockface Numbers

Pallet Wood Clock TemplateW

I found a clock face graphic that I liked at the Graphics Fairy website. I uploaded the graphic to Block Poster and enlarged the image using the Portrait orientation setting to fit the 38-inch diameter clock. Then I printed the clock face and pieced the template together with tape and cut it out.

Pallet Wood Clock Image TransferW

Next I laid the template onto the clock, ensuring the twelve and six numbers were at the top and bottom and taped the template in place at the top. Using a sheet of graphite paper, I traced the template onto the wood.

Pallet Wood Clock Image Transfer2W

Using art brushes and the chalk paint color, Rocky Mountain grey, I painted over the trace marks.

Pallet Wood Clock Painting ImageW

Pallet Wood Clock Painted NumbersW

You could skip the steps above by gluing on vinyl self-adhesive, plastic, or wooden letters. You will need 20 I’s, 4 V’s and 4 X’s. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find 20 I’s in stock locally so we resorted to painting the numerals.

Step 5 – Attaching the Clock Mechanism

Pallet Wood Clock MechanismW

We attached the clock mechanism onto the back of the clock using E6000 glue. Attach the clock hands to the front following the instructions on the package.

Step 6 – Attaching Picture Hangers

Pallet Wood Clock D-HooksW

Attach Large D-Ring Hooks onto the top of each upright measuring 1-inch down from the top and screw in place. Insert one AA battery into the clock mechanism.

Step 7 – Hanging the Clock

Pallet Wood Clock Mark for HangingW

Tip:  Easy No Fail/No Measuring way to hang wall art

  • Line up a piece of masking tape across the hanger of each D-Ring
  • Mark at the top of each D-Ring where the nails/screws should go (see photo above)
  • Remove the masking tape from the clock and attach to the wall (see photo below)
  • Use a level to ensure the tape is perfectly straight
  • Mark each dot using an Awl and remove the tape

Pallet Wood Clock Measuring WallW

  • Place a drywall screw on each mark. Hopefully you hit a stud otherwise you will need to install drywall anchors like we did (see photos below).

Pallet Wood Clock Wall AnchorsW

Ta da, that’s it!

I’m thrilled with the impact the clock makes when both entering our front door and the living/dining rooms above.

Pallet Wood Clock HangingW

Even though there seem to be a lot of steps to make this Pallet Wood Clock, it really is quite easy. It’s a perfect weekend project!

Thank you so much Jessi, for the opportunity to share my Pallet Wood Clock with your readers!

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, Successful, and Creative 2016


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If you liked this project, check out these other simple DIY projects!

Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Jackie says

    6 years ago

    Love the palletized clock and instructs!!

  2. Marie, The Interior Frugalista says

    7 years ago

    Thank you so much for inviting me to guest post on your bog today Jessi! I hope your readers enjoy and are inspired by my Clock Tutorial. Happy New Year!

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