Today we’re going to show you how to decoupage on wood using a wall clock to give it a complete makeover. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with old wall clocks, this DIY should give you some inspiration.
What is Decoupage?
Decoupage involves cutting and pasting decorative elements (traditionally paper) onto an object to embellish its beauty. It is topped with layers of clear coat to seal and protect the paper.
When I was learning how to decoupage on wood, we took decoupage a few steps further by adding texture on top of the decoupage paper with stencils. You’ll see when we get to the clock tutorial that I’m using the same techniques – and even the same decoupage paper!
Do It Over Designers
Today we’re taking part in the Do It Over Designers blog Hop hosted by Ann at The Apple Street Cottage.
We’re a group of bloggers who take something old and/or unused and ‘do it over’ into something new. These items can be found in closets, barns, garages, yard sales, thrift stores, you name it! Don’t forget to check out the other projects at the bottom of this post. And be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!
Backstory of Decoupage Wall Clock
For this upcycle, I’m turning back the clock to when Hubs and I were first dating! We were invited to be on Canada’s version of ‘Flea Market Flip’, called Trash to Treasure.
By the way, you’ll have to forgive the less than stellar photos that follow since this was long before we started blogging :).
Being easy in our relationship, what we discovered when we were on the show was that we are a lot alike: opinionated, stubborn and both wanting to do things OUR way. However, we managed to pull together and have fun in the process.
It just goes to show that Birdz of a Feather really do flock together (and feather the nest with DIYs and upcyle projects, in our case). That’s because not long after the show aired, we were happily married.
Of course, we’re still maintaining the status quo! Almost two decades later, we’re just as opinionated and still having fun together. I guess the couple who DIYs and upcycles together, stays together too!
Finding the Antique Clock
The year we were on the show, the production company cut back the spend money from $400 to only $200, plus another $50 for supplies. Ouch; not much to work with!
Although we didn’t know specifically where the show was going to allow us to shop, I thought it a good idea to do some pre-location scouting for items downtown. Maybe that’s cheating but I call it strategizing. That’s when we ‘first’ found the clock.
This clock is a perfect upcycle for wall decor because of condition. Despite its missing glass on the pendulum door, it’s all easy fixes. The clock doesn’t work and the wood is dinged and in need of TLC, making it a perfect candidate for decoupage.
In contrast, here’s a picture of a similar clock at our favourite flea market in Aberfoyle – with a $295 price tag! When you find a clock like this in perfect antique condition, you might want to reconsider decoupaging on wood!
My team members (there were three of us) thought I was crazy when I told them I was going to decoupage a clock on TV. Especially considering all the dry time between steps. But, as always, there’s a trick to that I’ll share further ahead.
On buy day the show arranged for us to do content sales first. But then we ended up driving downtown also (yay)! Turns out our scouting trip was a great call because $200 doesn’t typically get you too far. Especially when you’re hard pressed to find something within an allotted time period! Production schedules are run like a well oiled clock – pun intended.
In the end, we got seven pieces. The clock and the wrought iron base were thankfully found before shoot day and still available on the day of filming. But we also got some amazing bargains at the content sales too!
What do I need for decoupage wall clock?
- Clear Shellac (spray or brush on)
- Foam applicator brush
- Wallpaper paste or decoupage glue
- Green painters tape
- Spray or brush on high adhesion primer – or a deglosser
- White paint
- Stain (Natural Oak or Mahogany)
- Crackle medium
- Clapham’s beeswax
- Texture paste and applicator
- Photocopy (anything you want to decoupage onto the clock)
The following materials are only needed if replacing glass:
- Pistol grip glass cutter – my favourite is this Toyo Pistol Grip Oil Feed Cutter
- Piece of glass (I used Everglade clear textured glass, available through your local stained glass studio)
- Glazier’s points
How Do You Decorate an Old Clock?
Step 1 – Disassemble Clock
It’s way easier to paint and decoupage on wood when the door is off, so remove it. Even if you don’t have glass to replace like me, my biggest pet peeve is seeing paint on the hinges, so take time to disassemble.
Step 2: Find Decoupage Paper
These days you can find peel ‘n stick decals, decor transfers and even decoupage tissue paper to embellish furniture and the like. But back then, we went old school and used paper to decoupage!
What Paper is Best for Decoupage?
Regular printer paper is perfectly fine! Find a pretty graphic in a book and photocopy it onto the paper using a colour printer. However, if you find a paper napkin with a great graphic, peel the layers so you only have the printed part and use that to decoupage!
I use only a portion of my photocopy for both my inspiration sample and the clock; making sure to keep the part of the peony with the lady bug.
Step 3: Shellac Paper
Brush the front and back of your colour photocopy print with the shellac using the foam applicator and let it completely dry. Do this in a well ventilated area. It will seal the paper and prepare it for the other finishes. Once dry, mark the placement of your paper against the area of the clock you want to apply it to and cut it to size.
Step 4: Replace Glass (Optional)
Skip this step if your clock’s glass is still intact and you don’t have to replace it.
First, remove the door and measure the opening. When you cut replacement glass, deduct 1/8″ on the total length and width measurement for wiggle room. This beautiful decorative glass is called everglade.
Because it automatically dispenses oil, my favourite type of glass cutter is a pistol grip. But any glass cutter will do; just be sure to add a dab of oil on the cutting wheel to lubricate it before you score the glass.
Once the glass is scored, lift it up with the score centred between your two thumbs. Then apply upward pressure as you pull outward to snap the glass apart. Set the glass aside until after paint finishes.
Step 4 – Prime and Paint Decoupage Wall Clock
Lightly sand the wood finish and then apply a high adhesion primer so the paint will stick. You can use a deglosser instead of sanding and priming, but make sure to use it outdoors.
With tight time constraints, and no air conditioning during the shoot, decoupage on wood will never dry unless you use a blow dryer between each step. It’s a great timesaver even when decoupaging at home.
As Hubs is helping me out with the blow drying below, he’s is actually freaking out that I won’t finish on time. His nagging stresses me out too. So of course, this is when the cameras sneak up behind us just as I’m muttering under my breath that I’ll ring his neck if he doesn’t calm down! Oh, the joys of film shooting!
Once the primer is dry repeat the same steps with paint before moving on to decoupage.
Step 6 – Apply Decoupage on Wood
Apply wallpaper paste (or a decoupage glue like mod podge) to the back of the photocopy and on the clock where you want to place it. For me, that’s at the very top and around the sides. Smooth it out to remove air bubbles and let dry.
Step 7 – Add Texture to Decoupage on Wood
You can decoupage all the wood surfaces of the clock but it’s more interesting to add texture, like you see below on my practice piece!
Choose a stencil that goes with your theme; I add some feathery foliage to the sides of the clock. But I also add a dragon fly and foliage right over the decoupage on the front (which you’ll see further ahead).
Position the stencil then apply texture paste with an applicator through the cutouts (I’m using venetian plaster here). Carefully lift the stencil off.
When dry, lightly sand away any nubs until it’s smooth and you’re happy with the appearance of the raised effect.
Step 8 – Crackle Decoupage on Wood
Now I’m adding some age back with another faux finish – crackle. On the show, there isn’t the luxury of time to do a practice piece, but it would be a good idea to test the crackle before trying it on the clock itself. Apply your chosen crackle finish according to directions (I’m using a two part product).
Crackle medium is unpredictable; it is affected by the environment – temperature, moisture, materials and how heavy you apply it. Generally, the thicker the application, the larger the cracks but it’s difficult to get consistency, given all the variables that can affect the final outcome. As a DIY’er you just have to learn to accept and live with what you end up with! After all, variety is the spice of life.
Once the crackle coat is dry, apply a coat of stain over the entire clock. The stain blends everything together and ages the white paint, while enhancing the cracks. Try not to be too heavy handed when you rub on the stain; wipe most of it away to just highlight the cracks.
Step 9 – Seal the Decoupage on Wood
Ideally wait at least 24 hours until everything is dry and then apply paste wax to the entire piece and buff it off. Alternativey, you could also brush or spray on a few light coats of matte water based varathane to seal it. But I love the look of wax over a faux finish like this.
Sept 10 – Reassemble Decoupage Clock
Secure the glass onto the door frame with glazier’s points. Reattach the door and it’s ready to hang on the wall (or sell on a TV show)!
Decoupage Clock Before and After
Here is the transformation of the decoupage wall clock.
On the front, the decoupage is enhanced by the raised dragonfly and leaf.
Unfortunately these pictures don’t do our decoupage wall clock justice.
You also can’t see the texture of the pretty everglade glass.
On sell day, a dad with his young family takes a liking to two our our pieces! But the kids are really intrigued by our decoupage clock when Dad points out the ladybug.
We end up bundling the clock with the wrought iron base. It’s kinda funny that these are the two pieces we pre-scouted!
Of course we didn’t make as much as if we sold the pieces individually, but bundling is a great way to move more items. Afterall, the team with the most money at the end of the show on Trash to Treasure wins. And you can’t make money if you don’t sell your pieces!
At the end of sell day, we turn our initial $200 investment into $825. We not only set an opening sale record, but can also boast the largest increase of investment vs. sales. And we’ve been bragging ever since :).
From that day forward, we really caught the upcycling bug!
Want more decoupage ideas? If you’d like to explore more how to decoupage on wood projects, check out our medicine cabinet diy and this fun and crazy decoupage diy. Or for something a lot simpler, learn how to decoupage napkins onto glass jars.
Pin Decoupage on Wood
Do It Over Designers
Visit these other talented bloggers for more upcycle and do-it-over transformations!
- Exquisitely Unremarkable
- Purple Hues & Me
- Southern Sunflowers
- Unique Creations by Anita
- My Hubbard Home
- The Apple Street Cottage
- Modern on Monticello
- Little Vintage Cottage