Decoupage on Wood – Turning Back the Clock!

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!

Decoupage on wood shows decoupage paper with a peony and ladybug and various other flowers

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!

Before we get into the tutorial, don’t forget to get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe! You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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!

Antique Wall clock in a flea market displaying $295 price tag

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.

Buy Day

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!

Before we get to the tutorial, don’t forget to get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe! You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

What do I need for decoupage wall clock?

The following materials are only needed if replacing glass:

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.

Hand holding up decoupage paper showing a peony with ladybugs for decoupage on wood project.

Colour photocopy prepared with shellac and ready for the clock

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.

Everglade glass is my all time favourite architectural glass

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.

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!

Raised texture element added to decoupage on wood sample board

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.

Blow dryer aimed at additional textural elements for decoupage on wood project to dry it between steps

Blow drying between each step. Here you can see the embossed look that the stencil provides

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.

Decoupage on wood is emphasized with crackle faux finish, stain and wax

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.

Top of decoupage wall clock showing decoupage on wood with peony, ladybug and added elements like dragonfly and leaf using texture paste

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)!

Shows two people reattaching the door of a wall clock for decoupage on wood project

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.

Clock showing finished decoupage on wood project.

Unfortunately these pictures don’t do our decoupage wall clock justice.

Clock showing finished decoupage on wood project.

You also can’t see the texture of the pretty everglade glass. Clock showing finished decoupage on wood project.

Sell Day

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

Pinnable pin for how to decoupage on wood showing decoupage clock and other decoupage elements

Do It Over Designers

Visit these other talented bloggers for more upcycle and do-it-over transformations!

30 thoughts on “Decoupage on Wood – Turning Back the Clock!

  1. This is a great story, Sara!! I knew you guys were on a show, but seeing the pictures and the project is awesome!! You just made my morning. How fun…and it’s fun to see your pretty face!! Happy Hopping my friend…off to pin your clock!

    • Thanks so much Kim! This post goes waaaay back – it was so fun reminiscing about our time on the show so I’m glad it made your morning :).

  2. I’m a huge fan of decoupage and your clock turned out amazing, Sara. What fun to be on a show – and win! Congrats to both of you…just a few years later! lol

    • Yes, just a ‘few’ years later. I think I also take the prize for procrastinating on writing up a project – lol!

  3. It’s funny Sara, that I always do a gloss over of the pictures when I’m looking at other bloggers posts to see what’s interesting. Then I go back and read the content – so as I’m glossing over your photos, I’m thinking, who are these people and are they children or relatives of Sara’s? Well, duh! It’s you and your soon to be hubby when you were much younger on a tv show, crafting! How cool is that! I love seeing all sorts of decoupage and this is so fabulous! Don’t think I knew of decoupage back then! Congrats on the win, and you two really rock together in creating!!!

    • Too funny Gail because I don’t recognize us either! Actually, I stand corrected – Hubs still looks exactly the same – I wish I did too lol!

      Throwing Hubs right into the fire on a TV show when we first met was a good test of our relationship! He actually IS my rock :).

  4. This is a really cool project with a even better story. That must have been a great project to be a part off. It reminds me of a show we had in the UK called bargain hunt. The end result is stunning, great job and worth the new price tag.

    • Thanks so much Anita! We had great weather that day so had a great crowd of people coming by. We were happy everything sold.

  5. How cool! I love that show! And how awesome that you won. You have every right to brag. 😃 And the clock looks amazing. No wonder you guys won!

  6. I didn’t know you were on Trash to Treasure, I used to watch that show all the time. What a great story! The clock upcycle is fabulous and love how the kids seemed so intrigued by your decoupage efforts. Thanks for the decoupage tips, I learned a few new ones today.

    • I’m so addicted to flea market flip since we don’t have an equivalent here anymore; I could watch it 24/7 lol!

      So glad to hear you learned something; always makes my day 🙂

  7. When I was a kid I remember my mother and her neighbor used to decoupage plastic vegetables on wood planks. In my mind that was the only thing decoupage was good for, but now I realize there’s more to decoupage than plastic veggies. LOL.

    • That’s hysterical Stacey; I remember those plastic veggies too, except my mom used to stick pins with beads in them! I just remember all the dust they collected – ugh!

      Glad we could enlighten you to other uses for decoupage :).

  8. What a fun read and exciting time of your life! Your clock turned out lovely. You would never guess it was decoupage.
    How fun to be on a TV show and share your talents with the world.
    Thanks for inspiring me, Sara.

    • It was a fun time; I think I only knew Hubs a few weeks when I convinced him to audition with me. Good thing I didn’t scare him off 🙂

  9. It’s no wonder you guys won. The decoupage combined with the raised stencil is exquisite, Sara. You totally rocked this. You have to send me the link to the show if it’s on youtube or something so I can watch it from start to finish.

    • Thanks so much Mix! I’ve been scouring the internet for a link but have come up empty so far. Now I’m on a mission; if it’s out there, I’ll find it – lol!

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