How to Take Apart a Battery Clock Movement

Yesterday when I told you about my thrifted mantel clock makeover, I mentioned that I disassembled the “clock part” so that I could sand and paint the clock, and I thought that you might be interested in exactly how I did that.

So, technically, the part of the clock that makes it go is called the “movement” (here’s a Wikipedia article about clock movements). The other parts are the face (the part you look at to read the time) and the case (the part that holds it all).

This particular clock was made with a battery operated movement. Basically you can turn just about anything into a clock if you can attach one of these battery movements to it. They’re not too expensive, either. Here’s an Amazon link that shows a variety of battery clock movements.

So, the way I could tell this clock had one of those was by looking at the back:

Battery Movement Inside Mantel Clock

See the battery case thing back there?

Then on the front you can see the hands are interspersed with a bunch of nuts and washers.

Close-up of Face of Battery Operated Mantel Clock

The first thing to do is pull off the second hand. It just pulls right off.

Taking Second Hand Off of Battery Operated Clock

Next there’s a little nut that’s holding on the hour and minute hands. You can get it off with needle-nose pliers.

Removing Nut that Holds Hands on Battery Operated Clock

There it is! Make sure to keep that and all the other little parts in a container (preferably with a lid) so you won’t lose them.

Tiny Nut that Holds Hands on Battery Operated Clock

With the nut off, you can just pull the hour and minute hands right off.

Pulling Hour and Minute Hands off Battery Operated Clock

There they are!

Hour and Minute Hands from a Homemade Battery Operated Clock

Definitely put those in the container, too.

Under those is the last little nut and washer, which hold the battery case in the clock.

Nut and Washer Holding Movement on Clock

Use needle-nose pliers again to get that off.

Loosening Nut of Battery Operated Clock Movement with Needlenose Pliers

There it is! Another tiny piece for your container of parts.

Nut that Holds Battery Movement in Clock

And with that, the battery case from the movement will come right out. There it is:

The Battery Case from a Battery Clock Movement

That’s it! Now you can sand, paint, or refinish your clock any way you want to!

Sanding a Thrifted Mantel Clock

Fun, huh? This was the first time I had done a makeover project on a clock. I would love to do another one. I’m thinking decoupage, maybe. Anyone?

What about you? Have you ever made or made over a clock?

~Angela :-)


Thrifted Mantel Clock Makeover (Before & After)

Paint Detail on Thrifted Mantel Clock

Thrifted Mantel Clock

Over the summer I did a fair bit of thrifting and yard saleing, but I was too busy to do anything with all my finds. I didn’t even photograph most of them! Now that the harvest season business is settling down, and I find myself with little bits of time when I’m not frantically picking, pressing, canning or preserving, the kids and I finally have time to finally tackle some of these little mini fix-ups.

The kids especially love the little projects. Though they do help with the big construction work, there’s only so much they can do, and it’s nice for them to get a quick turnaround and see a finished project quickly.

Oh, let’s be honest, that part is for me!

Daydreaming about finally having a real mantel this holiday (fingers crossed), the first piece I picked out of the fix up pile is this funky mantel clock I found at Goodwill. It’s clearly homemade, maybe even a shop project, and I just think it’s so charming. I immediately imagined it with white paint, so the other day the kids and I jumped in.

Beginning the Thrifted Mantel Makeover Project

Everything I used I already had laying around. Spray primer and the ubiquitous Heirloom White spray paint. A few tools, some sandpaper (these cool strips Mr. Magpie found at Harbor Freight Tools), and a NIOSH mask. I always wear a mask when I paint because even the slightest fumes give me a killer headache.

First I disassembled the clock part so I wouldn’t get paint on it (to see how to do that, see my tutorial on how to take apart a battery-operated clock movement):

Taking the Clock Hands Off

Then we all sanded it. Sanding is always a family activity, right? ;-)

Sanding the Mantel Clock

Then a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to get all the dust.

Wiping Down the Mantel Clock

After sanding and wiping it looked like this:

Thrifted Mantel Clock after Sanding and Wiping

It’s not a perfect sanding job, but since this piece isn’t really going to get any wear or use, I wasn’t worried about it.

Then I set it up in our paint booth.

Clock on Upturned Bucket for Spraying

Just kidding! We don’t have a paint booth. We have an upside down bucket and a back yard. Ha!

I did two coats of primer and two coats of Heirloom White and had a nice blank slate.

Painted Thrifted Mantel Clock

So much better already, don’t you think?

I did a little distressing:

Distressing the Mantel Clock

And then had Mr. Magpie fix up the numbers for me (to see how he did that, and also how I had a mini-project fail, you can see my post How (Not) to Rub’n’Buff Raised Letters and Numbers):

Painting the Clock Numbers Black

Put the clock back together, and it was done!

We took my $1.99 Goodwill clock:

Original Mantel Clock

And made this cute thing with just a bit of paint:

White Mantel Clock

I especially love the little details.

Thrifted Mantel Clock Face Detail

Thrifted Mantel Clock Distressing Column Detail

Not bad for a couple of bucks and an afternoon, eh?

Mantel Clock After

I’m really having fun fixing up all the things I found this summer and finding places for them around the house. What about you? Did you find anything good this summer? Have you fixed it up yet?

~Angela :-)