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 :-)

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  1. I would be afraid to take a clock apart – afraid that I couldn’t put it back together very well. It looks good!

    • I was a little nervous myself, but Mr. Magpie assured me it was easy, and he turned out to be right! I wouldn’t want to try it on a real clock, though.

  2. That is so beautiful Angela. I should just go around the house and do that to all my junk and call it vintage cute and set it out.

  3. Greetings! Haven’t visited you in ages, you probably don’t even remember me! BUT, I just had to comment to say that you did a wonderful job with this clock. It looks adorable in white (in it’s original state, I would have thrown it out!) But white…. it truly is lovely. Great job!

    • Gloria!!! So glad you stopped by! Yes, I totally remember you! I’m so glad you visited. I’m going to pop over and visit you right now. ~A 🙂

  4. Love this look! Great job xox

  5. What a pretty clock, sooo much better now! I’ve got your makeover here linked to my DIY clocks post too today, nice job!

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