Thursday, October 28, 2010

Swedish clock - in more ways than one :)

I've been seeing several pictures of homes with Swedish clocks (also called Mora clocks) in designer blogland lately. Being a Swede myself I've been aware of these kinds of clocks for as long as I can remember but haven't really been all that enamored with them. Maybe because they're huge, cumbersome and usually covered in (in my opinion) ugly traditional Swedish painting. Not to mention expensive. So not really my cup of tea.

But the one's I've seen online lately have been simpler in color and style and they do have some charm to them with all their curves and all. So I decided to whip up my own, total cost about $5 for some craft paint and mirror, everything else I had on hand. (This room has very little natural light so the pics are a bit blurry, sorry).

The clock face on the finished version is the original wall clock I started out with, a standard natural wood clock bought from Ikea. It was hanging all by it's lonesome on this little wall stretch that didn't have any practical purpose. I've tried hanging stuff protruding from that wall in the past but my husband and guests keep bumping into it, so something flat with an impact was just the thing I needed.

This gorgeous pink specimen was my inspiration. Had the pic (which I found on Flickr) been a little higher resolution I would probably have used it the way it is, enlarged and modpodged onto wood. But it turned out to be a little too pixelated for my taste and I really loved the profile of this one.

So I played around in Photoshop to get the outline of the clock and used PosteRazor to blow it up to the size I wanted it to be, basically as tall and wide as would fit on that wall. I think it's about 6 foot tall or so. Printed it out on the printer and then I pieced the whole thing together on the floor using scotch tape.

After I had cut it out I just had to try it on the wall to get a feel for how it would look :)

Looking good :) So I copied the shape onto an old siding panel a previous home owner left for us and cut it out with my jig saw (no pics of this, you'll have to take my word for it). And traced some of the features onto my cutout so I could start working on it.

For all the little round bumps around the clock face and elsewhere I decided to use what I had on hand. Cashew shells. I've been holding on to them forever thinking there must be a way to use them for something and I guess I've found at least one use now.

I just attached them with hot glue. And to simulate that hole in the belly I glued on a craft mirror of approximately the same size as the original hole. I used E6000 glue for this and "caulked" around the edges with hot glue.

You can see some of the lines I traced in the above pic.

And then I painted it all white, except the mirror. I ended up doing three coats of antique white and through the last coat I could very vaguely see my traced lines. The below pic was taken after the second coat.

I then filled in all my traced lines with burnt umber using a small craft paint brush. The contrast between the brown and the white was too big so I washed some diluted white over all the lines and wiped it back. And then filled in all the gold areas making sure not to color over any of my lines (the gold covered really well and I wanted the lines to be visible).

Trying it out with the clock face on at this point. Clock face still in it's natural wood state.

The cashew shells are formed almost like finger nails so I felt like I was giving someone a manicure as I was painting the gold :) Maybe a little creepy but that will be my only contribution for Halloween, I'm not into creepy.

When that was done the piece looked a little too spanking white and new for the antique look I was going for. I washed the thinnest layer of heavily diluted burnt umber all over and wiping back with baby wipes for just a touch of age without it just looking dirty. I think I succeeded pretty well. I may sometime in the future go over the whole thing with some antique mod podge to get that yellow cast of old varnish but for now I'm done. And on husband's suggestion I also washed the clock face with that very diluted burnt umber. It could almost pass for weathered wood because it almost has a gray tint to it, possibly a darker stain. Either way, it goes well with the gold.

The wall clock is just nailed onto the clock face and hung the usual way. Easy peasy :) The clock is surprisingly light weight. I attached two sawtooth picture hangers to the back and hung it from two nails, one at the top and one at the bottom, because my board was a little bent and needed help staying close to the wall.

I give you a plethora of after pics this time, the perfect after pic seemed elusive with the lack of light. Maybe the quantity will make up for the lack of quality. One can only hope :)

By the way. I'm not a painter so I decided to not butcher the piece by trying to add shadows to give the illusion of dimension. It's not a perfect replica but it is one that anyone can make (I hardly freehanded anything but copied the lines from the original with the help of cut out details of the color image blown up to size) and it cost hardly anything. It gives me the illusion of a three dimensional Swedish clock without taking up any room. When these walls finally get painted brown the clock will look a lot more dramatic and pop off the background.

This could easily be made using contact paper on the wall instead of a board for those of you without power tools. I also think it would be cool to use any type of wall clock for the face, it wouldn't necessarily have to match the rest of the clock. Traditional mixed with modern can look really cool.

Our dining room is shaping up and looking statelier already :) Do you like it as much as I do?

Ps. Linking up with
My Romantic Home
Finding Fabulous
Funky Junk Interiors
It's so very Cheri
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  1. This is gorgeous! I stand in awe of your talents!

  2. Love, love, love this idea! And the shells...never would have crossed my mind.

    My dining room is dark chocolate brown colour that I adore and this clock would look amazing against it! Maybe I'll have to break out the jigsaw soon. After I've finished the painting down the hall of course...I'm working at a snail's pace.

  3. oMG, that is stunning. I completely adore it. You are so amazing with your BIG ELEGANT pieces, I don't know how you keep thinking up such fun large-scale projects. This is the coolest way to fill a little wall. Cashew shells!!!!

  4. Wow, I am blown away by your creativity. This is fantastic.
    xoxo, Sherry

  5. Wow!! That is incredibly creative!!! I cannot believe how fantastic that clock is!! I love it! GREAT JOB!!!! :)

  6. You are so creative and a great artist too! Good job!

  7. Now that's what I call creative! I love it & agree with you about the looks & prices of the real clocks, but it doesn't stop me from wanting one lol.

  8. You are just full of crafty ideas and I always love everything that you make. Such an inspiration! I saw your milk gallon chandelier thing and I love it so much that I am starting to collect those milk gallons so I can make one or two or more. hehehe.. Thanks!


  9. I just had to come over and see your clock, too. I love it. I never thought about attaching it to the wall like that. That's cool. I like the material you used as well. You have a lot more leeway with how you paint it. I have to say you are right...Pier 1's version does look like yours.

  10. This is so cool. I have never seen anyone do something like this. Fabulous job.

  11. I love it!!!!!!!!!! I'm planning on doing it as the real clocks are too expensive and I am in love with anything Swedish!!!! Thanks for the whimsical idea!

  12. I'm on a road trip at the moment and just found your blog! We have been eating *so many* pistachios on this trip and I've ended up making patterns on the dashboard with them so it's cool to see you doing the same :)

  13. LOVE your Mora clock! I especially like the idea of trying to create the pink one!


I really appreciate you taking the time to comment because I know you didn't have to. Additional ideas or related techniques are always welcome, the more we brainstorm the better all of our end products will be.
While I try to answer all comments I sometimes don't make it or have your contact info. If you don't hear back from me it doesn't mean I hate you, I just ran out of time (or simply had no way of contacting you).
I wish you a great day!

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