Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Starburst Tinkertoy Clock


It’s about that “TIME” again,  Homies!  “TIME” to “TINKER” on another project.   Get it?    Too corny?  Oh well, I do love corn.  hehe
About 13 or 14 years ago,  I bought this plain, pine clock at IKEA.  It matched perfectly with the pine furniture that we purchased at the same time, and it hung in the loft of our log cabin.   But since then, it has served us well hanging in five additional homes, the most recent spot being over our daughter’s bedroom door for the last few years.    The diva now has other means of telling time and it didn't really match the room anyway, so the clock didn’t make the cut in her room remodel and was discarded to the “miscellaneous decor” box in the storage room. 

The inspiration for this clock came from a project that I’ve been working on.......a retro kitchen/dining room…..which I'm designing to be sold.   Last year, I  picked up this awesome retro china hutch, and was looking for a dining set that I could marry it with, when I stumbled upon a great deal on a table and chair set that needed some work.  The table and chairs weren’t really from the same era as the china hutch, and aren’t even the same style, but since the table needed refinishing, my plan was to stain the top the same dark maple as the hutch, paint the table base and chairs to coordinate, and recover the chair cushions in some retro-looking fabric to give the entire room a cohesive retro/mid-century look.   I LOVE mixing up styles, eras, and colors that aren’t really supposed to go together, and making them look great together.  After staining the table top though, I’m not sure if it will end up with the retro hutch now because I found another retro dining set that will probably work better - yet another project.
Anywho, before doing anything to the table,  I decided to first start looking for the chair fabric for inspiration.  I wanted something with a cool, retro vibe like the hutch, and my plan was to choose the paint colors for the chairs and table base by pulling colors from the fabric.  I decided on this awesome outdoor fabric that I found at JoAnn Fabrics.  SCORE!


Nice and retro-looking, huh?   


Don’t they look cute together? 

Okay, back to the clock.......I’ve been seeing lots of starburst mirrors/wall décor lately.  Bloggers are making them in blogland, designers are making them on HGTV, and they're all over the stores.  They all have a round center and have something extending from them in a starburst pattern.  I started thinking that the circles in the fabric looked like starbursts too.  So when I happened across this old clock again the other day, the round shape of it gave me the idea of making a starburst clock to go with the table and chairs.   Lots of people like to have clocks in their kitchen, right? 
Also, not too long ago, I was cleaning up the old yard sale Tinkertoys that someone got out and didn’t put away.  And when I was picking them up, I thought about the colors being very retro.    The colors reminded me of the colors in my Mom’s green mushroom kitchen in the 70’s.    We had this groovy mushroom wallpaper!  LOL  So when I thought about turning the clock into a starburst, to coincide with the chair fabric, I immediately thought of those old Tinkertoys.  Don’t the colors match perfectly?

So, the first thing I did to the clock was stain it with dark walnut stain to match the tabletop.    I also stained the unpainted Tinkertoy rounds.  Then, I used a Sharpie to mark where I wanted to drill holes.  


Next, I found the right size drill bit by inserting bits into a Tinkertoy hole until I found the right size bit.


Fits like a glove!


I clamped the clock to a saw table to keep it steady so that I could drill the holes without the clock moving.    The plastic thing that goes on the clamp to keep it from making round indentations in the wood when the clamp is tightened is missing, so I just use whatever is handy to protect the wood.  In this case, it was a brochure on Installing  Crown Mouldings and Trim.  Yes, another ongoing project! 


The round edges of the clock certainly didn’t make drilling holes any easier.  It was a bit challenging (no pun intended that time, I swear) getting the holes started because the drill bit kept sliding down the rounded edge.  Once the holes were started though, drilling the holes straight was the other challenge.  Whatever angle the holes are drilled is the angle the rods will stand, and obviously I wanted them all to be at a similar angle.

TIP:   When drilling holes like this (which are more than half the thickness of the wood), it’s best to start drilling the holes with a much smaller drill bit and slowly working your way up to the bigger drill bits,  to keep the wood from splitting.  I tried to rush a few of these holes by just using the larger bit, and experienced splitting.  I ended up using four different bits on each of these holes to slowly work my way up to making the holes the right size.


To complete the project, I simply inserted the Tinkertoy rods in a random pattern I liked……..


…….and since a couple of the holes weren’t perfect, which was allowing the rods to shift, I decided to glue the rods into the holes.


This was a fun, easy project and I love that the tired, plain, discarded clock has been reinvented into something cool and one-of-a-kind!   This unique clock will definitely be a conversation starter for whomever decides to hang it on their wall.

Have YOU made any starbursts lately?  Let me know what you think about this one, Homies! 

And once again, thank you for your “time.”   (sorry, couldn’t resist :-)

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