How to Make a Large Old French Clock

For months I have been searching for a rusty old metal patio or outdoor round table top.....something most people throw away and was probably why I was having a hard time finding one.  "Why"....you ask, "did I want that?"  I had seen a huge clock that I thought was so cool...probably from Pottery Barn or one of those places, but it was expensive.  I loved it and thought maybe I could make a replica.  It stuck in my head and the hunt was on.

Couple of weeks ago my son and little grand-son came to visit and we traveled to visit my Mom so she could spend some time with her great-grand son.  Having just learned to walk, he was running all over the back yard and having a blast.  And I was chasing after him and not having a blast.  :)  I ran behind my Dad's workshop and stopped in my tracks.  Lo and behold, there it was, exact size and perfect beautiful rust, .....the piece I had been coveting.  Mom was using it to cover her potting soil bucket.  She gave it to me and I was giddy as a school girl. :)

It's approximately 2 feet x 2 feet with a 2" lip on it.....perfect!  Wanting to keep the raw beauty and patina of the piece, I gently sanded it with a fine grit to remove the tiny bits of icky.

 Being the mathematically inclined person that I am, it was easy for me to figure out how to make the perfect circle on the "clock"....NOTDear google helped me out here.  Using a crude compass of pencil, string and chalk, I made two circles for the painted part of the clock. Wondering about the umbrella hole in the center of the table top?  I loved that part.  In my mind, that is where the original clock works would have been, but this "old clock" has been in the outdoor elements hanging on the front of a building for so so many years.  The clock hands were long gone.

I used two layers of a craft paint called Buttermilk to paint the clock..... a very creamy white.

then it was on to sanding.   I did not like the way regular hand sanding  was scratching the rust or the electric sander either.  So I used a product called Goo Gone Paint Clean-up.  After spraying it on a small section at a time, I just wiped the paint off with a soft cloth.  Liked that much better.

the clock numbers:  To mark the number positions, I made vertical and horizontal ruler lines on the clock face, essentially dividing it into 4 equal parts, thus finding my 12, 3, 6, and 9 number placements.  Since it was not to be a working clock, I did not have to be too precise on the other numbers and just eyeballed and marked their placement, but trying to make each number flush with its counterpart: example: 2 would be a counter part to 8.  (have your eyes glazed over yet  :)

I used  2-1/2" tall  vintage style, French roman numeral stencils for the numbers.  Once the numbers were on, I was getting pretty excited and really loving this piece.

For added embellishment, I also stenciled a fleur-de-lis and free hand painted Hotel on the face.

then it was more hand sanding for a really aged look

 lastly, I applied a clear soft wax and a dark wax finish and a good buffing for a nice finish.

Am I keeping it?  Nope...It's going to Feathernesters to feather someone's nest this Spring.

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Junkchiccottage said...

What a great find and you did a fabulous job making it into a clock face. Gorgeous.

Stacey said...

Love that!! What a smart girl you are.

I was recently on the hunt for old doors and found them at my dad's place. :)

DIYbyDesign said...

Wow! You did an amazing job. I hope you will link this up to my Winter Blues Wednesday party that opens at 8pm EST on Tuesday evenings.

Mari said...

Loveeeee it! It turned out amazing ;-)


The Quintessential Magpie said...


Lynn, this is fabo!

Love it. Love it. Love it.



NanaDiana said...

Oh- Someone is going to get VERY lucky at Feathernesters!What a great old piece-it looks like it is a hundred years old. What did your Mom think of the old table turned clock!? xo Diana

Anonymous said...

Visiting with you via Betsy's blog. Oh, I love what you have done. I would have a difficult time NOT keeping it!

Ivy and Elephants said...

Gorgeous! I love what you did, the clock face is fabulous. Some one is going to be thrilled!

Beverly said...

Lynn, amazing!!!

Betsy Brock said...

That is just brilliant! :)

Mary Anne Komar said...

Wow that looks like 200 years old, just beautiful, and so sweet to share the tutorial! Thanks!

Our Hopeful Home said...

Don't you just love it when you find that rusty old whatchamacallit and KNOW what you're going to do with it right away? This is absolutely fabulous, you've more than given PB a run for their money! I love it!

Kristi said...

LOVE this! I need to make one of these :)

Maureen Wyatt said...

It looks fabulous and I don't know how you are able to part with it!

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Lynn, you are soooo talented. It will find a new home quickly, I'm sure!

Cynthia said...

You did an amazing job on this project. I can appreciate the chasing of a little one. I remember chasing my nieces around when they first learned to walk or should I say just take off. They quick little things.


Alycia Nichols said...

Color me impressed to the max!!! Wow, Lynn...this is really good! I admire your patience and skill!!!

Bebe said...

That clock turned out gorgeous, Lynn! You are so smart to make something that lovely!
Hugs, Bebe :)

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Awesomeness! I love it.

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Great job!

Donna Wilkes said...

The lucky buyer will be so happy with this beautiful piece!

Pamela said...

Love this project! Thanx for sharing it at THT.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work! I love this!

Anonymous said...

Your clock is lovely! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I saw your link at Treasure Hunt Thursday. Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Lynn, I am sooo envious! I have been looking for a rusty metal tabletop for a long time too also make a clock. Yours turned out wonderful and I love it.

Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique said...

Oh wow... what a great find Lynn, and to think it was hiding out behind your mum's shed all that time just gathering the perfect patina for you.
Great project. Thanks for linking up at Shabbilicious Friday. I'm delighted to be sharing this lovely project at tomorrow's party.
Hugs ~ Kerryanne

Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

I'm arriving late to this post, but I just HAD to comment, 1) because your "vision" on this was fabulous, and 2) becuase you did a fabulous job on it! It's really cool. And thanks for sharing how you did it. I'll have an eye out for a rusty circle now! :) ~Zuni

Pam Zirbel said...

YOU ARE KIDDING ME!!!!! HOLY C**P!!! This is Ridiculously gorgeous!!!! OMG!!! I rarely reads what some say on their blogs an just go for the photos...I HAD to read this one! Girl...this is amazing!!! I have always wanted a huge clock {working would be better as I want one IN the house!!} the hubby thinks I am nuts...guess I will show him your post!!!! We live in an old 1842 one room school house and it had a bell and clock on the front, of course...they are both gone now...but how awesome would it be to put one like this back on the front?!!! Yahooo!! Thanks for being so creative !!!

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