Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Upcycle: Book Clocks


Once upon a time ... a friend and I ran a little business called Rebooked. It involved a LOT of work for very little return, but we were unemployed... we had nothing but time. And we learned a lot about upcycling old books! So much, in fact, that I've enjoyed working with them ever since. When we set out to make book clocks (2004), there were no online tutorials to be found. So there was a lot of trial and error (and swearing) involved. The first ones were so much work, I still have one on the wall (above) as a reminder. Today, it's pretty easy to find really good instructions from lots of talented people. Keep reading for my instructions, and a list of my favorite tutorials

Image credits: Julia Brenner
I was never a big fan of adding "numbers" or markers of any sort to the cover. But on this one, they work. So it's definitely an option! 


Ok - here's the secret sauce: velcro. In the detailed tutorials listed below, you'll see good instructions on how to cut the hollow (don't worry about making it perfect - no one sees it!) What you won't see are good instructions for hanging a hidden-mechanism clock on the wall. Why? Because you have to find a way to keep it closed, but still be able to access the mechanism to change the battery. My solution is a small piece of velcro. This means you have to pay close attention to how deep you make the hollow. Just keep testing as you go. It's a bit of a Macgyver solution, but who doesn't love him??


Quick close up of the magic velcro. Also rhino in every picture!


The other thing you have to do if you want to hang it: glue (or mod podge) the whole thing really well. Work in sections, sticking pages together. Weight that down and let it dry. Then glue all around the outside. The only part that should move is the cover. 


Press a simple hanger into the back of the book. And I do mean "press" - you're unlikely to need a hammer. And that's it from me. For more very good instructions, see below.


1. My favorite tutorial and a beautiful final product

2. I also love this one from Ruffles and Stuff because she upcycles a book AND an old clock

3. A creative hack of the fake bookshelf clock that was popular a while ago

4. A sweet fabric-wrapped version from Too Much Time on My Hands

5. An outstanding tutorial for a clock that looks too simple to need one. Here's the catch with slim, hard-back picture books: you still have to do a little cutting out of pages. If you just glue it all together then drill through the book, it warps. Kid's books that are wrecked on the inside but still good on the outside make lovely clocks. My favorite was "The Giving Tree" - you can use the falling apple as the "12" on the clock then buy black hands (with white backs) and flip one of them for effect.