$5 Dollar Store Challenge @ Living with Lindsay

Update: I'm going to submit this project for the CSI Project Dollar Store craft challenge...wish me luck!

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I have accepted the challenge from Living with Lindsay…create a spring home decor item with $5 or less worth of items from a dollar store. You were allowed to add your own glue, paper, paint, ribbon and fabric if you already own them. Then post a tutorial on how someone else can recreate your super cheap project and wait for the judging to begin. That’s it...sounds simple, right?

First of all, I have a confession…I spent way more than $5 in my quest for the perfect project for this challenge. I hadn’t been to the dollar store in FOREVER so I was completely unprepared for what I found. There are some really cool things in a dollar store! So as soon as I walked in the ideas started flowing…and I started buying. I probably tossed around, and/or started, half a dozen different ideas for my project. But as I started to reevaluate the items I had, and coming up with some color schemes I was able to decide what I wanted to enter into the $5 Dollar Store challenge…

A clock.

Yup, as simple as that sounds, that was my big idea. I chose to do a clock because I knew I was lucky to have found a working analog clock that could be disassembled to fit a new clock face for only $1. The clock kits at Michaels and Hobby lobby are around $5 or $6, so I had to use it in some way for this challenge.

Once I knew I was going to make a clock…I needed to find a thin and strong item of some kind to be the new clock face. I ended up with a bright green chipboard sign from the Dollar Store that would fit the clock mechanism and allow me to go ahead with my idea. As you can see, it was not very pretty and not at all fitting with the modern look I wanted (it's the one in the top left, I didn't end up using the blue sign).

(Sorry some of the pictures are so dark...my office/craft room has terrible lighting and any pictures I take after the sun goes down turn out dark)

I began by cutting off the detail edge of the sign to make it a smooth rectangle. Then after a quick sand it was ready to paint. Since I’m really liking grey and pink lately, I was drawn to a night scene with a tree and some early spring buds…dramatic and whimsical at the same time. Using some simple toll paints I covered the tacky green with a grey base coat. Then I just added a simple round gradation effect to create a foggy moon in the upper right hand corner where I was going to install the clock.

For the tree and buds I used a Cricut expressions machine and cut out a tree silhouette and some simple flowers using solid colored cardstock. I thought about painting the tree instead, but I like the subtle 3-D effect of using the paper. To attach the tree and flowers I just used a regular glue stick.

Next was the all important decision of adding the clock and whether or not it would have numbers. I knew that the round area for the moon would work as a clock face…but I went back and forth on whether or not to add any numbers. After cutting out some simple 1/4” roman numerals I asked for the Hubs’ opinion and he like the numbers. So with the help of my trusty glue stick I added them to the clock. You'll want to use the minute hand from the clock parts to make sure they are spaced correctly.

Next I created the hole for the clock with the thickest nail I could find and cleaned up the back to make sure the clock mechanism would fit right up against the back of the plaque.  
(Note: if your plaque is wood you will have to use a drill to make the hole.)

I kept the clock arms silver, but you could just as easily paint the hands black to match the tree, or pink to match the flowers.

Now just a quick spray with some clear coat (with out the clock installed) and the project is all finished!

That is not the clock mechinishm sticking out on the right side of the clock, that's the roll of duct tape I used to lift it up off the table for the picture.  I made sure to install the clock far enough in from the side to completely hide the back piece of the clock.

That is about as easy and cheap (only $2 plus paint and paper) as they come. You can use this technique to make a clock for every season and just swap out the parts to update the look.

I knew from the beginning that this clock would have to stand up on a shelf because of the clock mechanism sticking out from the back, but that’s why I chose a very vertical design. I have some picture shelves in my hall way and our new spring clock has already found a perfect home!

I hope this tutorial has inspired you to rethink those boring round symmetrical clocks in your house and find the time to make your own custom clock!
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38 Response to $5 Dollar Store Challenge @ Living with Lindsay

March 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Adorable. That is really clever.

March 25, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Very nice. I didn't think it would be possible to find a working analog clock!

March 25, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Very clever! I don't think I've seen clocks at my Dollar Store -- must look for one now!

March 25, 2010 at 10:27 AM

What a great project! You are a clever and crafty girl. Happy Spring!

March 25, 2010 at 11:23 AM

SO Cute! What a great idea! I really want to make one! I'm your newest follower. . . Cant wait to see what else you come up with!
Stop by my blog if you want!

March 25, 2010 at 12:02 PM

This is so artistic! You were lucky to find a clock.

March 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Love it!! way cute, never would have guessed this was all $1 stuff.

March 25, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Very creative!

March 25, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Very clever!

March 25, 2010 at 5:56 PM

You had me when you said clock - I LOVE it!

March 26, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Thank you for your comments On my SITS DAY!
I am now following!

March 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Very very cute!! Great submission!!

March 26, 2010 at 2:49 PM

It´s beautiful! Great job!

March 26, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Amazingly unique! Such a clever crafter!

March 29, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Great project! I showcased you in my blog.

June 15, 2010 at 10:05 AM

That is very cute. I love the name of your blog. I make clocks for my business.

June 15, 2010 at 10:51 AM

That is ADORABLE!!! Love what you did with your dollar store treasures.

Thanks for linking up with us over at The CSI Project.


June 15, 2010 at 12:53 PM

This is fantastic! I am absolutely inspired to make a clock of my own now!

June 15, 2010 at 6:45 PM

that is soo cute! love the artwork you did on it- it's awesome and so springy! i live near dc, so it makes me think of dc in april. :)

June 15, 2010 at 9:08 PM

love it!! this is the first clock tutorial that hasn't left me afraid of trying it! thank you!

June 16, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Wow! This is nice~I really like the pink and gray.

June 16, 2010 at 5:55 PM

I am always tempted to buy those dollar store signs to re-do. Cute clock!

June 17, 2010 at 8:58 AM

This is great! You did a lovely job! Thanks for sharing a great tutorial!

June 17, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Love it! I have a thing for clocks and this is just a beautiful one!

June 17, 2010 at 11:13 PM

Great!!! It is very nice. I am thinking about making an oversize wall clock. Your idea is great, and for lot less. Thanks!!!

June 18, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Most excellent! You are a creative and clever wonder woman. What a great clock project and for CHEAP!

June 18, 2010 at 2:10 PM

This is a clever clock made by a clever woman! (love the bright bits of pink) Yeah for you! Good Luck in the contest! Following you now thru Fab Friday. Have a great weekend! Pam @ Sallygoodin

June 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM

P.S. Oooops! It looks like I am already following you! Well, of course! :)

June 21, 2010 at 10:32 PM

Very creative and clever! I love the tree - super cute and fantastic price! Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase Party! I greatly apprecite it. Hope you are enjoying your week. ~ Stephanie Lynn

June 22, 2010 at 12:51 AM

Wow, neat idea! I never would have thought of that.

Thanks for linking up to Fab Friday -


June 25, 2010 at 12:05 AM

What a great project. It is a fun clock and look juts like a piece of art...I like that even better!

August 16, 2010 at 12:47 PM

very cute!!

...visiting from Sassy Sites! I'm a new follower! Come by and say HI! I love your blog! It's such a SASSY site! :)

I also do vinyl :)

August 16, 2010 at 1:52 PM

How fun is this!!! I'm happy to be your newest follower of your delightful blog! Be sure to come by FrouFrouDecor..I love having new friends! I also have a link party every Friday and would love to have you link up!
~Terrell @ FrouFrouDecor~

August 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM

that turned out great! Please remember to link to me pretty please.

August 17, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Thanks for sharing your project at Anything Related! ~Bridgette

August 17, 2010 at 9:34 PM

that is amazing! i never would have thought it would be so simple!

August 17, 2010 at 11:51 PM

Such a great idea! And it looks so great on your picture shelves! Thanks for sharing the directions with us!

August 21, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Hi! I found your site off of Today’s Creative Blog! I love your craft! You are so talented! I just signed up to be your newest follower! Woo hoo! I hope you stop by my new blog. I just started it 2 months ago and would love new friends! Please come see me at http://www.modernfamilymagazine.com


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