DIY Spool Clock

Hi loves! Back again with another fun DIY! The idea for making this clock was very random and last minute! I tend to do this a lot actually (come up with random DIY gifts at the last minute)!


The day after Thanksgiving my husband and I were planning on leaving for the weekend to see my mom and her new home she just moved to. Which is about a 2 and a half hour drive from where we live. In the midst of deciding on making this clock to surprise my mom I was also working on furniture orders trying to get them done before the Holiday weekend. I should also mention that I’m 22 weeks pregnant… Why do I do this to myself?!

My mom has been feeling a little down lately because she no longer has any of her kids living at home with her and she lives further away from all of us now. So of course 2 days before we were going to be leaving I had this great idea to make her a clock for her new place! Hoping it would cheer her up!

I chose to surprise her with this clock because it’s one she’s been wanting for a long time now. This clock was actually inspired by a clock she saw at my step-sister’s house. She fell in love with this red farmhouse clock!


For weeks we would go shopping and search for a similar clock. We had no luck!

When my husband brought home a spool for me the other day I knew I had to use it to make my mom that red clock she was dreaming of. I remembered I also had these photos of the clock saved in my phone so she would have no idea this surprise was coming! Here’s how I made this special clock:


  • Any size spool (the spool I used was about 3 feet in diameter)
  • 5 inch pieces of quarter inch plywood
  • Liquid Nails (wood glue)
  • Paint of your choice
  • Roman numeral letters to trace (or vinyl roman numerals you can stick on!)
  • Clock hands + motor
  • 220 sandpaper


  • Router or jigsaw (long router bit if using a router)
  • Pencil
  • Right angle
  • Measuring tape
  • Long level
  • Drill + drill bits
  • Palm sander

Step 1

Take your spool apart. Now I’ve never done this before so I had to figure it out myself. I used one tool to hold the bolts on one side while I used another tool to turn the bolts on the other side. The bolts should come off and you’ll pull the long rods out of the middle. Your spool ends should fall right off!

I took a look at my spool ends and realized how damaged each side of the circles were. One side had tons of staples and the other side had tons of holes with nails sunk into them. They also had more than one hole in the center. I wasn’t very happy with what I had so I had to think of something I could use to cover all the holes and staples. I know some people like that worn look but seriously these spool ends were in terrible shape!


I first removed all the staples that were sticking out on the backside so no one would cut themselves on them. Then I chose the other side to use for the front of my clock which was the side that didn’t have any of those huge staples.


Step 2

I had some leftover pieces of shiplap in our garage not getting any use (from the shiplap wall we installed in our home recently). They were the perfect size and length! If you don’t have leftover pieces from a project then you can just purchase some from your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. Any quarter inch plywood will work. Just have someone rip them down to the size you want! My pieces were 5 inches wide.


The spool ends are already made with several pieces of wood stuck together. So I lined up my middle piece of plywood with the middle board and then added all the other pieces next to it. By lining up the middle piece of plywood with the center of the middle spool board you’ll get even planks on your soon to be clock. It will look something like this:


Once you have your pieces of plywood all lined up you can start flipping them over and adding your glue. Liquid nails works wonders so you won’t need to nail anything.


Here’s that centered piece of plywood again attached to the spool:


Just keep gluing and adding your strips of plywood.


You can also just add the glue onto the spool and then stick your plywood pieces to the spool.


I didn’t use any spacers between my pieces of plywood. I also didn’t sand the edges. Sticking them right up next to each other will create that desired shiplap/planked look. This is what it will end up looking like:


After all the pieces were added to the spool I stuck the other spool end on top of everything to add some weight. Then I stuck some 2×2 scrap pieces of wood under each side so the end pieces wouldn’t fall off or dry crooked since there was nothing really supporting them from underneath. I let the glue dry over night and it was good to go the next morning!


Once my pieces were glued onto the spool I decided to paint. I removed the other spool end and got to work! You can paint before or after you cut your circle.


I tried out this paint I found at Michael’s. The red looked like the perfect color and the brand also had white and dark wax! I grabbed some waxing brushes while I was there too!


In my opinion the plywood only needed one coat of paint. I didn’t do it perfectly because I wanted the paint and the clock to look old and weathered.


The red I chose ended up being the perfect red. I was super happy with the quality of the paint as well.


Step 3

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any photos of this step. So I’ll explain the best I can! First thing you want to do is very carefully flip your clock over. I had my husband help me so I wouldn’t break my shiplap pieces. Then you’ll want to cut your shiplap pieces into the same size circle as your spool. You can use a jigsaw or a router to circle around your spool. We used our router and a very long bit size (our bit was similar to this one).

Carefully move around your spool with your router (or jigsaw) cutting off the access pieces of plywood. Be super careful keeping your router bit away from the actual spool when you’re cutting and make sure there isn’t anything under your spool that you could possible run into. If you bump into anything it can send your router flying in the opposite direction.

My husband did the cutting and I helped grab the scrap pieces that started to fall off. The scrap pieces tend to fly off too if you don’t pull them off as you’re cutting. Remember to wear your safety gear!


Once the circle was cut I went around the edges with my sander and some 220 grit sand paper. Then I carefully painted the outside with black craft paint. You can leave it unpainted or painted. Whatever you prefer. I was just trying to match the clock my mom was wanting.


Step 4

I found my clock hands at Hobby Lobby. They have an assortment of different sizes. I purchased the hands and the motor separately. Before adding the hands I spray painted them with satin white paint. I set them aside to dry and started on adding the numbers to the clock!


Because I only had 2 days to make this clock and finish it I wasn’t able to order any stencils or vinyl letters online. If I could do this clock over again I would have ordered the vinyl letters. That way you can just stick them on and be done with it!

I searched everywhere in town for the best roman numeral numbers I could find. I found these letter stickers at Hobby Lobby as well. I had to make them work!


Adding the letters was probably the most difficult part. I searched everywhere for a tutorial online and found nothing. I wanted my letters to be absolutely perfect. I knew if they weren’t my OCD would be terrible and I would end up hating this clock. Thank goodness I have great attention to detail. If you don’t then I wish you the best of luck! That’s all I can say!

Start by measuring the center of the clock. Use your ruler and measure up and down. Then side to side. Adding your dot to the center. I used a level to draw my straight lines.


To figure out your horizontal line and center dot you’ll want to measure your shiplap piece on each side. Find the center on the left side, then the right and then draw your line across the middle of the clock. You should have a great big plus sign in the middle and a dot in the center of the entire clock!


Next you’ll need to create your other lines. These lines will help you place your numbers around the clock. The only good thing I learned about making clocks is that each number is spaced out 30 degrees. So I took my right angle and placed it in the corner of my drawn on plus sign.


Your pivot point should go right on your center dot with that ledge on the outside of your line.


Here are my 30 degree pencil marks! One on the right side of the angle and one on the left side.


Diagram of what your lines should look like (minus the top right and bottom left lines):


The diagram also shows where your right angle should be and where to draw your 30 degree lines. Use your level to draw the rest of your lines!


Step 5

Tracing your letters! If you purchased vinyl letters you can skip this part (lucky duck)! If you chose to do it my way take your X, V, and (3) I’s out of your sticker package and stick them onto a paper bag. Cut out your letters. Now you have your stencils!


I stuck some painters tape to the back of mine so they wouldn’t slide all over the place when tracing them.


I used my level as a guide to keep my letters straight. I decided I wanted my letters to be a half inch away from the edge of the clock.


This is where your attention to detail comes in. It’s really up to you to get your numbers perfect and centered. You just have to make your spaces even and your numbers across from each other look even.


I stepped back several times to eye everything and make sure they were spaced good. I even ripped extra pieces of paper to help with the lack of stencils.


Here you can see the faint line on the clock. I tried to line up my stencils with the lines.


Once all my stencils were traced I filled in my pencil marked letters with white craft paint. I did two coats of the white. Once the paint was dry I did some more distressing with my sand paper on the letters and all over the clock. I also used some of my dark wax on the edges of the clock. I did the distressing by hand instead of using my palm sander this time. If you choose to do this make sure you sand in an up and down motion moving with the lines of the plywood. You don’t want zig zags and circles all over your clock. Distressing the numbers after painting them helps get rid of any imperfections you might see. Also, don’t forget to erase all your pencil lines!

I want to mention something you guys may notice! The 6, 7 and 8 numbers are not right. Which was done on purpose. If you go back to the clock that was my inspiration they also have two numbers messed up. Since I noticed that I thought I would fix it on my clock… Once I got to tracing my numbers I realized 6, 7 and 8 was not going to fit in that section. So I thought maybe that’s why they doubled the numbers on their clock? Unfortunately I had to do the same. At a quick glance you can’t even tell. At least I can’t!


I wanted to add some cute words in the center of the clock and maybe a circle in the center to match the clock I was trying to copy but I didn’t have enough time!

Step 6

Add your clock hands! The clock hands and motor come with instructions. The best advice I have is to make sure you get your clock hands perfectly centered. You can only drill that one hole one time! The motor should fit perfectly in the big spool hole hidden behind your plywood.


This farmhouse clock was fun and challenging! Making it was so worth it! When I gave it to my mom she was so surprised and happy she cried. I’m so glad I decided to make it last minute and I can’t wait to make one for myself! I hope you will try to make one too!

If you have any questions please don’t be afraid to ask!

P.s. If you’re not in a rush like I was to make this clock you can buy large clock vinyl stickers from Amazon! So much easier than doing what I did. Happy DIY-ing!






3 thoughts on “DIY Spool Clock

  1. “Loving” this clock barely describes my feelings! The thought of my little girl (as I still see her in my mind’s eye) thinking about making something for me, something that she knew I would be so thrilled about, made me over-joyed with tears! You know how they say, “It’s the ‘thought’ that counts”…well besides the fact that my Morgan “thought” about her mama, and then put her amazing design and talent gifts to work, BEFORE she came to see me (not to mention how pregnant she was) completely blows my “mommy” mind! How very blessed I am to have such an incredible child. Morgan, YOU ARE A GIFT FROM GOD TO ME, and I’m the luckiest most blessed mama in the whole wide world! I LOVE YOU and I LOVE THIS BEAUTIFUL CLOCK!!! I will cherish it forever!!



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