Industrial Copper Pipe Clock

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BVThmbBdgeGrnI am SO thrilled to share that this clock was a winner in the Bob Vila’s Thumbs Up DIY Competition! Thank you so much for your votes and support!! 

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far filled with love!

SONY DSCI am SO excited to be sharing this project with you. Not only because it’s my first industrial pipe project; but because it’s our very first Home Depot Gift Challenge! What is this challenge, you ask? Well, 11 of my bloggy friends and I are coming together once a month to bring you a different DIY gift item, all using the same object from Home Depot. Each gift will be for a specific person; friend, mom, spouse, teacher, etc. We will all wrap our gifts using something from Home Depot too, just to make it more “challenging.” And fun, of course! When you get to the end of this tutorial, don’t forget to click over to the other copper pipe projects; they are seriously amazing!! You’ll be inspired with some lovely gift ideas.

New graphic(We are in no way associated with Home Depot; we just love their stuff!)

For this first month, a copper pipe “t” was chosen, and the gift was to be something for our spouse (in lieu of Valentine’s day, of course!). Boy, was I stumped. I had no idea what to make! I thought about it for quite some time and had a few ideas, but didn’t think I could actually make them work. I finally thought about a clock, and the logistics of how I could make it using the copper pipes. I drew up a plan and decided to just give it a try and see what I came up with. Those are always the best projects, right?

SONY DSCMaterials needed to make your own industrial copper pipe clock:

  • 8×8 Wooden painting panel/canvas
  • Clock mechanism (we used one for a 3/8 thick face, but in retrospect, a 1/4 thick face would be better!)
  • 1/2 inch thick copper pipe (5 foot long – ours shown above is already cut to size)
  • Copper pipe cutting tool (not pictured)
  • Four 1/2 inch copper pipe “t’s”
  • Four 1/2 inch copper pipe 90 degree elbows
  • Four 1/2 inch copper pipe caps (not pictured)
  • Drill (not pictured)
  • Gorilla glue & Elmers glue
  • Wood stain & Polycrylic sealer
  • White paint (spray or acryclic – not pictured)
  • Ruler

(Sorry for the lack of materials in the photo; I got so excited to put it together I forgot to add half the materials in when I took it!)

At first I thought about using just a thin piece of wood for the clock “face,” but the clock mechanism stuck out a inch or more, so you’d be able to see it behind the clock. I had an “Ah ha!” moment as I was preparing for my gallery wall. I was figuring out the placement of my Scrabble Monogram, and realized I could use the same type of wooden canvas for the clock; it’d hide the clock mechanism perfectly!

SONY DSCI stained my wooden panel with some leftover Americana gel stain in Walnut, and then applied a thin layer of the polycrylic sealer when the stain dried. I sanded it lightly on top.

SONY DSC(So, even though this was technically for David, I did elicit his help in making it. He just didn’t know WHAT he was helping me make! ;))

While the sealer dries on the wood panel, use this amaaaaazing pipe cutting tool and cut your pipe into eight 3 1/4 inch sections of pipe. These measurements are for an 8×8 clock, but if you want to make a bigger clock you’ll have to remeasure how much pipe you want between the t’s and elbows. I wanted my pipes to hang over the wood just a tad and the cover the wood corners. I measured my pieces accordingly.

SONY DSCI was going to originally leave the t’s “open” to be the 3, 6, 9, and 12 clock number notches, but I thought it looked funny having them open. So, I decided to cut small pipes and add caps. I cut my remaining pipe into four 1 1/4 inch pieces.

SONY DSCSince all the pipe would be glued down to the wood, I wasn’t real meticulous on gluing all the pipes together. I just used Elmers glue and put a little inside of each of the connecting pieces (the t’s, elbows, and caps).

SONY DSCKeep gluing the pieces together, all the while pushing the pipes together tightly to make sure they all fit snuggly.

SONY DSCWhen it’s all glued together, it should look like the above photo. Now for the actual clock part! Before putting the clock altogether, I painted the hour, minute and second hands as well as the washers all white. I was going to paint them copper to match the pipe, but it would have been hard to see them against the dark wood. You can paint them any color you’d like. White showed up really nicely against the wood!

SONY DSCTo find the center to drill your hole, use a ruler to measure corner to corner and make a little mark in the very center. You should have two marks that overlap or are pretty close to it. You can make a little “x.”

SONY DSCDrill a hole where your “x” was, and insert the clock mechanism. Once the hands and pieces are dry, assemble the clock together per the instructions.

I had a little issue when I glued the pipes to the wood. I had planned to use Gorilla Glue, but knew it could possibly expand and be seen. I thought about using other glues we had; hot glue, Elmers, super glue, etc, but I was afraid they wouldn’t hold well and that the pipes would fall off from the wood. SO, in the end I went with Gorilla Glue anyway. And unfortunately, I were right; it expended underneath the copper and out onto the wood where it was visible. Argh! I was a little upset, but grabbed my Xacto knife and started cutting away the glue that was visible. That worked! For the remaining glue, I used a tiny bit of copper paint and a small brush to paint the glue. It blended up perfectly, and you can’t even tell! So, to sum up, a different glue might be better if you don’t want seepage. Or learn from me and just use less glue. 😉

SONY DSCAnd you have yourself a beautiful, industrial looking clock! I’m so happy how it came together (and that it actually worked!).

SONY DSCI wrapped it in brown paper, and used a couple of small bungee cords from Home Depot as the “bow.” That’s manly, right?

SONY DSCEveryone can use a few extra bungee cords lying around! I just hooked them to themselves around the box. I gave it to David yesterday, and I’m happy to report he loved it! He’s going to put it leaning against the wall on his desk at work for others to admire too. Yay!

SONY DSCI love how simplistic it is with no numbers but just “notches” instead. You could even paint the wood a color instead of staining it. So many possibilities!

SONY DSCWhat do you think? Would your spouse or significant other like a DIY gift like this?

If you want to see some other fabulous DIY copper pipe projects, head over to my bloggy friend’s pages and check them out! They’re a bunch of incredibly talented and creative girls; you will NOT be disappointed!! (You can just click on a picture to be taken to their DIY gift!)

Image Map

I had SO much fun coming up with an idea for this month’s challenge. Check back next month for another DIY Home Depot gift challenge; you’ll have to wait and see what the item will be and who it’ll be for! 🙂

Have a great rest of the weekend, friends!

(I link up at these fun parties!)

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    • Amanda says:

      Thank you so much, Amanda!! I’m so excited with how it turned out! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and check out our projects!! Hope your week is fabulous. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Ha! Thank you so much!! I might need to start using bungee cords on all my man gifts. Saves money, and bows. 😉 And what man DOESN’T need random bungee cords for stuff?! Thanks for visiting! Hoping your week goes great. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Aw, that’s so sweet, Angela!! Thank you for sharing that with me. 🙂 It was really easy to make, I bet he could even make one himself (with a little help, of course!)! 🙂 Thanks for hosting a great party! Hope your week is going great!

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