Monday, February 16, 2015

Mantel Clock

Hi everyone.  I have been busy painting portraits. You can check out my website at

This clock was made from a Bolla wine box.  Jack, the little boy next door, threw it away years ago and I saved it.  When I decided to make the clock, there it was. It had the perfect proportions, 6x12.

I cut a hole on the front of the box for the clock movement and another one on the back for changing the battery. The wood is very thin and easy to cut with a utility knife.

I bought a clock face and a clock movement with numbers .  The thickness of the movement has to be the same thickness as the clock face.  Here the clock face is glued to the box,

I built a small box for the base of the clock. The wooden pieces came from Michaels, already cut to the right width. I only had to cut them the right length. They are made from very thin plywood.

The Bolla box is glued to the inverted base.

These are the front and back of the box sitting on its base, already primed.

This is the finished clock.  I took pictures but I can't find them.....sorry. However, not so hard to figure out. On the top, I placed a piece of wood the same size as the bottom one. I then cut pieces of narrow trim and attached them to the edges.  I used the same trim around the bottom of the clock.

Here on the bottom is a good close up of what happens behind the columns. There are two pieces of wood that I glued together and attached to the back of the box.  It looks like a fancy cut, but it isn't. The narrower piece is the same width as the one around the base of the Bolla box (painted black).

All the small pieces I used in the clock came from Michaels. The clock movement was $10 and another $6 was spent on the little bases and balls.

A strong broomstick from the garbage was used for the columns.
To camouflage the area where my broomstick meets the little base, I cut 1/2 inch pieces of cardboard and glued them on. The rubber bands are holding them until they dry. Check out the picture above.

The clock numbers were a gold color, so I used gold leaf for parts of the clock. I thought black and beige complemented the color scheme. The gold leaf was distressed to give it some character.

This is how the finished back looks.  The two small tabs rotate so you can remove the back and change the battery.

Another view of the clock. A stencil was applied to the front of the clock face. The lines under the clock face were painted using masking tape. The year 2015 is stenciled under the face. It is not easy to read.

I thought I might make clocks of many different designs......and sell them.  The number of hours I spent making this one was totally ridiculous. I would have to sell it for $200 and who would pay that much for a clock made from a wine box?  I am happy to keep it. It will become a family heirloom!

Frame for my blackbird painting.

Hi everyone. I have not posted for a long, long, long time! I hope you enjoy this new one.
I make the frames for my paintings for 2 reasons:  saves money and I get just what I want.

The wood I use is 1x3's from the lumber yard. I don't buy the most expensive since I fill holes with wood filler and paint it and cover it anyway. Here is one I made recently.  The hardest thing has been to find the right color of brown tissue paper.  I haven't yet!

I add a half-round trim to the frame. The painting sits on this trim and also gives it a finished look.  

I mix a 1:1 ratio of water and glue and put it in an empty jar

 Materials:  White primer, my cut-outs of birds from cardboard, ordinary white glue mixed with water, an inexpensive brush and Liquitex satin varnish (any varnish will do).

One note on tissue paper:  Make sure it is not the "bleeding" kind, unless it's what you want.  I used it once thinking it would look "cool", but it was a disaster.  The glue/water mixture separated the colors into green and red. Don't forget brown is made from blue, red and yellow!

ProcedureAfter my frame is primed, I place and glue my birds where I want them.  They have been painted a medium gray, a lighter value than the tissue paper.  After making 12 frames I have found this works well for me.

I cut the tissue paper in pieces slightly larger than the width of the frame plus extra to cover the sides.
I crinkle the tissue. I then apply glue to the frame with a brush and place the tissue paper over it.

Using the same brush, I go over it with more glue, making sure I flatten all the wrinkles. ( Be gentle at first until you figure out how hard to brush, or you will tear the tissue.)

Where I have to piece the tissue paper, I overlap it just slightly. Tissue paper comes in 20 inch lengths and this frame was 30x30.

Since the color is not deep enough, I apply a second layer of tissue, the same way as the first.  I get more wrinkles, of course, but they look fine.

 Once the glue is dry, I go over the whole frame with Liquitex varnish to give the frame a light sheen.

There are many ways of doing this:  painting the frame brown to begin with is another way. You need to experiment.  Good luck. My website: