How to Make a Gold Leaf Wall Clock

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 -
simple easy wood diy walnut gold leaf tribal wall clock kit  how to

*This post is sponsored by DAP Products. I have been compensated for my time and provided with product or payment in exchange. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

It's good to try new things. I love experimenting with new materials, even if it doesn't always work out. I'd been itching to play around with gold leaf and I finally had a project that was a perfect test.

I have a confession: I am chronically late... to EVERYTHING!

My husband kindly suggested I make myself a wall clock to keep in the bathroom so I can hopefully stay a little more on schedule (nice try babe). I've actually never made a DIY clock yet, so I took him up on his suggestion and decided to incorporate that gold leaf strategy.

Materials List:

Cut Wood Circle

The first step was to cut an 11" wood circle from a scrap pine board. I made a simple circle jig and attached it to my Ryobi Trim Router. If you don't have a router or scrap board, you can find pre-cut wood shapes at the craft store in almost any size you'd like.

Apply Wood Stain

I used a piece of an old t-shirt to apply one coat of quick-drying wood stain. I used the color "Dark Walnut" from Rustoleum

Adding the Gold Leaf

Once the stain was fulled dried, I could start on the gold leafing. Metal leafing comes in super thin sheets, but needs something to help it adhere to your surface. I found DAP Weldwood Contact Cement worked perfectly for that.

First, I lightly drew pencil lines, spaced 3/4" apart to help keep the design straight. Then, I poured a small amount of contact cement into a paper bowl and use a small artist's brush to paint a simple, tribal design on the clock's face.

When the contact cement was dry but still tacky, I started to lay down the gold leaf sheets.

I firmly rubbed the sheets onto the wood surface. Once the entire face was covered, I used 400 grit sandpaper to VERY lightly buff away the excess leaf. If I were to do this step again, I'd actually recommend using a higher grit paper to avoid subtle scratches.

Metal leafing is GORGEOUS and has such a pretty sheen, but it's a bit delicate. After I removed the unwanted gold leaf, I sprayed 3 coats of gloss lacquer to help protect the finish.

Adding the Clock Hardware

Since I used a circle jig and a nail to create my wood disc, it was easy to find the center. I drilled a 5-1/6" hole for the stem to protrude through.

Then, I flipped the clock face-down onto my workbench (I used Bench Cookies to protect the finish from getting scratched). I aligned the clock mechanism through the hole, and used a pencil to mark it's location.

Next, I used my trim router to create a 1/2" deep recession for the mechanism to sit inside. To avoid tear-out and to have better control, I made multiple passes, only removing about 1/8" of material on each pass.

When the opening was cleared out and the mechanism could sit flush to the back surface, I could address the number indicators.

I started by using a laser level with perpendicular lines to get the cardinal points laid out. Next, since I searched and searched but couldn't find my protractor, I made a paper template to align the remaining 8 points on the clock face.

I then gentle tapped in a black upholstery tack on each mark.

The last step was to install and set up the clock mechanism. I added a few drops of RapidFuse to hold the motor to the wood before flipping the clock over and attaching the hands.

RapidFuse All Purpose Adhesive not only sticks to almost anything, it sets up in 30 seconds, so no clamping and waiting needed. Just press down on the two objects you want to join for half a minute and you're golden.

The last steps are the set the time, hang your masterpiece on the wall, and stand back to enjoy your work. 

Photos don't do the gold leaf justice. In person, it's so reflective, it's almost iridescent.

Another confession: I'm STILL working on my master bathroom.

I know, I know! It's like 95% done, but until I hang up the last bit of trim and paint, my new clock is going to live by my husband's side of the bed : )

What's something you want to experiment with? Like, this project? Feel free to pin the image below to save the idea for later. 

How to make a simple gold leaf wall clock using simple tools and scrap wood

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