Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DIY: Sunburst Mirror Clock

It's finally done!

Over the weekend, I finished up a project that I was so excited to make - I was finally able to get our sunburst clock up on the wall!  You may remember this clock from the Family Room design plan, and I believe that I told you that it was inspired by some mid-century style mirrors that I had come across. I have seen some people recreate the mirrors, but I wanted to take it one step further and make mine into a clock.  We used to have a clock up on that wall, but the style matched my parents furniture more than it matches ours, so we took it down when we were prepping the walls for painting.  Ever since then, you know, back in December, we have constantly been looking at that wall for the time, so we knew that we had to get a clock back up there soon.

Now, this project wasn't very difficult, but there were a lot of steps, so this post will almost be picture overload. Sorry, I'm not sorry! 

The first thing that I did was decide how large I wanted the clock to be.  I wanted it to be a statement piece on that large purple wall, so I thought that three feet in diameter would be perfect. I bought a 12" craft mirror from Hobby Lobby, as I didn't want something expensive since I would be gluing things to it and drilling a hole in the center.  

I also picked up some wooden dowels in two different diameters, so that the sunburst clock had some depth. I chose to go with 1/4" and 3/8" diameters, and bought the 4' dowels so I could get as many sticks out of each dowel as possible.  Using just a wire cutter, although you could use a hack saw too, I cut the dowels into lengths of 13", 12", and 11" making sure I had the same amount of each length and width.  I chose the lengths because I wanted the dowels to extend to a maximum of 12" from the side of the mirror, and I needed approximately 1" for securing the dowel to the backside of the mirror.  Make sure that you take that into consideration when cutting your lengths, as you don't want to end up with a smaller size clock than you anticipated.

After cutting the dowels, lay out the dowels in a pattern of your choice, keeping in mind that you may have some that are both different sizes and thicknesses. I started with one of the dowels and placed each one of those in a space on the outside of the mirror. I then followed that by a different size dowel until I used all of the sticks in a consistent pattern around the mirror.  I didn't follow any of the directions that others have online, and only did what I liked, so you should do what you feel looks good. 

Once all of my dowels were in place, I did, however, do some simple calculations to figure out how much space I should have between each dowel. Using the diameter of the mirror, 12", I used a circumference calculator online to determine that I was working with 37.67" and then divided that by 30, which is the number of dowels I had, and got 1.25" between each one. If you want to be picky about placement, like me, you can do these same calculations, but if you don't want to, you can always just eye it. 

After being satisfied with how the clock looked, I wrote down the pattern of the dowels, then I took them down into the basement to my spray painting station and coated them with some silver metallic spray paint. Don't forget that the best method of spray painting is in light layers and not thick coats, so you may want to put three or more layers of spray paint on the dowels in order to get them evenly covered.

While I was waiting for the dowels to dry between layers of spray paint, I started to prep for drilling the hole in the center of my mirror for the clock mechanism.  First, in order to protect the glass surface of your mirror, prop it up on a soft, but raised item. As you can see in the photos below, I used some cleaning cloths I had and supported the mirror on them, while at the same time, leaving the center unsupported, that way the drill bit wouldn't hit the towels or the work surface when it finally cut through the glass. 

Without having the proper tools to find the center of my mirror, I used a technique I found online, where you draw three lines of equal length that intersect with two edges of the circle, then draw a line perpendicular to that first one at the center point of the original line.  The perpendicular lines will intersect each other at the center spot of your circle, or in this case, your mirror. Make sure to do this on the back of the mirror, as you likely won't have much success drawing on the front side without using a pen or marker that would leave permanent marks.

You may remember that I purchased a glass drill bit, and I showed you how to drill a hole in a wine bottle for all of those neat projects you may have in mind.  I used my 1/2" drill bit for this project since the post of my clock mechanism was slightly larger than the 1/4" bit that I also own.

Applying a medium amount of pressure, I began drilling a hole in the center of the mirror.  Make sure that your drill is is a level position and don't apply too much pressure, as you don't want your mirror to shatter. Once you have an indentation made in the back of the mirror, begin adding a few drops of water to the surface of the mirror where the drill bit is making the hole. This will help the glass drill smoothly instead of chipping or cracking when you are drilling. If the water begins to dry out, you should continue to add more, just a few drops at a time.  

Continue drilling into the back of the mirror, gradually adding pressure so you eventually get the size hole you need for the post of the clock mechanism. This may take up to a half hour, depending on how thick your mirror is, how sharp your glass bit is, and how much pressure you are applying when drilling. Once the hole fits the clock mechanism, you can drill slightly on the front side of the mirror just to make sure that the hole is smooth and free of sharp glass shards, but this step is optional, and slightly chancy since the clock mechanism will likely cover any areas in question. 

Once you are done drilling, you are ready to attach the smaller mirrors to the spray painted dowels. I bought small mirrors that were 1/2", 3/4", and 1" in diameter just to add some depth to the dowels.  I laid out the dowels in the pattern that I determined earlier, and then placed the small mirrors below the dowels in order to determine the pattern for those.  

Once you have your layout finished, attach the small mirrors to the dowels. I used Gorilla Glue to do this, but I didn't realize how much the glue bubbles and expands, so if you use this, proceed with caution, because you might end up with some of the mirrors stuck to your work surface, or glue stuck to the front side of the mirrors. If you are looking for alternative adhesives, try silicone, and even though I haven't tried it, hot glue from a glue gun may also work. For actually attaching them I found it easiest to place the small mirror face down, put a small drop of glue on the back, and then place the dowel on top. This allowed me to move the dowels as the glue was drying, in case they began to slide off off center. 

After the glue dries, you are ready to attach the dowels to the back side of the large mirror. Since I struggled with the Gorilla Glue, I used silicone for this step. To make sure that I had the spacing of the dowels set correctly, I placed them all on the back of the mirror, leaving an inch on the back side of the mirror, and was able to move them around until I had an even placement of 1.25" between each one. Once they were in place, I then used the silicone tube in the caulk gun and placed a thick bead of silicone over the dowels.

Using a small craft paint brush, I spread the silicone around each of the dowels so they would be secured onto the mirror. In the picture below, you can see how the top left corner has just the bead of silicone over the dowels, where the rest of the back of the mirror already shows the silicone spread around the base of each stick.  

Let the silicone dry and once you are confident that the dowels are secure in place, you can attach the clock mechanism. Each mechanism will probably be slightly different than the other, but mine was very simple. 

Slide the post through the hole you drilled in the mirror, then on the part that shows through the front side of the mirror attach the washer and the nut and twist it until it's tight. Don't over-tighten the nut, because you don't want to crack the mirror after you have gotten this far! 

Finally, attach the clock hands, and if your mechanism came with one, pop on the little cap that keeps the clock hands on the post.  

Lastly, clean off the front sides of all the mirrors with your favorite glass cleaner, and then hang your masterpiece up on the wall!! 

Ta-da! I am very happy with the way that this project came out, however there are a few things I think I would have liked to change. It turns out that these clock hands are just a little too small for the size of the clock face, so it does look a little strange.  Maybe I will try to find some different ones, because changing out the clock mechanism should be easy as long as the post hole can remain the same size.  The other thing that kind of irks me is how small the clock looks on the wall! I can't believe that a clock with a three foot diameter could look so small. I thought that would be plenty big enough, but it does look kind of lost up there. Maybe this is just an opportunity to put some picture frames with my favorite digital art prints in them on each side of it.

What are your thoughts? Do you love this clock? Does this make you want to create your own in your own style? Should I put pictures on either side to help the wall feel fuller?

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