How to Turn an Old Dinner Plate into a Wall Clock

Concept image about teatime with clock shaped teaplate, spoons and a tea bag. High resolution 3D rendering.
Looking for an interesting kitchen timepiece? Grab an old dish and use it to make a unique, new clock.
iStockphoto/Baris Simsek

You know that old mismatched dinner plate that's hiding in the cupboard? Hide it no more, because there's life left in that plate. All you have to do is give it some time, literally -- by turning it into a wall clock.

You've probably seen a dinner plate wall clock hanging in someone else's kitchen. Not only can you have one too, but you can easily make it yourself. Aside from a drill, which you probably already have, you can get everything else you'll need at your local arts and crafts store. Pick up a battery operated clock mechanism, numbers for the face, a ruler, a protractor, some all-purpose glue, a little sand paper and anything else you might want to personalize your clock, like paint, stencils or decals. If you don't want to hang the clock, you can always buy a small stand for it. Either way you'll have a beautiful conversation piece for you next dinner party.


While building a clock from a fragile dinner plate may seem like a difficult project, most of the hard work has already been done for you. The battery powered clock mechanism is prefabricated so once you screw it together, you're ready to go. Beyond that, your dinner plate clock can be as intricate or as simple as you want; the details are up to you.

If you don't have an old plate stashed somewhere around the house, you can always take a trip to the local thrift store. Most thrift shops will have a wide assortment of plates, and with a little luck, you'll find the perfect platter to match your décor.

Read on to find out how to make your own dinner plate wall clock.


Turning an Old Dinner Plate into a Wall Clock

This simple project doesn't require too many materials beyond the dinner plate. Besides the plate you'll need a drill, a battery operated clock mechanism, a ruler and a grease pencil (or some other marker that will work on the plate).

If you'd like to make more out of your craft, you could equip it with mounting gear or decorate it. To add these extra elements, you'll want numbers for the face of the clock, a protractor, a stand or wall hook, and paint, stencils or interesting embellishments you can glue onto the plate.


To begin, lay your plate flat on a folded towel. Use the ruler to find the middle of the plate and mark it with the pencil. You can do this by measuring side to side, marking the center of the diameter, and then top to bottom, again marking the center. If you're measuring accurately, the marks from each measurement will be the same.

Once you've found the center, use a sharp drill bit to drill a hole in the plate. Go very slow to keep your plate from breaking. While drilling the hole, keep the size of the clock mechanism's shaft in mind, as this will need to fit through the plate's hole [sources: Emmerson, Essortment].

Drilling will cause a lot of dust so clean the plate thoroughly when you're finished. Now you can decorate the plate any way you'd like. If you plan on painting, grab a piece of sandpaper. Lightly sanding the plate before you paint it will help the paint stick [source: MarthaStewart].

When you're done decorating and the plate is dry, assemble the clock mechanism according to the instructions provided. This will generally involve inserting the clock mechanism shaft through the whole in the plate, attaching the hands, and then securing them with some type of nut or cap. When the clock mechanism is securely attached, you can put numbers on the face of the clock or leave it blank. If you do use numbers, use a protractor to make sure they're placed in the right positions. Then simply rest your finished clock on a shelf or attach a wall hook to the back.

That's all there is to transforming a regular old dinner (or salad) plate into a clock.

For additional information and ideas, check out the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Links

  • Emmerson, Kassidy. "How to Make Your Own Personalized Wall Plate Clock." Associate Content. Mar. 10, 2006. (Accessed 04/28/2009)
  • Essortment. "How to make a personalized wall clock." (Accessed 04/28/2009)
  • United Kingdom Parliament. "Clock Tower Tour" (Accessed 05/06/2009)
  • Martha Stewart. "Plate Clock." April 2006. (Accessed 04/28/2009)