I was asked to make a silent auction item for a fundraiser for our school, and my husband Tony suggested I make a large farmhouse clock from an electrical cable spool. Tony was able to get me a cable spool from his work for free, and it was the perfect size to make a large farmhouse clock. I used vinyl decals for the numbers, and created a whitewash look over a dark stain.
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Step 1: Take apart the reel and sand
The first thing I did was remove all the hardware from the spool. The two ends were held together by some long bolts, but they were fairly easy to take apart. I didn’t take out any of the staples because I thought they would add to the rustic farmhouse look. Then I sanded the entire piece starting at 60 grit, and working up to 180 grit. Not too perfect, but just enough to round the edges and remove splinters.
Step 2: Stain
Next I used a very dark stain on the clock face as the base layer. I did two coats of Minwax ebony, which is pretty much the darkest stain you can find. I let the stain dry for a good week or so before moving onto the next step.
Step 3: Make the center piece to hold the clock mechanism
This reel had a big hole in the center, which was perfect to put the clock mechanism, but I needed a way to cover it up. So I cut out a circle from a piece of mdf, sanded it smooth, and spray painted it flat black to match the clock hands.
Step 4: Apply vinyl numbers
Using a square and a triangle, I located 12 equally spaced dots for the clock numbers. I used some custom vinyl letters from Lettering On The Cheap and chose the font I liked, plus the size of the letters.
Step 5: Prime
I wanted the clock to be pretty much white, with a bit of the dark stain peeking through in certain areas. I didn’t want the stain to bleed through all over, so I primed the reel with a stain blocking primer, painting right over the vinyl stickers.
Step 4: Paint
Next I did two coats of paint using general finishes snow white milk paint. I lightly sanded in between each coat with 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 5: Remove vinyl stickers
Once the paint was a little bit dry, I removed the vinyl to reveal the dark roman numeral clock face underneath.
Step 6: Add the clock mechanism
To finish off the clock, I added the clock mechanism to the black circle I made from mdf and used some heavy duty epoxy glue to keep it in place. I bought a high torque clock mechanism that’s meant for larger clocks. I also put the metal washers and bolts back on the front to cover up the holes in the reel, and kept them in place using the epoxy glue.
Cable reel farmhouse clock
Then the last step was to distress the paint. I used 220 grit paper to remove some paint around the corners and along the high spots. I chose to keep the distressing minimal, but enough to give it a rustic farmhouse look. What do you think? Have you ever made a farmhouse clock like this?