The Junk Parlor

Repurposing an Empty Clock Case

I sell SO many clock cases! Sometimes I find them empty and sometimes I dismantle the clock to make it empty! I love repurposing clock cases!

When you find an empty clock case it is easy to imagine what you might do with it! Depending on the style, the case can be repurposed into a shelf or small wall mounted cabinet. Victorian clock cases like THESE, were actually the first empty clock cases I bought! The style of empty clock case might lend itself to creating a diorama or simply a place to tuck in something from your smaller collection. You might even prefer to paint the shell and leave it empty. BUT, when it is a complete clock to start with, then a couple factors come into play that can make it difficult to dismantle and repurpose.

The Dilemma

Dilemma: The clock is functional and in great shape as is.

Yes, that is very much a dilemma a lot of us have. Myself as a dealer and a “normal” person who is shopping for their home, we both don’t want to “ruin” something! For me as a dealer the conversation that happens in my mind goes something like this…

This could be SO cute dismantled. But, it’s perfectly fine as is and cute that way too! Ok, I’m going to get it, try to sell it as is and THEN I’ll dismantle it if it doesn’t sell. The clock doesn’t immediately sell and then I let it sit, and sit, and sit, before I finally give myself permission to tear it all apart.

As a “normal” person, tell me in the comments what goes through your mind in this scenario!

So, that is a dilemma, but the fact is that a lot of times I am selling a clock for less than would be listed on Etsy . And if I dismantle it and I sell out the pieces, I could make even more money that way, more than selling it as originally intended!…as a clock. Think about how many times you see clock hands worked into jewelry or 3D art, or junk journals. Think about how many times you see clock faces for sale online, or in a shop, or even already purchased and displayed in someones home! Clock cases too!

Now at some point all of these pieces made a clock and at some point was a clock. But, someone decided to dismantle the clock to sell for pieces. And I remind myself of that every time I hesitate to dismantle a perfectly good clock!

Dilemma: Who knows what it will look like.

When you dismantle a clock you have no idea what you are getting yourself into! If you watch the video below, and by looking at this picture, you will see that although both of these clocks looked basically the same in their original state, that once dismantled, they looked a lot different. And what a clock case looks like empty does impact how you are going to repurpose or upcycle it! The look is important.

And because there’s no guarantee about the shape of the hole or the screw holes, etc. It can create another dilemma to dismantling a clock to use for parts.

…will I actually like it once I dismantle it!

The Process of Dismantling

So remember how you never know what the clock case will look like once you remove the parts? Well you CAN tell what the clock face and hands will look like! But, how they come apart can be a bit tricky too! You might need to remove the back door from the clock to get the parts out, or a screw out, even if in the end you want the door to stay on.

I did want my doors on the clock. As you see the shape or opening the removal of the door makes is beautiful and you really could style the back side of the clock with a door off.

You will need a tiny screw driver, phillips or flat head or both, depending on the screws in your clock. You may also need a pair of pliers. Needle nose pliers, the skinny pointy ones can help you reach some things when your fingers won’t fit and pliers in general can help loosen bolts if your clock has them. You might also need to use a mallet. You really won’t know what you need until you get in there and get started.

Every clock is different, so just study on what needs unscrewed. When you pull to remove things, be gentle at first to make sure that you don’t damage something trying to pull it out when it actually is still being held in with a screw! However some things fit tightly together and do need a little muscle to get them loose!

Watch the Clock Get Dismantled & Styled

Repurpose the Clock Case

I had one hanging out in the shop, so I thought I’d quickly style it a few different ways, just to give you a glimpse of the possibilities of repurposing these old empty clock cases! But like I mentioned before the sky is the limit on these cases! You can use them like a shelf to display items. You can paint them or decoupage the back. You can add a mirror or other artwork. Repurposing the clock case basically means that you are going to decorate it to fit your home!


If you like this little upcycling project, then be sure to checkout my #upcyclesquad members projects! The 4th Thursday each month our squad will be sharing some awesome projects with you!

Hilary – H.Prall and Co

Looking for a fun and easy DIY project? I’m sharing how to turn a candle stick holder into a bud vase! Check it out HERE.

Lora – Lora Bloomquist

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Melanie – Southern Crush at Home

Is your old couch starting to show its age? Maybe the fabric is worn or stained, or maybe you just want a change of pace. Reupholstering a couch can be a great way to give it new life. I’m sharing with you how to reupholster a couch without removing the old fabric using a Pottery Barn throw blanket. Check it out HERE.

April Guest Hosts

Lainep – DIY Beauty on Purpose

Have an old, dated furniture piece that needs updating? Here’s an exciting makeover of a 90’s bench turned into a fresh, farmhouse piece. 

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This post may contain affiliate links for the products I use and recommend. I am not paid to promote these products. If you purchase using my affiliate links, I could make a small commission at no charge to you.

Like vintage items? Check out some of my recent listings HERE.

Love projects? Check out my DIY section HERE.

11 thoughts on “Repurposing an Empty Clock Case”

  1. Like you, I am a “normal” person. I have a difficult time using a working/good condition item in a “break down – rebuild” situation. Luckily, I have an artist friend that creates art through assemblage. Clock parts are some of her favorite supplies! (I earned her eternal esteem by once gifting her with the entire metal frame, face and workings of a grandfather clock) Want to find someone like my artist friend? Simply do an internet search – type in the name of your city and state (or closest large town) and the word “artist”. Names of local art guilds, societies and all types of creatives will supply you with people to contact. You might even find a new creative friend! (P.S. I found you through Lora Bloomquist)

    1. Thank you Beth! Lora is amazing at what she does! I actually have a girl that buys my Mystery Junk Box and she does 3D art. I give her lots of parts from things I dismantle! I love picking for her and she loves the unique stuff I send her! Very neat that your friend does the same thing!

  2. Yes, whenever you take something apart, you make more $ on the parts! And the parts are so much more fun to decorate with. Love the video of taking the clocks apart; they are a challenge, for sure. I pass them off to the more mechanical men in my family who have more patience than me. Loved how you styled them for Spring; great ideas!

  3. I am getting a non working mantle clock. I will take the mechanics out and then turn it into a battery operated clock. I have worked with those battery mechanisms before.

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