91. How to Make a Clock from a Cereal Box

How to make a clock from a cereal box

If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a clock from a cereal box then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's paw

This episode is subtitled: ‘Seize the day…’

‘He won’t listen to me,’ said Jaz. She was worried about Old George from the hardware shop who’d been looking peaky all week. She hadn’t been able to persuade him to see a doctor and in the end her badgering had made him shoo her away.

‘You’ve done your best,’ I said. ‘Come on; let’s just enjoy our evening.’

Our extravagant bride from last week had been delighted with her flowers, and her generous dad had given us a voucher for Villa Italia to show his appreciation. ‘You can have a night off from the rules and regulations of your kitchen in the flat,’ I’d said. ‘Let someone else worry about how the waste is dealt with.’

‘What about Caitlin?’ Jaz had asked. ‘She did play a vital role in our success at Sacha’s wedding.’

‘I know,’ I said, ‘but I’m not bringing a seven year old out with us for a meal. I’ll have to take her to McDonald’s at some point. But I don’t fancy another encounter with Petra just yet.’

So Jaz and I headed off for an early evening meal and a glass or two of wine. Well, it was wine for me, beer for Jaz.

‘Buona sera, signore. You are both looking beautiful this evening.’ We knew we looked far from beautiful, straight from work on a Saturday evening but we lapped up Sergio’s Italian charm all the same and ordered some drinks. When the heat is off, and I know we’ve made someone happy with our flowers, I often think I have the best job in the world.

‘Cheers,’ we said in unison, kicked off our shoes (metaphorically speaking) and started putting the world to rights. ‘If I was King of England,’ I said, ‘I’d make it unlawful to have your jeans dragged down below the top of your undies.’

‘That’s shockingly wasteful, Jenny,’ teased Jaz, ‘making people buy more clothes when they’ve got perfectly good ones, just because they don’t meet your standards.’

‘Ah, but you and your flatmates could set up a jeans exchange,’ I suggested. ‘In return for donating their jeans, you could let them have a pair that actually fits them.’

I’d make it illegal to leave anything on your plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet,’ said Jaz.

‘Careful, Jaz. Won’t that encourage people to eat too much?’ I suggested.

‘Let’s ban all-you-can-eat buffets, then!’ she said and we clinked our glasses.

My phone beeped. ‘Oh, it’s Kim,’ I said.

She’d probably want to ban all action that doesn’t make a profit!’ said Jaz cheekily.

I read the message. ‘Jaz,’ I said calmly. ‘It’s George.’

‘Has Kim got him to see sense and book a doctor’s appointment?’

‘No…. Jaz…. George has died.’

She started to tremble. ‘But I just spoke to him this afternoon,’ she whispered, hardly able to get the words out.

Sergio arrived at the table and, with a flourish, said, ‘Spaghetti carbonara for you, signora. Penne arrabiata for you, signorina.’

‘Thank you,’ I said on behalf of both of us. He could see her distress and had the sense to leave us to it.

‘Why wouldn’t he listen to me?’ she wailed. And then, more indignantly added, ‘Why was he so nasty to me today?’

‘He was just being George,’ I said, ‘Old and grumpy. He knew he was very lucky to have you sticking up for him all this time.’

‘I suppose so,’ she said, pushing the pasta round her bowl, not eating a morsel. ‘It makes you think, though, doesn’t it?’

‘About what?’ I asked.

‘You never know the day. Carpe diem and all that.’

‘Yes, seize the day Jaz, and remember also that tempus fugit – time flies. And if you think it’s going fast for you now, wait ‘til you’re in your fifties – the years rush by!

No one really knew how old George was. He’d always been ‘Old George’ to me so I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d departed twenty years ago. But if his passing made Jaz stop and think; if it encouraged her to make the most of every day, then that was something positive to come out of it.

‘Let’s toast,’ I said, raising my glass. I was about to shout carpe diem but she beat me to it, touched her glass with mine and said, ‘To George.’

‘To George,’ I repeated. Bless her. ◊

How to Make a Clock from a Cereal Box

salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's pawTo remind Jaz to seize the day, and with a nod to George, I made her a clock for her new flat out of an old cereal box. If you buy a mechanism (only £2-£3) then you can decorate the dial in any way you fancy.

These are the parts that come with the mechanism (you’ll need to add a battery).

How to make a clock from a cereal box

You’ll need to measure your longest hand from the point it rotates in the middle (the hole) to the tip. Add about a centimetre to the measurement then double it. This will give you about the right diameter. Hopefully you’ll have a plate about the right size that you can use for a template. Draw it on an old cereal packet (one that has a plain side) and cut it out. One thickness of the cardboard is all you need.

How to make a clock from a cereal box

If you’re using a Cricut to cut your face (like me) then you can cut the hole in the middle at the same time. Otherwise you might want to wait and ensure you’ve found the exact middle before you start making a hole (I’ll show you later).

How to make a clock from a cereal box

The next thing I wanted to do was sort out where the numbers were going. You could just judge it by eye but I used a pair of compasses. I set the radius to the same radius as my circle (half of the diameter). If you put a mark anywhere on the edge of you circle then put your compasses point on it and find the point that your pencil touches the edge of the circle, your pencil will be one sixth of the way round. If you mark that then put your compasses point on it and mark the next sixth you can get all the way round your circle. If you join these marks together diagonally, you will have worked out the position of six of your twelve numbers. I drew more diagonal lines in between these lines just by eye. That gave me my twelve points for the numbers.

How to make a clock from a cereal box

How to make a clock from a cereal box

If you need to cut the hole by hand, you should now know where the centre of your circle is. Don’t worry if it’s a bit rough round the edges, there will be a small nut that covers the centre.

How to make a clock from a cereal box

Now for the design. You can go as wild as you want. You may fancy painting it or sticking scrapbook paper on, or the pages of an old book, a piece of material…..the possibilities are endless. I’d decided on some lettering and a fabric bird for my design. I cut the letters (and the numbers for round the clock) out from thin card using my Cricut and I ironed Bondaweb to the back of a scrap of fabric to stop it fraying, then drew the bird on it.

How to make a clock from a cereal box

Here are the bits and pieces ready for gluing on.

How to make a clock from a cereal box

By the time I’d glued the numbers on there wasn’t really enough room for the phrase and the bird so I chose the phrase and saved the bird for another time.

How to make a clock from a cereal box

Now all I had to do was rub out any pencil marks and assemble the mechanism around the new clock face.

How to make a clock from a cereal box


  • Use your imagination and create something unique to you.

Salvaged Items:

  • Cereal box

Hope Jaz likes it.


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