Dragon o’Clock

I wish we could say we timed this project to correlate with Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon. But we did not. The truth is, we’ve been on a marathon session of How I Met Your Mother, which, despite its laugh track, is actually a really good show! And on the show, they’ve decorated their way-too-big-to-be-for-real New York City apartments with all kinds of vintage games, like pinball machine displays and Chinese checker boards.

I have been marginally obsessed with clocks lately, so it seemed natural that we’d make a clock out of a Chinese checkerboard. 

So we found a checkerboard on eBay, the same tin kind I had as a kid, with the regular checkerboard on the back. It didn’t have the marbles/checkers, so it was cheap ($10 including shipping).  Cheap, and dirty.

After a quick wash (couldn’t bear/didn’t care to wash away the crayon inside), I cut a piece of black fabric to put inside. Black paper would have worked just as well, but I used what I already had.

I just traced around it with a crayon and cut inside the trace. A perfect cut isn’t necessary–nobody will see it.

I hot-glued just the edges. Yes, the glue is silvery, and the gun is a mess; I tried this gun for melting crayons and it didn’t work so well.

I poked a hole in the middle hole with an Xacto knife…

Then pushed the clock movement through. This picture shows where I hot glued it, but I actually had to cut out a piece of cardboard to put between the movement and the fabric, because it was took “sticky outy” in the front. Technical terms, yeah.

A note on the clock movements: We got our parts from Klockit.com, and it was much cheaper than we thought it’d be. The movement was $2.99 with a free set of minute/hour hands, and a second hand was a whopping $0.40. With shipping, this would have come out to $9.39, but, true to form, we went overboard. We bought a bunch of hands and an extra movement.

This was the movement we used, in the 1/4″ maximum dial thickness, though I think we could have gotten away with the 1/8″ and not worried about sticky-out-iness. You then choose your hands, and we ultimately chose Style G based on the size of the “dial.” (We might change this later, to a thicker or bolder set of hands. All of the background noise (the lines and holes) make it hard to see from the couch, and the LASIK fairy hasn’t come for me yet.) The second hand is Style 5, though Jeff lobbied hard for the mouse. The brass pin comes with the second hand, so don’t buy another one; I made that ten-cent mistake.

Putting the hands on is easy–just carefully snap on, following the directions included.

Jeff used the Dremel to drill a hole for hanging in the back, on the checkers side. Then we just threw a battery in the clock movement, snapped the tins back together…

…and hung it on our boring white wall!

The clock movement fits perfectly between the tins, and we don’t see the need for any glue or anything to keep the tins together (this’ll make it easier to change out batteries later on).

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