How to Turn an Old Book into a Clock

You finally finished “Fifty Shades of Grey” and want to celebrate your life changing reading experience. One way could be to transform your hardcover novel in a clock. Rather than having literature just taking up space on the bookshelf, by re-purposing it a useful watch can mix both beauty and utility at the same time.

How to Turn an Old Book into a Clock


How to turn an old book in a clock. Select an appropriate hardcover book.

How to turn an old book in a clock. Select an appropriate hardcover book.

1 Select an appropriate hardcover book. Consider a book cover that either has personal significance or that match a theme room decor. Make sure the book is robust and can stand alone without much help – a book about two to three inches (5cm-7.5cm) of pages is your best bet.

Evaluate your room to determine which colors and styles work best. For some rooms, a loud, colorful book covers to improve your style, while for the other rooms, a more romantic, soft cover book cover works best. If you intend to completely style, you might want to conjure some used bookstores for the right fit.

Consider selecting a book that is a symbol of your life. If a particular book has made a significant impact on your life, it can be the perfect one to convert it to your watch. That way it will always be on show to remind you of your trip you took with this work of literature.

2 Buy a cheap clock. You just want to watch for its engine and hands, so it does not matter what the rest of the watch looks. However, right hand size and style to the size of your book – if they are too large, the hands do not fit on the cover.

3 Take the watch’s plastic casing, hands and engine with an x-acto knife. Pop open the top and carefully remove the contents by using the X-Acto knife.

Make sure you do not damage any part of the watch when you take it apart – in the hands can be fragile, so be careful when removing the vintage clock featured on Internetages.

4 Drill a hole in the middle of the cover. First, open the cover of the book so that you only need to drill a hole in the lid, and not through the rest of the book. Then, carefully drill a hole large enough so that the clock’s motor rod can fit through the hole.

Alternatively consider other areas of the book cover than the center for placement of the hands. You do not need to be “by the book” with this watch – creative license is allowed. For example, if you find a watch with smaller hands, you can place the watch part towards the top of the left of center of the lid. This could create interest and different appeal.

5 Prepare the area for the clock motor book’s pages. The engine will sit nestled into the sides, so you need to make an exact location of the engine itself as your model. To do this:

Place the engine behind the opened front cover on the first page of the book, centered directly behind the drilled hole. Make sure the engine is perfectly centered, because you will want the motor rod to fit through the lid hole.

Track the engine with a pencil and then set it aside. Doing this will give you your stencil to cut out the exact shape of the sides. It also helps to measure motor depth, so that you know how far into the book you want to cut.

6 Using x-acto knife, cut into the sides so that you create a hole for positioning at the engine. Carefully cut away at the sides to create a nook for the engine. Release the engine in the nook from time to time and try to close the book to determine if you have cut far enough into the book yet. Consider cutting fewer pages first and check the depth regularly until it’s just right.

7 Close the book cover and line up at the motor rod with the book cover the hole. Now you can mount the clock with the help of hands and a few decorative items highlighting your new book clock.

8 Cuckoo clock hands on the clock motor rod on the front. If the book tells the whole “story” and complements your decor, you might want to stay here. This will be the basis and the body of your clock and can be perfect as it is. Or, you can decorate more:

Decorate to suit your room decor. Consider adding decorative figures, jewelry or small items to jazz up the clock. You can also découpage clock images to improve the final appearance.

9 Place the book on the clock display. Make sure it is secure without being likely to fall. This may require supportive book or add rubber feet.

10 Finished.


Use a glue gun to attach some decorative items for the book clock.

Consider using padding on the clock motor does not fit well into the sides. If you have acquired a part that is either too large or awkward, try wadding up pieces of duct or masking tape and padding surrounding the interior so it keeps the engine is in place.

If your child does watch, always monitor the whole process and consider the handling of cutting yourself.

Insert a new set of batteries so you can enjoy the clock as soon as you have created it.


Be absolutely sure that you can be a part of the novel before using it this way! You can love the book so much that you really can not imagine that dig into the content with an X-Acto knife. Do not torture yourself, just put it back on the shelf and choose something else. Or buy another copy of the book to be used as your clock.

Reconsider any decorations that may be flammable or destroy the integrity of the book’s structure.

Things you need

Framed book

Cheap wall clock (Try the dollar store or check sales)

X-Acto / craft knife

Hot glue

Rubber feet (optional)