Turn a Wood Cable Reel Into a Farmhouse Clock

7 Materials
6 Hours

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.
turn a wood cable reel into a farmhouse clock
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. Then I lightly sanded the entire piece.
turn a wood cable reel into a farmhouse clock
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. Next I applied some vinyl numbers equally spaced around the edge of the clock.
turn a wood cable reel into a farmhouse clock
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. Next I did two coats of paint using general finishes  snow white milk paint.

turn a wood cable reel into a farmhouse clock
Once the paint was dry I peeled off the vinyl numbers and was left with a white clock and dark numbers. I installed the clock parts with the over sized hands, and finished it off by putting the cable reel hardware back on.
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Jessica VanderVeen

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • KayH
    on Jul 1, 2018

    Love this! I see spools like this at work and have thought about getting one and making a clock. Your finished product is exactly how I envision I would want it to look like. My only concern (besides not having time to do it right now) is how heavy it is. What was the diameter and approximately how much does it weight? Great job!!

    • Jessica VanderVeen
      on Jul 4, 2018

      The diameter was about 2 feet. I would say it was about the same weight as a large mirror. I bought a heavy duty wire and attached it to the back (meant for heavier objects) and as long as you hang it on a stud or with a wall anchor it should be fine.

  • Tupp
    on Jul 1, 2018

    Looks totally awesome, can I ask, if, and where you bought your high torque clock movement ?? Thank you....

    • Carol
      on Jul 15, 2018

      This is simply gorgeous. I think it's one of the best DIY projects I've ever seen on Hometalk. I love your idea to paint over the stick on numbers and then peel them off to show the dark stain. Brilliant idea!

  • Kim Sobaszek
    on Jan 2, 2019

    Love it, can I ask what you used to cover the additional holes in the spool?

    • Jessica VanderVeen
      on Jan 2, 2019

      For the centre hole I cut a piece of MDF and spray painted it black. To cover the other holes I just put the metal pieces back on that came with the reel. I had to glue them on, but it works.

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