Vintage Rotary Phone Clock

October 22nd, 2009 in member junk     
13 users recommend

This project just uses a run of the mill, vintage rotary phone that I got at an estate sale, a clock mechanism purchased from American Science & Surplus for $2.75 (can't beat that with a stick), & I used a small piece of scrapbooking paper to disguise the clock workings in the center.

I saw this project on a rerun of She's Crafty (there are some advantages to only getting over the air digital television. Awesome reruns of Canadian craft shows, who knew?) and I fell in love.  Their version of the project was not really built to last as it utilized double-sided mounting tape in several spots which would not hold up to anything but the most careful of use. (and would not be something that I could sell)  In the TV version they placed the actual wheel (plastic thing you put your finger in, I don't know what it's called), which I have removed entirely in my version, on the top of the clock's spindle with double stick tape.  There was no way I could see to get such a large piece to bond cleanly and permanently with such a small base, their clock also did not have second hand movement as mine does, a further complication.  I hope to find inexpensive clock mechanisms with a longer "stem" so that I can drill a hole & reattach the wheel so as to have the hands of the clock extend above the entire face of the phone.

The hardest part of this project is disassembling the phone, which is not difficult so much as time consuming.  Don't make my mistake, make sure that you set aside the 2-4 screws that attach the upper & lower parts of the phone because by the end you probably will have pulled out quite a few screws that you don't need, so this just makes it easier to home in on the ones that allow you to put the phone back together.  The ringer bells are actually quite lovely in tone, so you can look forward to wind chimes made from those in the near future!

Check out my other clocks and various crafty whatnots at my etsy shop.

Pattern or design used: She's Crafty (HGTV Canada)
posted in: member junk, vintage, white, Clock, phone, recycle, upcycle, home decor, mod, easy, kitsch, plastic

Comments (17)

Cocalotta writes:
I love rotary phones and I love clocks. What a piece you put together!!!
I would love this in my family room with my antique Coca Cola pieces. Keep up your great work. Posted: 7:08 pm on December 7th
ruglady writes: I love it. Very original-and timely! Many people nowadays have never even seen a dial phone! Now I have another thing to look for- gotta have one! :-) Posted: 11:43 pm on October 31st
ruglady writes: Very original and so very timely! Posted: 11:38 pm on October 31st
writes: ok, I LOVE this clock! Posted: 3:44 pm on October 27th
DownHomeDIY writes: I would call this project a huge success! Awesome!
Posted: 8:58 am on October 25th
shabbychick writes: I love what you did with the phone - great new use and very cool!

Kathy Posted: 10:15 pm on October 24th
WhisperWood Cottage writes: Totally loving this! Now, did I sell that black rotary phone I had? I think I did. I'm so pouting now!


Posted: 11:40 pm on October 23rd
upyourattic writes: Having worked for Ma Bell for many years, I think this is just the coolest thing! I wish I would have saved the many phones that came through my storeroom ~ some were from the 30's and were extremely heavy - you could use them as a weapon or hammer!

Unfortunately, they were all property of Ma Bell - not throw aways like they are today! Oh, to know then what I know now! I could've probably smuggled a few out!

THis is super creative and I love it. Can't wait to find one and do this! Thanks for sharing

Patti Posted: 2:23 pm on October 23rd
Junk_Sophisticate writes: Cool idea! My 4-year-old stumbled upon a red rotary phone for sale recently and asked me "Is this a real phone?" Heehee. I'm sure it looked somewhat cartoon-ish to her since the only other time she'd seen one was on Cartoon Network on a Tom & Jerry episode. ;)

Very creative!
Candy Posted: 10:34 pm on October 22nd
TinTinJunkFan writes: How cool is that... Posted: 12:54 pm on October 22nd
suewhitney writes:'s member feature Thursday and it goes to Meretricious Creation! What a fun and funky idea. I love it and I hope you all do too. Way to go MC!

Be Well,
Sue Posted: 10:34 am on October 22nd
MeretriciousCreation writes: Suewannabeinkc: I made a coat rack for a gear-head friend of mine using old window cranks. I just used a distressed plank and screwed the handles on with extra long screws with a couple of nuts as spacers to hold the cranks a little further away from the board. Unfortunately I don't have a picture. I finished it off with an old ford grill emblem centered on the top as he was a big Ford truck guy. He called it "manly crafts"...
;) Posted: 10:29 am on October 21st
CottageElements writes: Very, very cool. You did an amazing job on it, and I think I would like your version better than the original. It's something I think fits with all different tastes in decor. And definitely out of the box. Great post!

Lani Posted: 10:08 am on October 21st
fellowjunker writes: What a wonderful idea....looks great!!!
Happy day.
xojanis Posted: 11:01 pm on October 20th
alicemom writes: Very Clever!
smiles, alice Posted: 9:21 pm on October 20th
RustyDiva writes: Ahhhhhh memories of laying on the floor and twirling that cord while I talked for hours! Now my daughter wonders all over the house! Great project! Posted: 5:55 pm on October 20th
suewannabeinkc writes: What a clever way to reuse an old phone! If you have kids around, this can serve the dual purpose of teaching them how to read a dial clock AND a history lesson on what it meant to "dial the phone". Hmmm, how about making this part of a display of words no longer used, with their parts repurposed? Like an automobile window crank for "rollng up the window" made into a currently useful object. Maybe part of a paper towel or toilet paper holder. Hmmm...
Thanks for sharing!!
Joanne Posted: 5:30 pm on October 20th
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