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Hello again! I’m Kim from The Sew Spot and I’m happy to be sharing a project that can be made for any child who likes to learn and explore!
This handmade kid’s activity clock has just that, lots of activities to keep a child busy and entertained. Use the clock to countdown to the new year, or play with it anytime of the year to practice telling time. It would even be a simple and fun way to keep a child occupied on a road trip or during holiday travel.
The hour hand matches the hour fabric and the minute hand matches the minute fabric. This makes reading the position of the clock hands straightforward, which is helpful when a child is just beginning to learn how to tell time.
Each hour opens in a different way to reveal the minute number and the clock hands are reversible. Add fabrics with different patterns or textures to the back of each hour to encourage more discovery. If the child you are making it for has a special interest, you could even do a themed clock. (For example, if your child likes outer space, maybe you could use shiny fabrics or put the moon, sun, and stars behind each number.)
This handmade kid’s activity clock makes learning the concept of telling time easy and fun. When it’s time to take a break from telling time, turn the clock over for another activity where a little concentration is needed to follow the maze to the dot. (It was a neat coincidence that the thread, from sewing the middle button to the front, ended up where it did, to make a great destination point on the maze.)
First, I’ll show you the main steps to putting this clock together and then we’ll look a little closer at the details.
Here is the supply list. (It may seem long, but you really don’t use a lot of each supply. Your own supplies can easily be substituted, also.)
- Fabric (15″ x 15″)
- Denim/canvas (15″x 15″)
- Fusible batting (15″x15″)
- Fabric for the hour numbers (section of a patterned fabric)
- Fabric for the minute numbers (scrap fabric)
- Various scraps of fabric for back of hour numbers and clock hands
- 1/2″ wide binding (33″)
- Iron on adhesive (I used the lite sewable adhesive, though you could use the ultrahold.)
- Hem tape
- Number stamps
- Ink pad (fabric markers or fabric paint could also work)
- Various supplies for closures (hook and eye, side release buckle, lobster clip, elastic, ribbon, cord, string, magnet, bead, button, snap, etc.)
- Basic sewing supplies (A great list can be found here.)
A few quick notes before getting started:
- This handmade kid’s activity clock is simple to put together, but I wouldn’t consider it a ‘quick’ sew. However, if you work on it a little at a time, you can definitely finish in a week.
- It helps to have a general layout or diagram beforehand. Include how you want each piece to open and the fabric and closures that will be used for each hour. Slight adjustments can always be made, though.
- Please use your best judgement with all of the small pieces. This clock is not recommended for children under 3.
Now, let’s get started by cutting out 3 circles. I traced the top of a salad spinner and cut a circle from the fabric, batting, and denim. The diameter of each circle is 9 1/4″. Using batting and denim will make the clock more sturdy.
Find a fabric with a pattern that you like, and cut out a section that you can put the hour numbers in. (You could also just cut a circle or square from a solid fabric.) Then stamp the clock hour numbers onto the fabric. Test the ink by stamping a scrap piece of fabric to be sure you are okay with the color. You may want hand wash the scrap piece to see how the ink will look if it gets wet or washed.
Iron on adhesive to the back of the fabric. (I’m sure you already know to cut the adhesive smaller than the fabric before it is ironed on, but I just wanted to mention it because this photo looks like I didn’t do that.) Peel the paper off and iron to adhere your choice of fabric to the back with wrong sides together. Then, cut around the outline of the pattern. Repeat with all 12 numbers. I used the lite iron on adhesive, because I will be opening the edge of a few of the numbers.
Do something similar for the minute numbers. First, iron on adhesive to the back of a scrap piece of fabric. Cut it into 3/4″ x 1″ rectangles. You can clip the corners to give it a more appealing look, plus doing so will help hide it behind the hour fabric. Then stamp the minute numbers onto the center of the fabric. Repeat with all of the minutes.
Take all of the numbers and adjust the layout until you’re happy with the way it looks. Peel the paper back off of the minute fabric and press in place onto the circle fabric. (The 15 and 20 were ironed onto a piece of fabric, not to the the clock. Black embroidery floss was added under 45 and 20 before ironing them down.) I topstitched the minutes to the fabric. If you use the ultrahold iron on adhesive, you won’t need to top stitch.
Pin the hour fabric according to the way you want each to open. I sewed over the pinned areas. I did not sew on the fabric with numbers that I decided would come off (2, 7, and 9). I also sewed the cord in place, added the snap to 8, and a magnet to 7. (The detailed description towards the end of this post explains how.)
For the back of the clock, combine the non-fusible side of the batting to the back side of the denim. I drew a maze on the denim with chalk and then sewed over those lines to connect the denim to the batting.
Let’s work on the clock hands next.
1. Use the iron on adhesive, again, to combine a piece of fabric to the denim. Add iron on adhesive to a fabric that matches the minute fabric and one that matches the hour fabric. (The point design is the middle of the pattern used for the hours.)
2. Cut the two fabrics together using the pattern fabric as a guide. If you use a fabric without a pattern, you can just make an arrow shape.
3. Peel the paper back off of the two points and iron each one onto the denim.
Cut out around the point and extended down. The total length, from the tip of the point to the rounded bottom, of the hour hand is 3″ and the minute hand is 3 3/4″. Here is how the front and back of the activity clock hands look. You can topstitch if you use the lite adhesive or use the ultrahold and leave as is.
Sew a buttonhole at the end of the clock hands. Consult your sewing machine manual if you need more instructions on this step
Sew a button on the center of the activity clock and then add the clock hands
At this time you can begin to add a few of your closures. For all of the numbers that have elastic or ribbon coming from one edge, pull that edge apart. Cut a tiny piece of hem tape and insert the ribbon, embroidery floss, or elastic. Iron it back down. The hem tape is used as a glue to hold it all together.
Finish the edge by adding binding all of the way around the clock. Pin any pieces on that you want to be attached under the binding. I attached a ribbon loop under the binding at 1:00 and I put the cord under the binding at 3:00. I also put the ribbon for 6:00 under the binding on the back to give the clip enough space to open and close. Oh and a cord on the top center to hang it up. Sew the edge of the binding on.
Now let’s look a little closer at the details. All that’s left is to finish adding any closures you haven’t added yet.
1:00– I wanted to do a tie here, but I felt like I didn’t have enough space to use this ribbon that is pretty stiff. Instead, I did a ribbon loop for the piece of ribbon, that is attached the number, to slide through.
2:00– This number just attaches with velcro. I used a fabric that had a dot for this number, but I didn’t think that one dot on the back of a number 2 made sense. That’s why I turned the dot into smiley face, with velcro ears.
3:00– The hour slides to the side to reveal the minute. I sewed the minute onto the cord itself and sewed a ribbon to the back of the 3. I slid the 3 on the cord then sewed the cord in place.
4:00– The minute pulls out from behind this number. As mentioned earlier, I used black embroidery floss to connect the minute and then sewed it down, when I sewed the three sides of the 4 onto the fabric. The fabric on the back of the 20 has a bird on it.
5:00– Hand sew a bead or button for the elastic to wrap around. I like the soft animal print under the 5.
6:00– Here is where I used a side release buckle. I almost took it out, but my son wanted to keep it. I’m glad it stayed in because he can unbuckle it on his own now. I folded the ribbon over the buckle and adhered the ribbon to itself with hem tape. Then I attached one end of the ribbon to the number and the other side to the binding as previously described.
7:00– Here I added a magnet to the back side of the 7. The magnetic sheet didn’t seem strong enough, so I used the round magnet that had adhesive on one side. Underneath the clock I put another round magnet (a washer can be substituted) and used hem tape to iron a plus shape fabric to hold it in place. This was done before adding the batting.
8:00– This is just a snap closure. Add it to the fabric before the batting is added.
9:00– The backside of 9 has felt. It sticks to the clock okay, so I just left it to pull off and on. It is attached to the clock with embroidery floss. (Next time, I would choose a different number for this pull off activity, because the 9 can be put back upside down and then it’s a 6. Oh well, my son likes taking the 9 close to the 6 and comparing the numbers.)
10:00– I started to like some of the teal accents as the handmade kids activity clock came together, so I used a fabric marker to color the elastic. One piece of elastic is sandwiched between the hour fabrics and it is where a few jump rings join together with a lobster clip. Another piece of elastic is sewn onto the binding with a zigzag stitch on the ends to make a place for the lobster clip to clip onto.
11:00– A buttonhole and a button.
12:00– Hook and eye closure. The hook can be hand sewn onto the binding.
That’s all, test it out for yourself, then pass it along to a child so they can play with it, too.
To see a few more activities you can sew for the kids, visit The Sew Spot.
Have fun sewing!
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