I find it so hard to find interesting-looking clocks…and I love ’60s style. So I really wanted to make an optical illusion design inspired by artists like Bridget Riley. Thankfully, the Cricut makes everything possible!
You will need (for a clock measuring 20cm x 20cm*):
8.7″ by 8.7″ (22 x 22cm) piece of mount board
A4 (that’s 8.3″ x 11.7″ or 29.7cm x 21cm) adhesive vinyl in two colours – I used gloss Oracal 651 in pink 045 and yellow 022 for one clock, and purple (040) and lilac (042) Oracal for the other!
8.7″ by 8.7″ (22 x 22cm) transfer tape
Quartz clock mechanism
Preparing the Base of the Clock:
- Open a New Project and click on ‘Import Images’.
- Because (I think!) it’s such a large file, you have to do each piece at a time. So, first of all, we need to download the file called ‘opartclock.svg’. You’ll see the following:
- Click on ‘Ungroup’ and then ‘Make It’. The circles that appear in grey are of slightly differing sizes and should be cut out of your base colour of vinyl (i.e. the colour that’s in the background in the optical illusion). The blue circle is to be cut from the mount board.
Cutting the Base of the Clock:
- Your screen will show you the layout for the first mat – I’m never quite sure how it chooses the order, but in my case it chose the SLIGHTLY LARGER grey circle first. That’s our ‘background’ colour. (NB I’m not suggesting you choose grey or royal blue, unless you really love them together – the colours shown are just for the sake of the diagram!)
I’ve decided to choose yellow for this one. (The two colours of vinyl I’ve chosen are from a selection of seconds I buy from Amazon: 100 mixed colours – they’re seconds but I really wouldn’t be able to tell). I love mixed selections as I end up discovering colour combinations I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Cutting the Mount board:
This one is slightly more tricky – I use the strong mat, but even if yours is super-sticky, then I’d recommend using temporary glue dots to stick your mount board to your cutting mat – at each of the corners in addition to two or three further in.
The setting I used is Magnetic 5mm. This cuts about 6 times! You might find that when the circle is cut, it starts to come lose and falls under the blade…so that’s why I find the glue dots (and close observation!) really important.
Cutting the op-art flower design:
For the patterned layer, I’ve chosen pink – I used the ‘Vinyl’ setting with More pressure.
This is a bit more difficult to weed – I highly recommend you start from the middle piece (the middle piece needs to be empty as the clock mechanism is going to slide through it:
A spatula might help. Ultimately, you will end up with this:
You’ve now got your main pieces for the clock.
Putting the clock base together:
- Now – using transfer tape if it helps – position the slightly larger circle of background-coloured vinyl onto the mountboard. found the only way to do this was to hold the vinyl in my hands, raised at both sides, joining the centre of the vinyl with the centre of the clock template first. I let it drop down gradually and once the vinyl was lying on top of the mount board, I rubbed my fingertips firmly over the vinyl, going from the centre outwards in circular movements, eliminating air bubbles as I went. The vinyl is cut slightly larger than the mount board, so when you get to the edge, fold it over the sides and pack it tightly behind the clock at the edges. I find it’s best to cut lots of small slits in the excess vinyl and fold it over.
- You’ll really need transfer tape for this step…apply the transfer tape to thethe op-art flower patterned vinyl and remove the backing sheet. Then, position it so that the small central flower is over the hole at the centre. Again – this will take great care! Fold this over the back, too, and smooth out any air bubbles.
- Take the slightly smaller piece of ‘backing’ vinyl and stick it over the back – matching the holes, covering the back of the mount board and, mostimportantly, ensuring that the bits of vinyl you folded over at the back are stuck firmly in place. Smooth out any air bubbles. The result will be something like this:
4. Remove the excess vinyl! This doesn’t take much weeding! Remove it from the backing paper. The slightly larger circle is design for you to be able to cover the mountboard AND fold it over. I suggest you cut all around the sides and fold over the edges.
Now you have your clock face. Follow the instructions given on your clock movement (normally – insert the mechanism through the hole in your clock and applying washer (optional), washer, nut and hands (and inserting battery).
Stand back and admire your finished clock!
This was an easy project, and the results were great. One thing I will say though – about this and any vinyl project…make sure your surfaces you work on are clean, especially if you have pets!
Fancy having a go at this project? Download the CraftAGoGo Op-Art Clock Template.
I’ve since done a few different clocks – they require different amounts of cutting and weeding but I think they look pretty fab.
*Please note – the file includes vector images, so you can make them whatever size you want. However, you are limited to the size of your cutting board! The example here gives enough space to fold over the vinyl at the edges – but if you are happy to have the vinyl snug to the edge rather than overlaying, then you can go up to 11.5″ (29cm) in diameter.