Vintage Mantle Clock Makeover

Got an old clock but hate the color? I'm sharing how to paint a vintage clock with chalk paint for a brand new look.

painted clock

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Welcome to Thrifty Style Team! It's my favorite time of the month, when a bunch of like-minded thrifty bloggers team up to share our makeovers and decor ideas with you...all with a thrifty bent...because saving money is something we can all appreciate!

I've been working on an office makeover, and finally shared the reveal last week. We added lots of farmhouse goodies like wide plank floors, a shiplap wall, cordless wood blinds and other pretty touches. It's a great mix of vintage and new...what I like to call "modern farmhouse style".

Today I'm sharing how I updated a dated mantle clock that is on display in my new office.

I inherited this clock after my dad passed away. I remember that he won it at work, and it proudly sat on our mantle when I was growing up...gonging away every 15 minutes!

The clock still works, but my family is not a fan of the we don't have it wound. I still love the clock, it's a great memory of my dad, but I wasn't loving the dated look of it. So I painted it!


remove faceplate


choose a paintbrush

The first step was figuring out how to remove the face plate. I could have painted around it, but then would have been left with a dark wood face on the clock.

The face plate is held onto the clock by several tiny pins (nails). I was able to gently pry the plate up using the flat end of a screwdriver...if you know the proper way to do this, please don't cringe!! Then I was able to pull the screws straight out with the pliers...and the face plate was off! The hands of the clock were easy to screw off. I carefully set everything aside while I painted.

I'm showing a foam paintbrush as well as my favorite Purdy brush in the above image. I wasn't sure which one would give me the best results. In the end, I opted for the foam brush. It's smaller head and the ability to pounce (to get into the grooves of the decorative trim) helped this paint job to go quickly.

first coat of paint

The first coat of any paint job always looks so so bad! I ended up painting 3 light coats of the Shiplap paint. This paint by Magnolia Home is an eggshell finish, which is matte. You could also try using chalk paint; I'm sure the results would be very similar.

I was very careful not to get any paint inside the holes that hold the hands of the clock.

replace faceplate

When the paint was completely dry, I very carefully sanded to distress just a little bit. I wanted the maker's name (Forestville) to be somewhat visible on the front of the clock. Then I replaced the clock's hands and the face plate.

vintage mantle clock makeover

painted mantle clock on display

I love the updated look of this painted mantle clock. It's found the perfect home on the bookshelf in my office, where it fits in nicely with all my other and vintage!

I recently added a faux wood background to just the inside back of the black bookshelves. It was an easy and thrifty way to lighten up these dark bookcases without paint for around $20.

organized craft supplies

light distressing

This is actually the second mantle clock I've painted and I love them both! The other one is from my husband's side of the we have both sides represented! And the clock transformations are not over yet! Last summer when Mr DIY and I were away for a weekend, he found an old grandfather clock at a thrift store and convinced me to buy it! It was a steal at only $25, so into the Tahoe it went. It has been sitting in a corner, patiently waiting for its own makeover...hopefully I'll get to that soon!

painted mantle clocks are so charming
Do you have an old mantle clock you could update? Or would you even consider it? I know some people think painting vintage pieces is bordering on sacrilegious...but I think each of us should do what we want in our homes...not let others dictate how we should decorate! That's just my opinion.

Please take some time to check out the other posts from the Thrifty Style Team gals.

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. I say paint it too.... better to enjoy it and keep it out with your decor than to stick a memory away in a closet!

  2. Cindy - we love the power of paint, and the clock looks so beautiful now. Such a great story and memory of your dad too!

    1. Thanks so much! I say white over brown every day of the week ;)

  3. Another absolutely beautiful makeover, Cindy, and what a beautiful memory of your Dad.

  4. What a perfectly pretty makeover! And I love how you displayed it on your shelves!

  5. Oh my goodness! YES, I do have a mantel clock that could use a makeover! Currently it's in a place where it gets overlooked. I've been so inspired by your project!

  6. This clock is gorgeous now, Cindy!! Nice work!!

  7. I love what you did with this clock! I have one of these clocks packed away in the basement, now I know what to do with it to make it look good!! Take care.


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