Saturday Series: Holiday Gifts -- Hexie Clock Tutorial

Our Fourth Quarter Saturday Series will focus on Holiday Gifts -- either your own ideas and patterns, or links to your favorite tutorials.  I'm kicking off the first post for last quarter of 2013 with a quick tutorial on how I made my Hexie Clock.  If you missed our September meeting, we had our Take It With You Challenge revealed and I showed off my Hexie Clock.

It's pretty quick and easy to make with the added bonus that perfection is not required!  Here goes:

The Cast of Characters:

  1. 19 paper pieced hexagons (I'm going to assume that you know how to make these, if not here's a post Flaun Kristin wrote all about it). I used 2 1/2" paper hexies, which will make your clock 12 1/2" x 12", approximately.
  2. 1/4" Depth Quartz Clock Movement Kit -- I bought mine at Michaels for $7.99 (and it would have been cheaper if I had a coupon).  These come in various sizes and 1/4" depth works best for this project.  (Side note:  this clock mechanism came with very small, fancy clock hands and I prefer a larger, cleaner look so I bought a package of larger clock hands for $2.99).
  3. One 13" square piece of scrap batting
  4. One 13" square piece of scrap fabric
  5. One 13" square piece of cardboard -- I recycled a FedEx box
  6. Glue -- I used my glue gun
  7. A ruler and Exacto knife or scissors
The first thing to do is lay out your hexies in the pattern you like.

I chose to use the polka dot hexies for the 12, 3, 6 and 9 on my clock.  DECIDE WHERE YOUR "12 O'CLOCK" IS GOING TO BE AND MARK IT OR REMEMBER WHICH HEXIE IT IS. This is going to be very important as you work through this tutorial; you will see my 12 o'clock "x" mark on various pictures going forward.  Also, leave the paper in the hexies until you get to the quilting part of the tutorial.  They help keep the shape of your clock and make working with it much easier.

The next thing I did was lay the arms out on the clock face and decided that I would prefer them black and not silver.

You can spray paint the hands if you like, but I didn't have black spray paint so I used the next best thing, a Sharpie.

Now sew your hexies together either by hand or machine.  I did mine by hand.

Next up is cutting the batting down to size.  Lay the hexie clock on the batting and cut carefully around it making sure not to cut into your hexies.  Mark an X at your 12 o'clock on the batting.  If you don't, you will spend too much time trying to line up the clock and the batting (take my word on this).

Remove the hexie clock from the batting and cut another 1/4" off of the edge of the batting.  You want to make the batting a bit smaller than the clock.  Lay the batting down on the back side of the clock and continue to trim any batting that is too close to the edge.

Now place the clock and batting on top of your backing fabric. Cut the backing fabric around the clock leaving about a 1/4"of fabric around the entire clock.

Once this is done, remove the batting and clock and set it aside.

Cut into each inside corner of the backing fabric about 1/4" so you can fold each side of it over the edge of the batting. You don't need to cut the corners on the outer edge, they will fold each other.

Lay your clock and batting back on top of the back piece lining up your 12 o'clock marks and fold each edge over and iron it down, squaring the flat corners. Work your way around the entire clock back, folding and ironing the edges neatly as you go.

Keep the  hexie clock on top of the batting (keeping the "12 o'clock" markings lined up) and as you iron, lay it out every so often so you can see if your backing is showing from the front of your clock. If it is, simply refold the edge tighter and iron it down.

This process will "seal" the batting so it doesn't show from the side of the clock.  Please remember that this does not have to be perfect or very neat since it's about to get covered up.

Now you can remove the paper hexies from the clock front and iron it.

Next you can make your quilt sandwich.  Put the batting/backing piece on top of the your hexie clock face, wrong sides together, remembering to line up your 12 o'clock markings and iron the sandwich one more time.  To keep things in place, I did a light spray basting with 505 starting in the center and then worked my way around the clock and spraying down each hexie edge.  You can also pin your sandwich if you wish.

This is what it should look like from the front -- you don't want to see any of the batting/backing from the front.  If you do, simply tuck it under again, iron it down and then spray/tack it back in place.

Now you can quilt your clock either by hand or machine.  I did a simple machine quilted loopy free motion pattern.  Quilting from the back is easier because you can see where you are going and where you have been.

Now you need to cut a small slit in the middle of your clock in order to get the clock mechanism through quilt sandwich.  Simply fold the clock in half -

make a small cut making sure to cut carefully through all three layers, and then spin your scissors a few times to make the slit a bit larger.  Start small, you can always make it bigger, but not smaller.

In order to give the clock a solid feel and keep it flat when hung up,  simply traced around the clock on to the piece of cardboard remembering to mark your 12 o'clock on the cardboard.

Cut the cardboard down about a 1/4" smaller than the traced marking. You can use a scissors or the exacto knife and ruler. This piece should be smaller than the clock so it doesn't show from the front.

Make sure to lay your clock on top of the cardboard and trim any edges that may still be sticking out from the front.  You don't want to see any cardboard from the front of your clock.  

Hot glued the cardboard to the back of your clock (this will cover up the back fabric and your quilt stitching).  I prefer to have the blank, brown side of the cardboard showing on the back.  Start by putting glue in the center of the cardboard and then place the back of the clock on it, remembering to line up your 12 o'clock markings.  Now flip the clock over and work your way around the edges by pealing them back and gluing them down as you go.  The edges should be secure so they don't roll over time.

Take a seam ripper and push it through the slit that you cut in the center of your clock until it pops out the back of the cardboard.

Then take your scissors and spin it around the cardboard hole making it large enough for the clock mechanism to fit through.  You might have to do this a few times before the clock mechanism fits through the cardboard/fabric hole. Be careful not to make the hole too large -- you want the mechanism to fit snuggle.

Now simply follow the instructions that came with your clock kit.  Make sure not to bend your clock hands; if they get bent and touch each other, they will stop working and it's a real pain trying to get them straight again (take my word on this too).  Some kits come with the sweeping second hand.  I used it on my first clock and it would jam up with the other hands as it passed them and stop working.  I chose to use just the two clock hands for this tutorial and they work like a charm.  Also, make sure you put the battery in your clock correctly.  I sat staring at this clock wondering what I did wrong for about an hour.  Then I checked the battery, flipped it around and tick-tock, it started working and is keeping perfect time.

There you have it, my first ever tutorial on making your very own Hexie Clock. If you do make one, please feel free to post it on our Flickr page.  I would love to see them.

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