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Cuckoo Clock

Extract from Makery • By Kate Smith • Published by Octopus Books


$ $ $ $ $
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Cuckoo Clock
When I was little, I was fascinated by the cuckoo clock in my playroom. I’d almost
forgotten how much I loved that clock until I saw one recently at a flea market. This version doesn’t have a working cuckoo, but it does tell the time and it’s just enough
to give a little sense of nostalgia.

This is quite a lengthy project, as there are a few different techniques involved. You should be able to complete it in two or three evenings, but you could spend longer on the embroidery if the mood takes you

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© 2024 Kate Smith / Octopus Books · Reproduced with permission. · Makery by Kate Smith, published by Mitchell Beazley, £14.99 (
  • Step 1


    Cut out the smaller cuckoo-clock pattern and
    trace around it onto the mount board. Mark
    the centre of the clock face – where you will
    attach the clock mechanism – using a bradawl
    or pin. Cut out the cuckoo-clock shape from
    the mount board carefully. Keep the template,
    as you will use it again later.

  • Step 2

    Using the bradawl or a drill, make a 0.6cm ( in)
    wide hole in the marked spot on the mount board.
    Note that you need to be precise with this step to
    ensure that the clock hands align perfectly.

  • Step 3

    Pin the larger cuckoo-clock pattern from the
    template onto your piece of fabric, and cut it out.

  • Step 4

    Stick double-sided tape around the edges of the
    back of the mount board. Peel off the top layer
    of the tape and lay the fabric on top, right side
    facing up. Stick it in place. The fabric should be
    1cm (¼in) larger than the mount board all the
    way round.

  • Step 5

    Clip the fabric at all corners (see Figure 1).
    Turn over the mount board, and again
    stick double-sided tape around the edges.
    Peel away the top layer from the tape, fold
    the edges of the fabric over and stick in place.
    Take care at the corners to keep them neat.

  • Step 6

    Take the smaller cuckoo-clock pattern again
    and pin it onto the felt square, positioning it
    so you will have enough leftover felt for the
    leaves. Cut out.

  • Step 7


    Transfer the cuckoo door outline and clockface
    markings (including the centre marking
    where the mechanism will fit through) onto
    the felt with pins or tailor’s chalk. With your
    contrasting embroidery thread, stitch the door
    and clock face (but not the centre marking)
    using backstitch and French knots. Make a hole at the centre marking on your
    felt with the bradawl.

  • Step 8

    Trace the cuckoo-clock leaves onto your leftover
    pieces of felt. Embroider the leaf markings on to
    each leaf using backstitch. Stitch the leaves to
    the clock, ensuring these stitches aren’t noticeable
    from the front.

  • Step 9

    Cut the ribbon into two pieces, one 15cm (6in)
    long and one 30cm (12in) long. Stitch the felt
    hearts, balls or beads onto the end of each length
    of ribbon and secure them in place. Stitch the
    ribbon to the back of the clock at the bottom,
    so that they hang down. Make sure they are
    evenly spaced, so your clock isn’t lopsided.

  • Step 10

    Trace the cuckoo shape onto the contrasting
    felt, and cut it out. Stitch the features using
    your second colour of embroidery thread, and
    stitch the cuckoo onto the clock face.

  • Step 11

    Stick double-sided tape around the edges of the
    messy side of the fabric-covered mount board
    (the side with the fabric folded over the edges).
    Peel off the top layer of the tape and position
    the felt cuckoo-clock face, being careful to align
    the centre hole of the clock face with the hole
    in the mount board. Stick down.

  • Step 12

    Assemble the clock mechanism according to
    the instructions that came with it and attach
    it through your clock face. Put in a battery
    (rechargeable if possible) and there’s your
    hand-crafted cuckoo clock!

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