How to Make a Cup of Time

Teacup with clockwork mechanism inside

Teacup with clockwork mechanism insideWith a purchased clockwork mechanism, you can make a clock out of almost anything, but this is my favorite.


  • A melamine cup. Melamine foodware was mostly made during the 50s and 60s so you can often find cups at thrift or vintage stores. You can also find modern-day melamine cups in camping or baby stores due to the material’s light weight and resistance to breaking. Plates are good too but not as fun in my opinion.
  • A simple clockwork mechanism from a hobby store or online. These come in different diameters and lengths of stems. Choose a stem length that will go through the bottom of the cup from the back and about 1/4″ further.
  • A power drill with small and large drill bits. One of the large drill bits should be the same diameter as the clock mechanism stem.

Four easy steps:

  1. With the cup held firmly in place upside-down, drill a “pilot hole” with one of the small drill bits in the bottom center of the cup. Then use the drill bit that’s the same diameter as the clock mechanism stem for the final hole.
  2. Take the hands off the clock mechanism and screw the stem through the hole in the cup from the back. Screwing the stem through rather than pushing it will help it stay in place.
  3. Bend the hands to the approximate curvature of the inside of the cup.
  4. Put the hands back on the stem inside the cup and readjust the bends.

Voilà! You have time in a cup!