‘Oh Christmas Tree’ Altered Clock

Hello and thank you for visiting. A few members from the Tim Holtz Addicts group on Facebook (not a member, be sure to join) requested a tutorial of the clocks I have been creating. So here we go …

oh christmas tree (8)

Supplies for distressing the Tim Holtz Idea-ology Clock. I picked my clock up from Joann’s.

oh christmas tree (9)

Randomly apply Golden heavy gel medium with Dina Wakley media brush. I like the heavy gel medium because it shows the brush strokes, it’s also why I like this brush. The bristles are really firm and leave some great texture. You could use any gel medium or THD (Tim Holtz Distress) collage medium. The reason for this layer is to make all the next layers adhere. Acrylic paint will stick to the metal but can sometimes chip. This isn’t a required step. Set aside to dry. If you prefer to view the process for altering the clock, I have a few video tutorials showing how. Just the clock can be viewed here.

oh christmas tree (10)

While that is drying I cut all my die cut pieces out of cold press 140 lb watercolor cardstock.

oh christmas tree (11)

with the exception of the panels for the retro car. I had a scrap piece of THD woodgrain cardstock that had already been inked up. The TH Sizzix Sidekick works awesome for all the small pieces.



I cut the greenery pieces using the Vagabond. Once dies are used with the precision plate, they will not work without it. I have found that using deli paper helps remove the paper from the die. I also find that the sponge pad and bristle brush from Sizzix is really helpful for removing the pieces.

oh christmas tree (14)

I like to cut a couple of the greenery pieces. I chose only the pine looking branches and the berry twigs. I was having a bit of difficulty with the berry branch so I ended up cutting some using a David Tutera die I got from Michaels.

oh christmas tree (15)

gel medium layer is now dry. again in random motion with brush apply THD tarnished brass both on the outside and inside of clock. Don’t go too heavy with this layer, you are just looking for light coverage. So light that it dries almost instantly.

oh christmas tree (16)

See how light, you can still see the silver peeking through. I then applied THD crackle with a palette knife. This could also be done with your finger or the media brush. I just like the randomness and thickness that the palette knife provides. Set aside to dry ~ Do not use heat tool to rush this process, crackle works best when it dries naturally.

oh christmas tree (17)

for the furthest background I used the text sheet from the TH dapper pad. I have made a template for the back cover which is a 4 3/4″ diameter circle.

oh christmas tree (18)

I also die cut the largest circle from the nestled TH Sizzix thinlits. it fits perfectly for the smaller inner circle part of the clock.


oh christmas tree (19)_LI

1~ used die from retro car set for top then cut the bottom off around the circle. 2~ I cut a curved line about halfway through the middle of the circle that was cut from the nestled die 3~ used the remainder from 2 and cut a less pronounced top line.


I then applied Ranger texture paste with a pallette knife and added Lindy’s purely white embossing powder. I also sprinkled just a tad of Stamping Up irridescent ice embossing powder. You can see how I did this @ approximately 4 minutes  in the video. let dry.

oh christmas tree (22)

Crackle is now dry and time to apply mint green paste. This is all I have left from the 3 jar set by Prima, unfortunately the other two  jars went hard after I opened them once.


when applying the paste, go pretty thick , random and avoid the crackle areas. I focused mainly on the top parts where there would be more water/rain/erosion for a realistic look. I even like to use my finger to go real thin in areas. let dry.


to color car, I went direct THD festive berries ink pad onto car and then spritzed with water. Assemble car with glossy accents. The windows (sorry I forgot to mention) is acetate but any clear packaging will work. I also have misplaced the bumper die that goes with this set so I used silver embossing powder. A silver pen would have worked, also.

oh christmas tree (27)

Now to start coloring the greenery. the video shows how I do this best, see it here ……..


but basically I go direct ink pad to both sides of paper and then spritz with mister of water. Mister (I use a recycled distress spray bottle) works best because at this time you don’t want droplets, you want a mist so the ink can distribute around the paper. I will mop up ink that is on my craft sheet with different pieces of greenery. I try to keep like branches in the same tone of colors.


optional step but after I dry branches with heat gun I use the branch stamp from TH SA ‘Letter to Santa’ (anything with fine lines would work) and ground espresso archival ink randomly on the pieces. it adds depth and shadows that would naturally happen with needles. I also colored the berry tips with THD marker in barn door. I then add dimensional red craft paint.

oh christmas tree (33)

the paste should be dry now and I now add alcohol ink in patina on the crackle areas. this works great because it goes right into all the cracks and really highlights that they are there. don’t worry if too much comes out, just use your finger and rub it around.

oh christmas tree (32)

randomly apply broken china now, i like to water it down a little bit too so you can see the brass color showing through. if you add too much you can wipe off with a paper towel. Sorry this picture was taken at the same time as above so you don’t see the alcohol ink in the cracks. I needed to do this so I could video tape 😉 multitasking, lol.


while the broken china layer is drying, the texture paste is dry so I can now use my heat gun to melt the embossing powder. i love this effect for snow.


pull out the green inks again. I like to mainly use regular distress inks due to the transparency, oxides are opaque and would cover up the snow. I like to use a craft paint brush to apply the ink for more control.

oh christmas tree (38)

I also like to add shadows under the bigger piles of texture paste for depth. I used some brushed pewter mica spray and then watered down THD paint hickory smoke.

oh christmas tree (39)_LI

glue all three pieces of layer 1 together, lining them up…. glue the three trees to layer 2….. glue bottle brush tree to top of car then glue that to layer 3.

oh christmas tree (41)_LI

cut strips of card stock about 1/2″ thick and glue to back of layer 2 & 3. we will be gluing these to the inside of the clock to help keep them in place.

oh christmas tree (42)

glue layer 3 in first making sure you like the position. for me this was right in front of the screws. I apologize for the remaining pictures, it was dark out now and I wanted to keep going to finish this project up.

oh christmas tree (43)

do the same with layer 2, cutting off any excess you may have off of the cardstock strips.

oh christmas tree (44)

looking pretty good 😉

oh christmas tree (45)

add your glitter, sparkles, beads or whatever else you will be using. Actually this step is optional depending on gaps you may or may not have with the layers. I still like to add a bit a sparkle and used FloralCraft Diamond Dust. I like this for shakers because it’s cheap, bigger flakes and it can be dyed for different projects. close using layer 1, be sure it kinda snaps into place.

oh christmas tree (46)

final step for the outside of clock is to use tarnished brass with finger and softly rub onto grit, crackle and other areas that need to be toned down.

oh christmas tree (47)

I used my finger and applied tarnished brass to a metallic strip and flicked with water. once it was almost dry, i used a paper towel and blotted off the water. Used remnant rub, cut down strip and glued to front of clock.

oh christmas tree (48)

trim excess off of strip and then start adding the branches


this can be a bit fiddly. I like to start with the larger pieces and have the berries in the middle. hot glue gun works best for me due to them staying in place immediately. You also don’t have to worry about the hot glue not sticking to metal because we put gel medium down so there is tooth for the glue to stick. once you get the greenery how you like it add bells or whatever you may have to the center to cover up glue. I use THD collage medium for the bells, metal sticks to it and it is flexible when dry.

All done 🙂 here are some close ups …..

oh christmas tree (4)oh christmas tree (3)oh christmas tree (2)oh christmas tree (1)oh christmas tree (5)oh christmas tree (7)oh christmas tree (6)

thank you so much for viewing and making it through this loooong tutorial.

as always, I appreciate any comments you have and be sure to ask if you have any questions.

Videos available for this project:

Just the altering of the clock … here

Just the scene and greenery … here

Entire process (not broken up) … here


  1. Wow that is a fantastic outcome. I wouldnt have thought to ude some of those products. Our HL has limited supply of Tim Holtz. I really think you did an awesome job.


  2. Bravo, Wendy! What a fabulous tutorial with a stunning outcome! That clock looks like it’s been sitting around in someone’s attic for 100 years; the patina is spot on! And your little layered scene within is so sweet and brings back memories! Your greenery cluster is gorgeous and festive with the jingle bells. Pinning this for future use. I usually make a clock for Christmas, but didn’t this year. This one has inspired me to give it a go next year. Thank you for your hard work! Hugs!


  3. What a great project! And thanks so much for the detailed tutorial – I know that was a lot of work. The weathered look you gave the exterior is amazing. So great.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s