Cartonnage Fabric Clock made repurposing a tortilla warmer - Colorway Arts

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Cartonnage Fabric Clock made repurposing a tortilla warmer

The JOY is one more time in the making...... how amazing to find the perfect project for that special fabric you love or even, in my case, for that tortilla warmer that caught my attention when shopping on Walmart. I loved the design and the colors, but...I don't use tortilla I knew something was coming! It was a matter of time (in this case a little time) until I got the idea of creating this amazing Fabric clock! How fun!!


Welcome to my blog and to the JOY of Cartonnage - the amazing art of creating unique fabric boxes and a variety of other projects using cardboard, fabric and glue! 

So fun and a great way of using those favorite fabrics that you love so much but still didn't find something unique to make with them.

I'm Claudia Squio, cartonnage designer and teacher from ColorWay Arts, and I have been making and teaching cartonnage for almost a decade now! What a wonderful journey! I'm also the author of the book "Cartonnage Basics & Beyond - the complete guide for fabric box making". 

In this post, I'm not making a box (as usual), and it's also not a complete tutorial, as I didn't planned before. This project just happened in the last days! I was buying some plastic boxes on Walmart last week, saw this unique design on a tortilla warmer, bought it, destroyed and made the clock! Simple like that. And it was SO fun that I couldn't keep just for myself, I have to share!

My original idea was to stitch some beads on the design, but as I didn't have patience (and time for that!), I remembered that I had a crystal hot-fix tool at home, so I added some to the design to make it even more unique, and for sure I could have added more, or stitched something or... you name it! We do have a lot of creative ways of crafting didn't we?

Ok, before I go even further, this clock could be done with ANY fabric you have, or want, or even with your piece of art, your quilt, your embroidery... possibilities are endless and I will give you more ideas at the end of this post. Let me now start sharing a bit of the process!

First, about materials. Very simple! In my case I repurposed a tortilla warmer I bought at my local Walmart. But you can start from any fabric you love, or creating one art for that. Plus you will need coordinating fabrics, our loved Elmer's Glue All, and the chipboard (100 pts) pieces - we do have some Frames DIY kits available that can be used for this project, in this clock I used the small size frame. But, of course, you can make this any size you want!

Ok, then,  here we go:

1) Removing the fabric from the tortilla warmer - if you are using any other fabric or your arts, it will be easier right? (Can't wait to see your frames/clocks, always great inspiration)

2 and 3) I wanted to add some special touches to the fabric. My first idea was stitching some beads.... so to give this fabric some sturdiness I ironed a fusible fabric on the back of the design (this design wasn't cotton - it was a thin polyester). But, quick enough I realized that stitching beads would be beautiful, but it would take forever for my lack of stitching skills (LOL....), so, I gave up and decided to fix crystals instead (the hotfix type), and oh my.... it was so much fun, and I could have added way more because I did enjoy the process. I know I will add more crystals and rhinestones to my future cartonnage boxes and covers, how unique, fun and simple to do.

As I ended up not stitching, adding that layer of fabric on the back wasn't really necessary, I could have simple glued a layer of construction paper for example (either with glue if work, or using some kind of fusible)

4) Then, once I was done with adding the embellishments, I marked the center of the design, on the back of it. 

5) Found the center of the chipboard piece that was the base of the clock and made a hole big enough to pass the clock mechanism I had. Then, applied glue to the entire surface of the chipboard piece.

6) The chipboard base was then glued on the back of the fabric design, aligning the center mark I made on step 4 with the hole on the chipboard - easy!

7) After the fabric design was well attached to the chipboard, then I trimmed all the fabric around, so at the end I just had the square.

8) Then was time to glue the coordinating fabric on the back of this. First, the fabric was cut 3/4" bigger all around, then glue added to the chipboard and glued on the wrong side of the fabric, centering it.


9) Once the fabric was glued to the back of the piece, was time to trim the fabric around leaving no more than 3/4" around. I used our 2 in 1 corner miter tool for that. Also the fabric in all corners were mitered with the same tool. 

Check our tool section of the shop to find this tool and also take a look at the rest of the shop, we have so many great supplies, tools, kits and fabrics. 

10) After that, it was time to glue all the fabric around, having great corners. This is the basic process in all of our cartonnage projects and it's the "secret" of our wonderful finishing. So, check the videos in our website for more details on that.

 Now the clock base was done, so it was time to cover the frame chipboard piece. The outside size of this frame is exactly same size as the base, but the width of the frame is certainly up to you - just make sure the clock mechanism will fit inside!

11) I cut the fabric about 1/2" bigger than the frame, glued and then finished using our cartonnage method. 

Our Frames DIY kits comes with color picture instructions for more details, my book also shows details of making frames and  we do have an online course focused in making frames of any sizes (with double or single frames) and with a lot of art inspiration - check our online course here.

12) Then the frame was glued on top of the base, all aligned and I kept with a heavy book on top for several hours to allow this to complete dry.

As I said, I didn't took pictures planning to write this post, so now I'm missing some final pictures of the process, but I believe it's all right. From now on, last steps, I opened the hole on the center with scissors (yes, I could feel where was the hole previously made on the chipboard), and then added the clock and numbers according to the supplier instructions, what is easy and may vary depending on the brand. 


And then, it's ready to go on the wall and smiling every time you see it and remember how fun it was making and how proud you are of yourself!Wait to receive the compliments from family and guests because this is the sort of thing that... it's not bought on stores, it was made by you - and I know you get it and know the feeling I'm talking about.

I hope you enjoyed reading and it's excited to look at your fabrics (or even tortilla warmers) with different eyes now! And if you liked the process, take a look at our website, YouTube channel, there are so many tutorials, DIY kits, ideas and inspiration.

Plus, if you are reading this in September and October 2023, we have a "Cartonnage Framed Arts contest" going on, with great $$ prizes and a lot of fun, so click here to know more about the contest- deadline to submit your framed arts is October 13.

And another great opportunity for you if you enjoy the process, is joining our Cartonnage Club! We are a great community of fabric/cartonnage lovers having tons of fun gluing fabric and creating amazing fabric boxes, covers, books and much more. Click here for more info about the club- it's a membership program that you can stay for as long as you want. 

Thank you so much for reading, and if you make the Clock or any other cartonnage project and want to share pictures with us (or have any questions), our Facebook Group Cartonnage Fabric boxes is a great place to do that!

Have tons of fun gluing fabric and I hope to see you around,

Oh, and if you think your friends will like this post, please share with them, let's spread the JOY around!

Much love,





4 Responses

Karen Kellelr

May 01, 2024

I just finished the sliding lid box, great project, and I hope to make more of them because they are so adorable. I was checking out the new site and found the blog post on your clock , how fun to make such a unique piece for my own happy place, my craft room. I have been inspired for sure. .Can’t wait for the new addition to my craft room. Claudia we just continue to inspire new projects thanks to your encouragement. Thank you for taking us on this journey together.


September 20, 2023

I designed two clocks frames for possible submission to the framed art contest. One is almost completed (I’ve been tinkering with it for a month!), and I can’t wait to share the photo with you. They both are very different than yours, but I love what you did! Your clock is so fun and I loved hearing about your fabric discovery! Thanks for your inspiration!
Colorway Arts replied:
Looking forward to see them Debie! I know they are amazing!! Glad to hear from you!Sent from my iPhone

Patti Neavin

September 15, 2023

Claudia that’s so beautiful! What size are the numbers and did you get them on Amazon?
Colorway Arts replied:
Numbers are about 1”, yes, I got on Amazon, I can share link later. Lots of fun!Sent from my iPhone


September 15, 2023


You are so clever! These clocks would make perfect gifts.

You would be fun to show with in an old-fashion hardware store. Hmmmm… what could I use this thingamajig for?

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