Brighton born and bred Charis Williams (The Salvage Sister) is a designer and TV presenter who has featured on Channel 4’s Fill Your House for Free and UKTV Home’s The New Reclaimers.

She says: “I see myself as an ambassador for reuse. I want to change people’s wasteful behaviour and our throw-away culture. I want to show people they can have a beautiful and unique interior on a budget and I want to show them how they can do it themselves & save the environment just by making a few simple changes.”

Here, Charis talks through making a piano key clock.

It’s as simple as finding an unwanted, and hopefully damaged or unplayable piano (I’d hate you to smash up one that can be played!) and removing the keys.


You need to decide how large you want your wall clock to be as this will govern how much you chop off the keys. You might want yours longer or shorter than mine – it all depends on the wall space you have, clock inner you are using and the size of the room. So once you know what length you want – chop ‘em down!

I used my table mounted circular saw – or chop saw to cut them to the required length, you could use a handsaw if you don’t have one. I then took my level, a length of string, a piece of chalk and a drawing pin. With my level and the chalk I drew a horizontal line where the middle of the clock would sit, and did the same with a vertical line – where the two lines cross is the centre of my clock. I used the string, chalk and pin to create a large makeshift compass.

Drawing these lines inks in chalk means they wipe off easily afterwards, yet they make it so much easier to get the keys in the correct position. I used instant grab adhesive to attach the keys to the wall – which means they won’t come off easily, so you really don’t want to bodge this up!!

The clock inner I have used here is actually my old kitchen wall clock, I have one I’ve made out of an old 1950′s hubcap now so it was demoted to the junk pile – I knew it wouldn’t be sitting there long! I simply took the clock apart and cut the thin metal sheet the hands sit on into a much smaller circle which suited the size of my piano key wall clock. The mechanism is simply pinned to the wall, meaning it will lift off easily for access to the battery compartment.

Once you’re happy and the hands are set, get a wet cloth and gently wipe away the chalk marks.

Hey presto! Simple, yet so effective!

Feeling inspired? Check out and see if you can find and old or used piano to have for free or to buy for your project!


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