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Under-the-Sea Collage: Transforming an Old Wall Clock into a Nautical Masterpiece

Inside: A fun under-the-sea collage project which includes free sea life clip art in the Public Domain

Ever looked at an old, round wall clock and thought, “I could turn this into a beautiful porthole into the deep blue sea? “Well, maybe not, but after today’s project, you might start seeing potential in the most surprising places!

As you might already know, I have a trove of vintage sea life images over at All are in the Public Domain and accessible to anyone. And I’ve been itching to find a way to bring these beautiful illustrations to life.

After rummaging and creatively pondering, a battered old wall clock caught my eye. And voila, a nautical idea was born with this fabulous under-the-sea collage.

This Seascape Collage project is perfect for those who love unique DIY crafts and have a soft spot for vintage aesthetics. It will appeal to ocean enthusiasts, upcycling crafters, and anyone wanting to add a touch of nautical charm to their home or vacation retreat.

I found the perfect place for this ocean collage artwork in my family bathroom. I used to have a vintage octopus print on the wall but now have a hole portal of ocean wonders to view whilst sitting in the bath!

Choosing The Vintage Sea Life Images

This site has many fantastic vintage sea life images in the Public Domain; I can use for the collage, from the artistic Haeckel Jellyfish to Mawe’s conchology prints. But I focused on fish, seaweed and some coral.

The fish were from Louis Renard’s beautiful fish paintings. The seaweed from this collection of British seaweed prints and a touch of coral from these coral illustrations of the barrier reef.

All were printed onto watercolour paper using my home inkjet printer. I’ve provided the sea life clip art I used for my collage here. But you might want to choose your aquatic images.

Seaweed & Coral Clip Art

Seaweed & Coral clip art

The Fish Clip Art

You can find a whole rainbow of fish clip art to choose from in this fish display post. And they are all free from Louis Renard’s fish paintings and free to download.

Printed rainbow fish pictures on watercolor paper

Making The Under The Sea Collage

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What you need

Wall clock before upcycling

Upcycling The Wall Clock

Step 1: The wall clock was the perfect shape and depth for a replica porthole. I unscrewed the clock and removed the hands, clock mechanism and glass.

Step 2: I spray-painted the clock’s frame with copper-chrome paint. This was to give it a metallic nautical feel.

Spraying the clock frame copper.

Step 3: Cut a piece of watercolour paper to fit the face of the clock. Using watercolour paints, paint a blue sea background with a sandy sea bed. This was stuck to the clock face with a spray mount.

sticking background face down.

Constructing The Seascape Collage

Step 4: Decide on what sea life images you want to use and print them onto watercolour paper. Then using a paper craft knife and mat, cut them out.

Cutting out the sea life images for an under the sea collage.

Step 5: Once you have cut out all your sea life images, play with the layout before sticking them to the background.

sea life images cut out for an under the sea collage
Under the sea collage layout

Step 6: Use double-sided sticky pads to stick the images down. This will give the under-the-sea collage a 3D effect.

using double sided sticky pads

Step 7: Once the collage is complete, put the glass back onto the front of the upcycled clock and hang the porthole collage.

Under the sea collage porthole
Under the sea collage porthole

If you didn’t want to make a collage, you could print and frame one of the beautiful under-the-water seascapes included in this Adolphe Millot sealife posters collection.

Other Ideas

This clock could also be used as a unique round shadow box frame.

If you want other ideas on crafting and displaying vintage images on Pictureboxblue, check out the ones in the Craft & DIYs section. You’ll find more summer craft ideas here.

With the vintage natural history images, you can create a butterfly wall decoration, a parrot cloche display, or a Fish IKEA floor lamp.

With the other vintage images on the site, you can make a circus diorama or use them to make funky decoupage placemats and unique tile coasters.

under the sea porthole

Cara ~ Vintage Style Gal

Monday 19th of June 2023

What a cute idea Claire! I have a nautical project that I will be sharing soon using an odd piece too! Love the idea of a clock turned seaside... so clever!


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Thank you, it was fun to upcycle the clock and I love seascapes.


Thursday 15th of June 2023

This is such a fun project, a great way to use some of your lovely public domain printables. It reminds me of the mirror my grandparents had above their fireplace, one of those brass 'porthole' effect convex mirrors that were popular back in the 40's or 50's I guess.


Friday 16th of June 2023

Thank you, yes I think my Granny had one of those mirrors, and I've seen updates on the designs.