Making a Clock Face on a Cheese Box and a Roman Numeral Mystery

6:56:00 AM

The wooden cheese box was cool as it was but when I began painting I discovered a mystery. 

half a cheese box with Roman Numerals
I painted the the cheese box with white chalky paint then decided to replicate the clock face that hangs on my living room wall. 

painting a cheese box white

To find the perfect places to draw in the numerals I used a little trick.

sharpie, butcher paper, and a ruler to create the clock face on a cheese box
I traced the top of the cheese box onto a large piece of butcher paper and cut it out. I folded the circle into sixths then laid it back on the top. I marked each fold and voila ended up with the places for perfectly spaced numbers. 

When I went into my living room to draw the clock face from the one on the wall I noticed something very strange for the very first time ever... do you see it? 

Roman numeral clock face mantel
This clock has been hanging there for a couple of years now and this is the first time I noticed... the Roman numeral 4... is usually written IV. Isn't it? 

I researched to see if there was a reason for this or if it was just a mistake on my clock and that is why it was only $40... Hmmm.

neutral farmhouse living room

There wasn't much written about it but what I did learn was that this is often done for aesthetic reasons. The lower left of the clock is heavy with the VII and the VIII so occasionally they do this to balance off the other side. It seems it is done for symmetrical reasons.... or at least that is what I've read. 

It could be just a big mistake and someone is trying to cover it up. LOL

Whatever the reason I don't want to look like I made a mistake and have to sell this cheese box for less so I'm making the 4 with an IV like I was taught in school. 

Drawing roman numerals for a clock face

I drew my numbers free hand with a Sharpie paint stick. I used a 2" mark so all the numbers would end up the same height.

I painted in the numerals then painted minute dots along the outline of the circle where the box wasn't too distressed. 

Now the center really needed something so I used my very favorite Milk and Cream stencil from Vintage Sign Stencils. Go check out the amazing stencils from Angie at Knick of Time. 

stenciling a milk and cream stencil on a cheese box

I used grey chalky paint and when it dried I used a palm sander to further distress the top of the box. 

farmhouse cheese box with roman numeral clock face

How cute did this box turned out?!!

distressed clock face on a vintage cheese box

And FYI when I checked the other clock in my kitchen with Roman Numerals the 4 was also IIII.... 

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  1. How cute this turned out Susan! That is weird about the way the number 4 was written on your clock. I've never seen it written that way. Pinned!

    1. Thanks Angie! Funny thing, I love clocks and they're all over my house, several of them have this same problem with the 4. Must be a thing :)

  2. Cute clock. I never would have noticed the 4 had you not mentioned it.
    Great job doing those numbers free hand. I am looking for a stencil for a large clock. (I cute stencils, just do not want to mess with this one). =)


    1. It isn't too hard to free hand it Barbara Jean... give it a try if you don't find a stencil. Good Luck!

  3. Hi again. I have been all over the web looking for huge clock face stencils. The 4s were both ways all over the place. No right or wrong I guess.

    1. I know Barbara Jean... it must be a "thing" and we just don't know it... LOL


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