Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Turn Your Jejune Video Junkers into a Video-Centric Timepiece! Clickity-click for Some Serious VHS Vindication of a Different Kind from Resourceful Videovore Doug Deleted!

It happens to all us Videovores: through years of fervent VHS collecting, you’re bound to gather up some not-so-desirable tapes. Perhaps it’s from buying a particular lot for the sake of one ultra-rare tape among the chaff, or inheriting a stack of old Disney tapes from a friend that’s ecstatic about bequeathing them unto you (and you just can’t say no), or it’s those inevitably dismal commons from that box o’ tapes you picked up from the side of the road, ‘cause who would leave tapes on the side of the road?! No matter how much discretion VHS collectors endeavor to employ, we’ve all got some junkers in our collection. It’s almost like some sort of rite of passage that must be met to become fully enveloped in the analog embrace. So, what to do with these truly terrible beyond redemption slabs of video vapidity? Well, there’s always the nifty photo frame / storage route or the chic’ video clutch… and that's pretty neat. And even if you’re too old (or too cold) to construct your very own ACTION FIGURE CASTLE, there’s still hope for your jejune junkers, and it comes in the form of some most non-heinous home décor, man! Read on, and let your fellow Videovore Doug Deleted show YOU how to turn those VHSharts into VHS art! But first, let’s hear how this tape-centric timepiece came to be…

Once He put on the black face mask, it all became clear. In that instant, Doug knew joining Cobra was the right thing to do. COOOBRAAAAAAA!

How'd you think this up? Where'd the inspiration come from? It tends to bit of a blur, but for some unknown reason I had this VHS junker tape lying around my room for a very long time. It got to the point where you stop noticing it and then eventually one day you look down at it and say “where the hell did this come from and why is it here?” I did not want to just throw this out, and I had a creative vibe running through me. I knew I wanted to do something to this tape but I had no idea what. I was really thinking on just spray painting it some crazy colors at first. Somehow the thought to turn this into a clock came through. I think it might have come from looking at the tape and wanting to modify or spruce up the sticker area and thinking what could I do to this. I might have then seen something online or TV that connected the thought of a clock and VHS tape. The lighting inspiration came from this super old 1970’s electronic flip clock radio my grandmother used to have. Everyone had these types of clock radios back then with the usual fake oak colored panels on it. In between the flip numbers and the radio section it had this cool orange-ish LCD light design that slowly faded in and out and formed a flower opening or more so a fireworks type of look. I used to watch that thing for hours; it was totally hypnotic. I wanted to create a retro tribute to that clock and then went looking on how I could get my VHS tape design lit up to emulate that look. What's the most difficult part of doing this? It was probably learning on proper wiring and voltage for the lights. Back in my younger years, if you wanted lights (like lighting up the G.I. Joe Headquarters for example) you just took the light and wires from some other toy (like Stompers or a Tyco race car or Robot ), hooked it into a (usually) AA battery and that was it. You did not pay attention to voltage or any of that stuff. Nowadays I see these bootleg toy robots at the dollar stores all powered with LED lights and a watch battery, so I knew then what form I wanted and then went about learning it. How long did it take to complete it? Really not too long at all. Once you have everything together and get to work on it, you can probably have it up and running in less than an hour. Important info to the reader: each section has pictures that go with it. I noted them as such. What you need to keep in mind is that some of the pictures are not in number order. So Step 1 picture B might actually come before Step 1 picture A. When reading I tell you what picture you can use for visual reference. Likewise, I have text on most of the pictures describing whatever action it refers to in the guide.

Here's all the stuff you'll need, mang. Nachos, brew doggies and groovy gummies not pictured.

Part 1: Making the LCD VHS Clock Step 0: Gather materials! What you’ll need are a VHS tape you do not care about (which may be blasphemy for some of you), and the Jumbo LCD clock (see picture Step 0). This clock can be bought at AutoZone and it only runs about $6.00. It is actually called “Jumbo LCD” to aid you in shopping. The clock is just about the right length and depth to fit inside the “sticker label” area on the top of a VHS tape. TIP: You want to make sure the tape used was sort of in the middle of the feature, this way each tape reel has about half, otherwise it screws with the placement of the mods. For tools, you will need a screwdriver to unscrew the tape. A sharpie marker (or something akin) to trace out the clock on top of the tape, something to cut out that traced section of the tape cover (a Dremel tool be great for this, but I had to kick it old school by heating up a razor blade on my stove to “burn” through it) and finally (optional) some sand paper to smooth out the removed section of the tape. Remember, man: SAFETY FIRST! As a note to the reader, the pictures to accompany Steps 1 through 3 are labeled as “Steps 1-3 with pics A, B, C, D and E”. I took these photos way before typing up the guide, so the photos that go with this section all kind of spread across the 3 steps needed to make it.

Pretty simple, right, Tapeheads? Just don't spill any liquid cheese on anything. That be a waste, mang! But if you do, wash it off with some brew. Works every time.

Step 1: Basically, you take the clock and put it on the top of your VHS tape cover over the sticker area. Now using something like a sharpie, trace an outline of the clock on top of the tape. The clock itself is a bit of an oval shape. Step 2. Unscrew and remove the top half of the VHS cover so you can work with it alone. Step 3: Now, cut out your traced section with whatever tool(s) you desire. As mentioned, I was using a hot razor blade I had to keep re-heating on the stove. Eventually, after a few attempts of heating (and sanding with the sand paper), the clock will fit into place. You want to be able to take the clock out if need be since at some point you will have to replace the clock battery. You also do not want it to be super smooth, in my case the clock fits but still has a “pop” in place to it and this keeps it nicely snug inside the cover without worry of it falling out. Step 4: Here is what I did not expect—I was still able to put the VHS tape back together and have the clock still in place. The clock only sticks out roughly .05 of a meter which is next to nothing. (see picture Step 4 below!)

Damn, mang. It looks like it BELONGS in there. Why weren't these mass produced in the late 80s / early 90s? AutoZone, you done messed up.

THAT’S IT!! Enjoy your VHS Clock!! DIG IT!!

GROOVY SIDE NOTE: If you want the clock to sort of have a tilt, you can always go to a Michael’s store and purchase a small holder that would usually go on the back of a picture frame you might have on your desk table. You can drill or glue that to the back of the VHS tape and now your clock can be displayed with a tilt.

And now, Arts and Crafts inclined Tapeheads, it's time for the souped up OPTIONAL STEP:

Lighting this sucker with some LED lights!

Make sure you got some scotch tape AT ALL TIMES. It works wonders for VHS repairs. If you need to fix a broken magnetic strip of movie, scotch is the answer. Erm, scotch TAPE. TAPE.

Step 5: I wanted to further enhance the clock and give it some optional lighting. If you are into modeling (like toy railroads, etc.) you will probably already be familiar with this. If not, you basically want to get some LED lights and have them connect to a single watch battery as a watch battery will fit inside the case quite easily (a Double A or 9 volt battery are too big to keep inside a VHS tape!). You would also want an on/off switch so your lights don’t stay on for hours and therefore kill the battery faster. First, I strongly recommend that if you are going to add lights, you should cut the magnetic tape that connects across the reels. It was incredibly frustrating to try and position the lights on the inside while making sure the black tape did not get too much “slag” at the top (you know the part where the VCR would feed the tape from? Yeah.). I cut the tape, and used scotch tape to secure them to the rest of the feed on the respective reel. Now each reel can be moved however you wish; it still has actual tape on them and it won’t drive you insane… like my writing for this guide! If you took the tip from the beginning of this tutorial, you reels should be pretty even on each side… (Oh, and see the picture for Step 5!).

Look intimidating? Don't worry. Gobble down some gummy worms. That always makes things better. READ ON!

Step 6: Materials Needed! (see picture Step 6 Above!)
  1. A 3V (volt) battery holder/switch (this is also known as a “coin cell holder”). Some of these holders do come with an on/off switch already connected. Ifnot, then you would need an on/off switch to wire in.
2. A single Cr2032 watch battery (a 5 pack of these usually goes for $2-3.00) 3. LED lights rated for 3 volt. The light sizes vary but I used the 3mm size LED, and you can see in the pics that size works well. 4. Optional, but some shrink tube to seal off your wired connections. Depending on how many lights you get, you are looking at spending between $6-18.00 total for everything, which isn’t that bad! Using the combination with a single Cr2032 battery, you can hook up to 10 3v LED lights and that will last about 8 hours (of constant use) before you need to replace the battery. In my case I used 5 LED lights so the battery life is longer. It also helps that I have an on/off switch. Radioshack sells all of this stuff. However, if you want to make this super-easy please order from the website that I also bought my materials from: Once on the site, do a search for “3v coin cell holder”. The first option that comes up is the holder with the on/off switch already wired up. That is the one you want. Once you get to that page, on the right it also gives you links as to what type of LED lights you can use with this. It makes everything simple and is all laid out for you My guide is going to be based off of this.


Step 7: (see pictures Step7 A and B above) Whenever you get the materials needed, it’s time to wire things up. All you really need to do is match the wires—so from the battery holder keep the red wires with red wires and black with black (if they are red/green wires then red with red and black with green). You also want to take note of the watch battery as + or – is on each side. Likewise, the battery holder is labeled so you know how to properly put in the battery (+ with + and – with – ). As mentioned, take whatever LED lights, match the color of the wires and then twist them together with the same colored wire from the battery holder. Push the white on/off switch to make sure everything works and that should be all you need to do with your LED lights in terms of wiring them up. Once you know everything works, un-twist all the wires, put on one piece of shrink tube for both the red and black connections. Then re-wire up everything. Now slide the shrink tube over the wire connections. Take a lighter and with the flame tip move it across the shrink tube. This will “shrink” the black tube and completely cover your exposed/twisted wire connections (of course something like duct or electrical tape will work fine, also). The placement of this stuff is going to work as follows (BUT DO NOT PLACE IT YET). The main bulk of the wires and battery fit nicely inside the actual white tape reels (right behind where the LCD clock rests) and the LED lights and wires themselves travel along the outer edges of the tape and reels. The on/off switch fits right above the battery in the circular hole that for whatever reason was designed into the VHS tape case (see picture Step 8 E below)

If you've made it this far, man, you best keep going. And, refill your plate of nachos, 'cause I'm sure they is history by now. What?! You STILL don't have nachos. Go get some. RIGHT NOW.

Step 8: (See pictures Step 8 A, B, C, D, and E). Once done, it is now time to place them however you wish in your tape. Unscrew the VHS tape and remove the top cover. But first we need to do one minor modification to the tape case itself. Remove the two white reels with the actual tape and cut and fix them as mentioned in the start of this guide (step 5). Now, we have to slightly alter the bottom half of the VHS tape cover.

Lookin' GOOD.

The on/off switch fits nicely in the “hole” design that is right in-between (but at the top) of where both tape reels go in the bottom half of the VHS Case (see picture Step 8 C). In fact, it pushes right down perfectly into this hole. However the part from the top half of the tape case is too “high” and will not let you fully put the tape back together (since the on/off switch is now in the middle of these two connections (it kind of crunches the switch). So take a tool (in my case a razor) and cut that section down (see pictures Step 8 A+B). Now the on/off switch still fits into place and you can fully close the entire VHS tape case when done. I would also recommend gluing a piece of crumbled card board or even a piece of plastic ON TOP of the placed on/off switch (see picture Step 8 D). This way when you fully put the VHS tape back together and you want to turn on the lights, the switch will not get pushed back into the tape case because the cardboard (or whatever object you have on top of it) is pushing against the top half of the case and keeping it in place. Though the switch fits perfectly (and snugly) in the hole designed on the bottom of the VHS case cover, if you push it from the other end it may pop back into the case. Keeping some object on top of the switch that is pushing against the top cover of the VHS case prevents that.

Okay, keep on truckin' Tapeheads. You're gettin' REEL close. Uh-huh. See what I did there. Yep.

Step 9: (see pictures Step 9 A and B above) When the mod work is done, you put the tape reels back in place and if you have the lighting system already in the case because of the on/off switch, just work the wires and battery to fit in between the reels. If the wires are too long, bunch them together and use a piece of scotch tape to keep them bundled. Now you take the lights and work them where you want them to go. I found that attaching them to the top section of the white reels (the clear part) with scotch tape or even hot glue works well. I also made sure to keep them along the outer edge of the tape reel so a minimum of LED light and wire will be seen (see my pics). Once done put on your cover and test it out. In my case I had a 5th light in the middle. I drilled a tiny hole right above the LCD clock and put this light in there. For my layout I had two lights along the top, two along the bottom and one in the middle (which you can see in picture Step 9 B).

IT'S ALIVE!! ALIVE!!! Damn it, this thing RULES!!

Step 10: (see pictures Step 10) Once everything is done-99% of the LED light work remains hidden behind the LCD clock; and since you are ran the wires along the edge of the tape reels, they are rarely seen. Now dim the lights and enjoy your lighted VHS clock!!


And feel free to curse me later for making something rather simple overly complicated with this guide! Cheers and Enjoy!!! -- Doug

Oh, and I don't think they'll be cursing you, man! They'll be hi-fivin' you ALL DAY for this super-rad analog creation! Thanks to Doug for bringing copious creativity and making one of the grooviest VHS crafts out there. Doug, WE SALUTE YOU!

Groove and Groove and Make Cool Stuff.

Interview with Doug Deleted / Additional Copy by Josh Schafer

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