A while back I was looking for some colorful clock hands for a project but didn't have much luck finding any online so I decided to make my own... here's a easy way to make custom laser cut clock hands for your next time keeping project!
Note: These hands use Ponoko's 1mm PETG; I have found this plastic has the right amount of stiffness as well as being inexpensive, currently $1.86 for a P1 at the US hub.
Step 1 Measure: Measure your clock movement to determine how big of a hole is needed in the hour hand as well as the minute hand. In my case the hour hand needed a 5mm hole. I made the laser cut holes smaller (4.7mm) as it's always easier to enlarge the hole later if they're too tight. You'll also find they fit easier one direction due to the laser kerf, do a test fitting before painting.
Step 2 Design: With the proper measurements get to designing your new hands, if you already have the clock it doesn't hurt to print out some 1:1 versions and lay them on the clock face to see how they look visually. I found some hands I initially made looked better in illustrator than they did on a actual clock face, some ended up too close to the edge of the clock face or simply looked unbalanced.
You can go modern and clean or look back in clock history for some larger ornate hands. Although the PETG is thicker than most metal stamped hands the materials light weight allows you to make similar sized hands without stressing out the clock movement. Take a look on flickr and google images for some handy ideas.
Step 3 Painting: This set of hands were sprayed on the face side with Rust-Oleum Metallic Finish Silver. The result was almost a hammered metallic look. I've been somewhat surprised that no crazing on the edges or surface has happened so far. I didn't have any on hand but you should also consider paints made for adhering to plastic like Krylon Fusion.
Depending on the paint being used you may have better results if you sand the surfaces lightly with 400 grit sand paper then clean and let dry before applying that first coat.
Multiple light coats, they should dry fairly quickly. On this pair I applied three coats.
This photo doesn't really show it but these hands are glossy. What I did was leave the protective plastic film on one side (the face) and sprayed a matte black onto the back side and the edges to a lesser degree (see above). Once the paint dried I removed the plastic film off the faces and was left with a pair of glossy black clock hands.
Here's a pair of of shiny gold hands for clock going into my kitchen, as you can see I used a small square glued over the hole in the minute hand to cover the second hand connection (wasn't using one). I sprayed gold metallic paint on both sides of the hands and sprayed the small square separately on one side before finally super gluing it on.
A closer look at the sliver hands. Although some dust specks got on the hands I tried to keep in mind how far people typically are from wall clocks :)
If you end up making a pair of your own I'd enjoy seeing how they turn out.