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How to Make a Paper Clock with Moving Hands

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How to make a paper clock with moving hands. This “clock” is more of an availability tracker that lets other people know if you’re available.

We’ve hosted an au pair for a couple of years now and the kids sometimes have trouble with boundaries. They LOVE seeing our au pairs and hanging out with them, but sometimes our au pair wants some alone time after work. In order to help my kids understand this better, I made this paper “clock” with moving hands for our au pair. It allows our au pair to push the spinner to indicate whether it’s okay for the kids to knock or not.

It’s been super helpful for our current au pair and it was EASY to make with my Cricut machine!

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Please read the whole post so you don’t miss any important information!

How to Make a Paper Clock with Moving Hands

If you’re looking to make a regular clock, you could simply cut the numbers out of Smart Sticker Cardstock! This particular clock is perfect to let roommates, other people in your college dorm, or family members know if you’re available or not. The four quadrants say “I’m busy,” “Please knock,” “I’m sleeping,” or “Not here.”


Use the Discount Code DIYDANIELLE on for 10% off any cutting machine or heatpress (no minimum). Excludes: materials/accessories/mystery boxes/etc. Applies to US/CA only, code expires 12/31/23.


Step 1: Use your Cricut Maker 3 to cut your cardstock and cut/write on your Smart Sticker Cardstock. You can use my Cricut cut file here. Resize if desired. I used black for my spinner, white for my large circle, and orange, green, blue, and red Smart Sticker Cardstock for the “pizza slices” (quadrants, whatever).

SmartSticker Cardstock in orange, green, and red with writing on them for the paper clock. They say "Knock Please" and "I'm Busy"

The machine does ALL of the work and this is a simple design so it takes MINUTES to make this.

Step 2: Place your colored cuts of Smart Sticker Cardstock onto your larger circle. They should stick right on! This is a photo of it when I was finished, before I attached the black arrow.

Availability clock made from cardstock and Smart Sticker Cardstock. The white circle is divided into four quadrants that  say "Knock Please" "I'm Busy" "Not here" and "Sleeping" and there's a black arrow pointer loosely sitting on top.

Step 3: Use an awl, a small hole punch, or something sharp to poke a hole in the middle of the circle, as well as at the end of your arrow. This will be where you attach your arrow to the middle of the circle.

Step 4: Put the paper fastener/brad through the two holes, then flip the circle over to push the backs of the brad flat.

Hosting an Au Pair

We’ve hosted two different au pairs, one from Mexico (one year) and one from France (two years). My kids LOVE the experience and I wish we’d done so sooner. It’s been a huge relief to have reliable childcare, particularly through the latter part of the pandemic (borders were closed earlier in the pandemic).

I love having a young adult around, particularly another woman, because I have three young boys and it starts to feel a little lonely sometimes (sort of joking, but not). Our first au pair would do yoga with me or we’d sit around drinking margaritas on a Friday night; around Halloween she helped setup an Ofrenda to celebrate Day of the Dead to share part of her culture. Our current au pair loves to watch Doctor Who with me and helped create lots of décor for our yearly Halloween Trail last year.

Hosting an au pair sounds expensive, but it’s comparable to a nanny or other childcare options, particularly if you have 2 or more children. You’re responsible for providing a bedroom for the au pair, meals, and a $200/week (or greater) stipend. You also pay an agency fee (roughly $10k for the first year) and $500 in educational tuition for the au pair to take courses in the USA.

There are some “hidden” costs- ie. taking an au pair on vacation with your family means an extra plane ticket, extra meals, etc. Adding our 20 year old female au pair to our car insurance increased our premium by $218.20 for 6 months (this will likely vary depending on the insurance, location, etc). This year we purchased a used vehicle exclusively for our au pair to use. This was simply because our older vehicles kept having issues and it was inconvenient to have three adults using one car whenever one car ended up in the shop. And naturally, we buy our au pairs gifts for holidays.

So is it free? No. But I find it worthwhile and I’d rather have my kids home afterschool and during the summer with a trusted adult versus shuffling through different summer camps. It also makes my life a little easier because I am not on the summer camp website at opening, vying with other parents to get into the affordable or ideal local summer camps. Summer camp for three kids would be EXTREMELY expensive.

I did the math a couple of years ago because I was curious if it would be more expensive to host an au pair or do summer camps and before/after care. I believe summer camps in our area range from $270-500/week. With three kids and 10 weeks of summer, this would run roughly $10,200 for summer camp alone. Before and aftercare in our school system is about $4000 per child which would be $12,000 per school year. Total cost would be around $22,000.

Our au pairs don’t work as much during the school year because the kids are in school full-time, but my expectation is that they will be flexible if kids are out sick and I also schedule them for full days when the kids are off school (snow days, minor holidays, etc.). So our au pair may only work 20-30 hours per week during the school year, but if a child is out sick, they will shift their schedule to be home that day. This is EXTREMELY helpful for me. If our au pair has something on their schedule that conflicts, I can make arrangements to be there so it’s not a big deal, but I lose a LOT less work time now when my kids are sick. Our au pair helps the kids with homework after school and helps transport them to activities as needed.

It’s a CULTURAL EXCHANGE so you get out of this what you put in- don’t sign up unless you LOVE the idea of the cultural exchange and want to share cultures with someone else who is LIKE A DAUGHTER/SON to you. It’s certainly NOT for everyone- but for me, a mom who loves the idea of hosting an exchange student but doesn’t have the spoons for it with three kids to juggle as well, it works really well. Also, our au pair does the kids’ laundry which is pretty amazing and helpful.

Interested in hosting an au pair? You can use my link to save $175 on the process. As a referred family, you receive a special promotion code to waive the $75 registration fee, plus when you welcome your first au pair by September 30, 2023, your special promotion code will also take $100 off your program fee. If you use my link, I receive a referral bonus that goes towards my fees for our next au pair— which certainly comes in handy.

Please share and pin this post! If you make this project, share it in our Stuff Mama Makes Facebook Group. We have regular giveaways for gift cards to craft stores. You can also tag me on Instagram @doityourselfdanielle; I love seeing everything you make!

Availability clock made from cardstock and Smart Sticker Cardstock. The white circle is divided into four quadrants that  say "Knock Please" "I'm Busy" "Not here" and "Sleeping" and there's a black arrow pointer hooked to the paper sign using a small paper fastener.

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