Build your own sundial

I dreamt of it...

« I will always remember when I discovered that magnificent sundial, on the front of a chapel in an old village, almost abandoned, in the French-Italian Alps. We were climbing the slopes for half an hour from the road below, under a burning Sun, between grilled meadows and smelling bushes. We arrived on the first street of the village and I sat on a bench, nicely installed under a fig tree, to rest and recover my breath. At that moment, my sight felt on a large framed colorful painting in front of me: a large sundial, painted on a blue fresco, its hour lines simple and fine, the noon line seeming stretched by a bell. The orange frame was decorated with fleur-de-lis at each corner, and two fabulous animals - like dolphins - were drawn on the bottom of the frame. The style had an arrow at its end and was bent and rusted, so that it casted a useless shadow on the sundial layout. On about fifteen houses in the village, only a handful were inhabited, but two houses just had been renovated recently, a sign that new residents wanted to stay here and reinstate life in the village. A new hope that maybe that sundial could one day be restored. »

« And why not start a replica of that sundial for my house? Ok, it's decided, I will build my own sundial when I will return from vacation... »




They did it!

Many of you know how to do DIY with wood, tiles or metal, know how to paint, solder or sculpt. Some of you even know how to create a mosaic or forge iron. These are precious skills when you want to create your own sundial, but many will give up in front of the theory.

No need to hesitate, the Shadows software will help you and will do the maths for you and even draw the layout to scale, to allow you to practice your manual skills with crafting and decoration.

Shadows users have shared photos of their realizations, and they are talented! All kinds of techniques and materials are used.

» See sundials made by users

If yourself you have made a sundial with the Shadows software, you may send picture of it to be added in the gallery on this site.

Let's start...

Firstly, download and install the Shadows software. Then, with a few clicks, create your sundial on screen by choosing one of the several available types and orientations. Then, configure the drawing on screen from clear icons. Define the size of the frame, from a pocket dial to a complete wall. Add a motto chosen from the 900+ installed with Shadows, or add a decoration using a picture or clipart.

Once you are ready, print the sundial to scale. Finally, transfer the drawing on the final material, fix the style or the eyepiece and install the sundial at its chosen place.

» Download Shadows
» View a demo on Youtube
(in French with English subtitles)

Tutorials and advices

You are not alone, this site provides many resources to help you. You may start by read the user manual on-line or by calling it from the Help menu in Shadows; it contains plenty of advices on how to use the software and understand sundials possibilities. You also need to choose a place where to install your sundial.

» Read the user manual on-line
» Browse the user manual in video

Several tutorials are also available, made by users who share their advices and explain step by step how they did it. You will also find links to other sites on sundials, educational videos and addresses of museums and showcases to see ancient sundials.

» View the tutorials
» Choose a place for your sundial


I need a pro to help me

You do not want to do it yourself? So contact a sundial maker, a professional artisan who will make a sundial after your request and follow the rules to ensure its accuracy.

» List of sundial makers

A sundial maker will also be of great help if you need to restore an ancient sundial. Never try to restore a sundial by yourself without the help of a professional.

I want to learn more

Gnomonics, the science of sundials is vast. There are many different types of sundials and various possible layouts. Read the pages of this site to learn more about sundials and look at the bibliography to find the books that will provide you the information you need.

» Understanding sundials
» Bibliography on sundials

I share with the community

Meet other enthousiasts and share ideas and projects with them.

» Subscribe to the Information Letter
» Go to the Facebook page

You may join a sundial society, such as BSS in UK or NASS in the USA. Read all the details at the end of the user manual.