A Painted Wall Sundial by John Carmichael

Tucson Arizona USA, July 2006

website by John Carmichael (author) and Dave Bell (webmaster)

This page was last updated 18 December, 2007



This is my first painted wall sundial-finished in June, 2006. It is above a porch door at a private home in Tucson Arizona USA. It features a solid brass gold-plated conical gnomon on a gold-plated star. I designed it using Zonwvlak2000, Delta Cad, and Photoshop Elements. The wall surface is rough textured stucco and the paint I used is elastomeric acrylic house paint.

Painting fine details by hand on textured stucco is a real pain and very difficult. I could not use painters tape because of the bumps, so everything had to be painted free hand. I see now why the sundial artists in Europe often replaster a wall with a smooth texture before painting! But the owners did not want a smooth surface because rough texture is artistically pleasing. This does affect the sharpness of the shadow a tiny bit, but it's not too bad.

The sundial measures 44 x 92 inches (1.12m x 2.33m), declines 4.53 degrees east of south. We decided to custom-make a wide brass cone so that the shadow is wide, like the hands of a clock. The cone is 2 inches wide at the base and about 4" tall and is screwed to an anchor bolt on the wall on top of a gold-plated brass star.

I transferred the Delta Cad drawing to the wall like this:

  1. I made a full size drawing of the sundial on Mylar plastic.
  2. Then, using a leather awl (like a short ice pick), I punched holes into the lines on the drawing.
  3. Then I taped the drawing to the wall, and using Sharpee marker pens, I made dots on the wall through the holes in the drawing.
  4. Then I removed the drawing and connected the dots on the wall.

I painted the colors first, then painted the lines and numerals on top in layers.

Related Website Link:

A Photo Collection of Beautiful Painted Wall Sundials


John L. Carmichael
Sundial Sculptures
925 E. Foothills Dr.
Tucson AZ 85718-4716
Tel: 520-6961709
Email: John Carmichael (author)
Email : Dave Bell (webmaster)

My Websites:

(business) Sundial Sculptures: http://www.sundialsculptures.com
(educational) Chinook Trail Sundial: http://advanceassociates.com/Sundials/COSprings/
(educational) Earth & Sky Equatorial Sundial: http://advanceassociates.com/Sundials/Earth-Sky_Dial/
(educational) My Painted Wall Sundial: http://www.advanceassociates.com/WallDial
(educational) Painted Wall Sundials: http://advanceassociates.com/WallDial/PWS_Home.html
(educational) Stained Glass Sundials: http://www.stainedglasssundials.com
(educational) Sundial Cupolas, Towers & Chimneys: http://StainedGlassSundials.com/CupolaSundial/index.html

Created on ... June 29, 2006

Modified on ... March 31, 2007