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How to make your own sundial for Summer Solstice

These little sundials are a great activity for children (and adults as well) to enjoy making on the longest day.

To make these, I will locate a tree limb, usually of maple or birch, that is approximately four inches in diameter and which will be as circular as possible when cross-cut. I will use a handsaw to cut the branch to a length of about two to two-and-a half feet. Then I use a miter saw to cut discs of 3/8” thickness. Then, for each disc, I’ll use a drill to create a pilot hole approximately ½” from the edge. Into this hole I’ll set a “finishing nail” of approximately 1 ½” to 1 ¾” length. Using a compass, we set the disc down on a level surface in a sunny location and have the nail be standing directly southward. As we read the top of each hour, we trace a line in the shadow of the nail. At the end of the day, you have a working sundial!

More ideas on how to celebrate the longest day are available in our book Celebrating the Solstices. See homepage for ordering.

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