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Images: Dave Fooks, Kutztown Festival

Level: Middle School, High School
Grades: 6 and up | Age: 11 yrs and up | Written by: Dawn Sabol

Kids can make a personal Hex sign on a wooden disc.


The students will be able to:

What You Need:
What You Do:

Day 1

  1. The Pennsylvania Dutch heritage will be introduced and discussed with students.
  2. Students will know that these settlers brought their Old World (German) customs and traditions to Pennsylvania.
  3. Students will know that Hex signs are based on nature and meaning for the family.
  4. Students will be shown a Hex signs with descriptions (see resources below). They will form groups of two, as they discuss the Hex signs.
  5. Students will identify the focal points and unity found in the Hex signs. These will be incorporated into their own signs.
  6. Students will take their sketch books and draw their own Hex symbols that incorporate nature, meaning for their own family or themselves, a focal point, and unity. (It is important to stress individuality of Hex signs).

Day 2

  1. Students will lightly draw their Hex design on a pre cut wooden (or cardboard) disk.
  2. The teacher will pour some acrylic paint onto paint palettes.Mix and smooth the paint with a palette knife.
  3. Students will hand paint their original hex design on the pre-cut wooden desk.
  4. These designs will incorporate many different shades and tints of the three primary colors (review the colors).
  5. Complete the project on the Hex signs.The critique will be the first ten minutes of the next class.


More Information:

Examples of Hex Signs,50.htm

Examples of Hex Signs

Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Tour Association

Recommended Books/Products:

Hex Signs : Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Symbols & Their Meaning
by: Don Yoder, Thomas E. Graves
A revised and expanded edition of the classic work on hex-sign barn decorations, offering insight into their various forms, geographical spread, European origins, evolution in Pennsylvania, and current use in tourism, advertising, and regional art. The authors explore the meaning of the symbols by examining evidence from popular writers, scholars, and contemporary hex-sign painters. Full-color photographs display the grandeur of this Pennsylvania Dutch phenomenon.

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