Submission Guidelines
Join Our
Mailing List

July 2013


Previous Issues

Tutorial Archives

Contact Us

Privacy Policy

Visit the International Polymer Clay Association website.


Polymer Clay Polyzine
Copyright 2000-2013
ISSN 1534-1038
All Rights Reserved.

pcPolyzine Logo
Hex Sign Canes
Folk Art Design
By Jeannie Havel with material reprinted with permission from

August 2004
Hex Sign BirdHex signs are neither hocus-pocus nor sacrilegious when viewed as examples of American folk art. Although the name implies placing a "hex" or spell on someone, there is really no difference, artistically, than using various symbols from other cultures. The legend is that certain words evoke the power of the hex sign if recited when creating the sign. I don't know what the specific words are, so I believe we are safe in creating and honoring this portion of our American folk art history.

                        Cutters for Hex SignsThe colorful designs of hex signs adorn the barns of many Pennsylvania Dutch families and their non-Pennsylvania Dutch neighbors. You can make your own hex sign canes from polymer clay with the help of cookie and canapé cutters. You will probably first want to read about the significance of shapes and colors used in hex signs reprinted below with permission from the Folk Art & Craft Exchange website, courtesy of Latitude International.

To make hex sign canes from polymer clay, use the "cookie cutter" method -- condition and roll out clay to a thickness of no more than the depth of your cutters. You can cut and stack
Polymer Clay Hex
                        Sign Canepieces to obtain a thickness of about one inch. Cut carefully so you can use the "negative" piece of clay for a cane with reversed colors.

I like to use two pieces of acrylic for reducing my canes of this type. Place one piece of acrylic on the top and bottom of the cane. Press just enough to adhere the clay to the acrylic (you don't want to squish it any flatter at this point -- the idea is to make it taller).

You will have to decide for yourself as to the final size of your reduced cane. I usually wait until I'm satisfied with the size and then wrap a layer of clay (a #1 or #3 setting on the pasta machine) around the cane, finished with a butt joint.

Hex Divider

What Do Hex Signs Mean?

Below is the possible symbolism or meaning of the shapes and colors used in Hex Signs. This is a very old art form and the precise significance of the shapes and colors is not known for certain.

Do you want to design and paint your own Hex Sign? Have fun! A project for the entire family! Fun for young and old alike!!


  • Crescent Moons - the four seasons
  • Distelfink - good luck and happiness...two distelfinks - double good luck and happiness...two distelfinks crossed over each other - true friendship
  • Doves or Birds of Paradise - friendship, camaraderie, peace, purity and happiness
  • Eagle - strength, courage, clarity of vision
  • Heart - true love, lasting love, and love for others
  • Oak Leaf - long life, strength and endurance
  • Pineapple - welcome and hospitality
  • Raindrops - water, crop abundance and fertility
  • Rosettes - (thought to be the oldest symbol) good luck
  • Scallops - ocean waves, smooth sailing in life
  • Stars - protection against fires, good fortune, hope, love, fertility, energy and harmony
  • Sun Wheel - warmth and fertility
  • Tulips - Faith, hope, charity and trust in mankind
  • Wheat - Abundance and goodwill


  • Black - protection, also used to blend or bind elements together
  • Blue - protection, peace, calmness and spirituality
  • Brown - mother earth, also can mean friendship and strength
  • Green - growth, fertility, success in things and ideas that grow
  • Orange - abundance in career, projects and matters needing an added push
  • Red - emotions, passion, charisma, lust and also creativity
  • Violet - things that are sacred
  • White - purity, power of the moon, allows energy to flow freely
  • Yellow - health in body and mind, love of man and the sun, connection to the God form

Go to Make Your Own Hex Signs Page
Go to Hex Signs Page
Go to Folk Art & Craft Exchange Home Page