Barn Stars / Hex Signs

Creative Commons Photo available here

Throughout the Pennsylvania countryside, you will notice round designs painted on the sides of barns. These Barn Stars or Hex Signs became popular as paint became more affordable in the mid-1800s. The meaning of these signs is unclear, some say they were used as symbols of protection, but many historians believe that they were just for decoration. Now known as a Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, they are often sold as souvenirs

Today we are going design our own Barn Stars.

Large Sheet of White Construction Paper or Heavy Drawing Paper
Ruler (you may also want a compass and a protractor)
Markers or Acrylic Paint
Large Plate
Circle Template

To start with you will want to research Barn Star/Hex Sign designs on the internet. I also spent some time discussing symmetry with my girls.

Print off the circle template and create some thumbnail (small, less detail) drawings of Barn Stars. I required the girls to incorporated at least one line of symmetry into their designs.

Once you have a plan in place. Trace a large circle (we used a dinner plate) onto your construction paper.

Add your cross lines using a protractor and a ruler… or I cheated and just cut out one of the small circles and placed in the center of our large one to give me the guide lines. Another option would be to cut out your circle and fold it in half 3 times.

Transfer your design to your large circle. Fairy cut out a bird shape she drew and traced. She flipped it over before tracing the second bird to make it a mirror image.

We chose to use markers to complete this project. I was afraid that the girls would have trouble getting their details nice and neat with paint. Be sure to outline the edges of your drawing first and then fill in with color. This will help keep the lines neat.

Cut out the outside edge of your circle and you now have your very own Barn Star / Hex Sign.

Michelle ~ Wee Folk Art

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this description. Down one road in my town in Michigan multiple barns have these. I thought they were quilt square designs. Thank you for the new knowledge.

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