Hexagon Measurements: How to Measure a Hexagon For Quilting

Odd sizes, no problem. Even though odd-sized shapes like hexagons can be confusing, it really is not hard to measure them. The trick is to make sure you measure the right points and you are done. A little common sense is all you need to handle the task.

It will take some math to get the job done and your measurements will depend on how large the hexagon will be. Some people say that they go from diagonal point to diagonal point but side to side is the best way to measure.

To learn more about measuring hexagons just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about before you panic and think there is more to the task than there really is.

How to Measure a Hexagon for Quilting


The simplest way to measure a hexagon shape for quilting is to use a hexagon ruler. These rulers give you different sizes so you can measure out the exact size you need for your quilt.

Or if you do not have a ruler, just go online and find a hexagon template and print out the size you need. Printing on regular paper is okay but it won’t be sturdy enough for measuring. Trace the outline onto some thick cardboard paper stock and then cut that out.

Then if you want the easiest way, go to this website. There is a hexagon calculator that will tell you how many of those shapes you will need. All you have to do is tell it the dimensions of the quilt and the size of the hexagon.

In seconds, the number of hexagons needed will come up on your screen. basically, you will have to know the size of your quilt and the size of the hexagon you will use on the quilt. Then calculate how many hexagon shapes you will need to fill those dimensions.

Keep in mind that the dimensions of the quilt and the size of the hexagon will not always line up to the point where you can use whole hexagons only.

How to Measure Hexagon Diameter

The first step in this process is to measure all sides of the hexagon first. This is to make sure the shape is what is called a regular hexagon. If the 6 sides are not equal, then it is not a regular shape but an irregular one. The latter shape has no diameter.

To calculate the diameter you can either, one, measure the length and multiply by 2 or two, multiply the radius by 2. The distance from the intersection of the two sides to the center of the hexagon is called the radius.

Next, you need to split the shape into triangles, then calculate the area of 1 triangle section by multiplying the base by the height and divide by 2. The result of that equation is then multiplied by 6.

The math can get a bit confusing especially when you are changing the size of the hexagon for the quilt you have in mind.

How to Measure Hexagon Sides

There is a simple formula that can be applied to measure the side of the hexagon. The equation goes like this: s = p divided 6, where P is the perimeter and s is the length of any one side.

If your hexagon has a perimeter of 48 inches then 48 divided by 6 = 8-inch sides. Once you get the hang of it, the math becomes easier to do. There are other calculations you can do and this link will take you to complex math equations that help you determine the size of the hexagon side.

Remember that all sides are even and if they are not, then you are using an irregular hexagon and your measurements will not line up and be off. it may be best to use a hexagon calculator to ease your mind and save you some time. These calculators take the work out of sewing with hexagon shapes.

Hexagon Measure of Exterior Angles and Interior Angle


This will take more math to calculate and the basic method is to divide the hexagon up into 4 equal-sized triangles. Then since the sum of the angles in each triangle will be 180 degrees, your equation will look like this: 4 x 180 = 720.

That means that the sum of the interior angles will be 720 degrees. When you want to measure the interior angles, you take the 720 from the above calculation and divide it by 6. You do this because all the interior angles are the same, just like the sides of the hexagon. 720 divided by 6 = 120.

Remember, everything has to be the same with a hexagon. There are no odd answers and if you get one, then you either calculated wrong or your hexagon is not even all the way around.

All sides should be even in a hexagon. These shapes are not like rectangles that have multiple ways of being drawn. The only difference there is with hexagons is the size of the area and lengths of the side, and so on.

For example, a 3-inch hexagon will look like a 5-inch version but and have all even sides like the larger example. It is not like a rectangle where you can get a 3 by 4-inch shape, a 3 by 5-inch shape, or even a 3 by 2-inch shape. Everything will be even no matter the size of the hexagon.

How Many Hexagons do I Need for a Quilt?

This is one area you do not have to trouble yourself with doing. It is hard enough doing the math for the size of different parts of the hexagon let alone trying to figure out how many of those shapes you really need.

The first section has the link to a hexagon calculator and all you have to do is plug in the dimensions of the quilt and then the size of the hexagon you are using and it will figure out how many of those shapes you will need.

For example, a 60 by 80-inch quilt using 5-inch hexagons needs 68 full hexagons and 10 half ones. We suggest you take advantage of that calculator and save yourself some time as well as avoid a math headache.

There are more than one calculators on the internet. You can find another one at this link. This version will give you the long, the short diameter, as well as the perimeter, area, side length, and so on.

Plus, you can pick any category you know the size of and plug it in and the calculator will automatically make the change.

How do You Cut a Hexagon for Quilting?

One method is simply to trace your outline on the fabric you want to use and then use your scissors to cut along the marker’s lines. This can take an extraordinary amount of time but it is one way to get the job done.

Another way is to cut the fabric into strips and make it about an inch wider than the shape’s size. Then place your template where you want it to be on the fabric and use your rotary cutter to cut the shape out.

If you do not have a template, it can be downloaded from the internet and printed out. Or you can use a hexagon ruler to guide the cutter. The rotary cutter is more precise than a pair of scissors.

The key is to take your time as the hexagon shape is going to give you lots of seams to sew and press. There is no sense rushing to get this part of the task done. Focus on accuracy so that the later parts go smoother for you.

How to Use a Hexagon Quilting Ruler


According to some quilters, all hexagon rulers are not the same and each comes with its own set of instructions. Some also come with pre-drilled holes to help you get the correct seam allowance before you make your cuts.

Cut your strips of fabric 1/2 inch larger than the size of hexagon you need. Then, align the size of the hex you want with the edge of the strip. Now cut along the right side only. Then slide the ruler over and align the left point with a V in the strip.

Again cut along the right sides. After that, turn the fabric and align the tool with the edges on the left and trim corners on the right and that should give you the right size of a hexagon.

How do You Bind a Hexagon Quilt?

Normal sewing practices have the sewer sewing a line about 1/4 of an inch in from the edge and then backstitching little ways. On larger angle hexagon quilts, you should mark a point in the center of your angle and stop stitching at that point.

Make sure to place a pin at that point to remind you where you should be stopping. When you reach that mark, fold the binding up and the fold should follow the marked line. After folding up, fold the binding down again till it is in line with the quilt edge.

Hold with a pin until you get the new section sewn. Once this is done just fold over and bind like you would a normal quilt. Instead of using pins, you can hold the binding in place with either fabric clips or clothespins.

These options may have more strength and holding power than the pins will have.

Back a Hexagon Quilt

If you can do it all at the same time, then that is the best strategy. The individual hexagons are all sewn on with the top fabric, the batting, and the backing fabric at the same time. This means lots of thick layers for your sewing machine to deal with but the job is done very quickly.

Once you get the fabrics all sewn together, you still need to bring a little of the backing and fold it over to the front. This helps form a nice narrow border. After that, you turn the quilt over and whip stitch the back of the quilt to give it its shape.

To hold all that material together so you can sew it in one shot, you can use pins, clips, or clothespins. Pins are the traditional method but they may not be sturdy enough to handle all the weight of the different fabrics that need to be together.

How to Make a Hexagon Template for Quilting


The different fabric stores should have pre-made templates on their shelves for you to look at. Or you can order them online through one of the many sewing accessories or other marketplaces.

But some people do not have the money to make these types of purchases or they may need an odd size which the stores do not sell. This means making your own and to do this is not that difficult.

The simple way is to print out a hexagon-shaped design from the internet. Once printed, cut the dotted lines with your scissors and the solid lines with a rotary cutter.

Once that is done, place what you have cut over the thicker paper and trace the outline or glue the cut out onto it. Cut the thicker paper carefully and you have your template. If you need more than one template, you can place 4 to 5 pieces of paper under the printed page and cut them all at the same time.

How many you cut will be up to you and your project.

2.5-Inch Hexagon Template

The method to cut this size of hexagon shape is similar to the process just discussed. You need to find a good website that has the size you want and it is available to be downloaded and printed out on your printer.

How many templates you need to make will be totally up to you and depending on how much work you want to do or not, you can cut as few as 1 at a time or as many as a dozen. The 8 by 10 pieces of printer paper will give you many diagrams to cut out on one sheet of paper.

Of course, you can save yourself the work and the next time you are out shopping at your fabric store, craft shop or department store, etc., you can check to see if they have this size already in a package for you.

Cutting out the individual templates can be done by either scissors or rotary cutter and use whichever one you are most confident in using.

Hexagon Quilting Patterns

This seems to be a popular shape among quilters throughout the country. A quick internet search turns up more patterns than you can possibly make in one lifetime. This link happens to have at least 20 available while another website has over 600.

Then this website has 11 free patterns you can choose to use. Your search will only be complicated by the vast number of patterns available at the many websites dedicated to this type of quilting design.

This is not to mention that hexagon shapes are also being used for pot holders, hot pads, and other smaller sewing projects. So you should not have any trouble finding a pattern online.

Or if you do not want to download a pattern or work from your computer, you can go to your local fabric stores and pick up a pattern or two from them. This is not going to be a task where you will run out of patterns to use.

Hexagon Quilting Ideas


The same holds true for this category. Here is one link that has a dozen ideas you could try. Pinterest has over 900 if you have the time to search that website out. Then this site has 30 designs to motivate you and give you inspiration.

You will run out of time and need to pick up the kids from their after-school activities before you run out of places to look and ideas to use. Of course, you can get ideas from just about anywhere. The birds singing in your backyard can bring inspiration or your daughter playing the piano can do it.

These ideas can easily be transformed into a hexagon quilt while not making pictures of birds or a piano.

Some Final Words

Our advice to you is to take the hard work of math out of your hexagon quilt-making hobby. Use the different calculators we have already linked to in order to make this project a lot more fun and enjoyable.

Then use everyday things to give you ideas on how to create a new, unique hexagon quilt that will astound your guests.

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