How to Encrypt a Pig Pen Cipher

Step 1
Write down your PLAINTEXT message on a piece of paper. Then draw two tic-tac-toe grids and two big X's - alternating each grid as you draw them on your paper.

Step 2
In the last two grids, place a dot in each compartment.

Then, beginning with the first grid, fill in each compartment with a single letter of the alphabet.

Step 3
To draw the cipher letters, use the shape of the compartment, or the "pen," surrounding the letter itself.

DO NOT include the letter in the cipher.

Step 4
Once you have created the cipher, send the message to a friend. Before you send it, make sure your friend knows what the patterns are for the grids and letters.

To make the cipher more secure, try changing the letter and dot patterns inside the compartments.

How to Decrypt a Pig Pen Cipher

Step 1
Arrange the grids and letters on a piece of paper according to the KEY that breaks the cipher.

Draw the grids in the correct pattern and then fill in the different compartments, or pens, with the appropriate dots and letters.

Step 2
Begin decrypting the message by comparing the shape of each cipher letter with the shape of the grid compartments.

Once you find a match, write down the letter that the cipher represents. Continue until you have completed decrypting the entire message.