How to Encrypt a Winding Way Cipher

Step 1
Write down your PLAINTEXT message on a piece of paper without any spaces between the words.

Count the number of letters used in the message.

Step 2
Create a MATRIX, or grid, that is large enough to contain your message.

In our example, the message has 22 letters and uses a 4x6 matrix (4 squares wide by 6 squares high), but we could have used a matrix that was 5x5.

Step 3
Writing from left to right, fill in the boxes of the matrix.

Use a NULL to fill in any remaining boxes in the matrix.

Step 4
Determine the shape of the pattern, or path, you will use to encrypt the plaintext.

Patterns can start in any corner of the matrix and then move up or down, left or right, diagonally, zig-zag, or spiral throughout the grid.

Step 5
Draw the pattern lightly over the matrix and then copy the letters as they appear on your chosen path.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have created a Winding Way Cipher!

How to Decrypt a Winding Way Cipher

Step 1
Using the KEY (the number of squares and the type of pattern used to make the grid) that your friend gave you, draw a matrix and fill in the boxes with the CIPHERTEXT.

If there are any empty boxes remaining, use NULLS to fill them in.

Step 2
Reading from left to right, you can now read the plaintext message.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have deciphered a Winding Way Cipher!