• Use for inspirational tessellation designs for quilts and art.
  • Creates paint patterns, symmetry roses, tessellated art and symmetrically decorated 3D polyhedron models.
  • Easy to learn, fun to use, includes extensive online help, and the low price tag makes it very attractive.
  • Endless hours of inspiration to any artist or quiltmaker interested in tessellation and repetitive designs.
  • Check out the FREE shareware program at .

SymmeToy Review
Symmetory Tutorial


SymmeToy, Math Mouse, & Spiro Math
FREEware by Hank Hufnagel

SymmeToy Review

by Sharla Hicks © 2000

Some of the Patterns shown above look similar to quilt designs. Needle is good for cross stitch type designs, trips around the world ideas and other designs based on small squares. The other 5 grids are designs based on the hexagon, repeating patterns and circles.

Show Roses screen shot
Click on graphic for larger view

Roses (above) and Drawings (below) are my favorite grids. Use the Rose and Drawing grids to create Escher like tessellations. The Rose Grids create the most kaleidoscope looking designs.

Show Drawing screen shot
Click on graphic for larger view

The 3D Models below are fascinating and have some of the most interesting drawings you will see in the preview designs.

Show 3D Models screen shot
Click on graphic for larger view


Color Palette options found in SymmeToy

SymmeToy has built-in palettes, the normal palette has the standard solid colors you often see at the beginning of any palette. The magical palettes are the specialty palettes that use the color wheel's triads, complimentary and analogous solutions. The best part of these palettes is that you do not have to know any color theory, they come up automatically when you select them from the Color Menu. (See examples below.) Each of these specialty palettes has a light to dark color scheme that will make color study designs for quilts and other designs very easy to explore. Use the right side arrows to move to other variations using the same color theme.

SymmeToy also has the option to create custom colors and set the background color for quick background changes when you wish to color only part of the objects/shapes/patches that have been created. SymmeToy also has the ability to swap colors. The swap techniques are well described on the CD video tour and in the on-line help.

Color Menu

Color Menu

Three Fold Palette
1 example of the
Three Fold Palette choices

Opposite Palette
1 example of the
Opposite Palette choices

Adjacent Palette
1 example of the
Adjacent Palette choices

Drawing Tools found in SymmeToy

SymmeToy has two methods for drawing, symmetry and no symmetry. No symmetry draws a single line only across the grid. The symmetry option draws multiple lines at the same time while you are drawing one line creating the type of symmetrical drawing shown below. The example below used only two drawn lines to complete. The symmetry variables for the repeats can be tweaked.

no symmetry button Or symmetry button

Select Symmetry mode for drawing

drawing tools
Draw Tools
tessellation drawing
Note the triangle grid (one of many grid variations.) The Grid shape is the structure for the underlying symmetrical drawing
Note the Polyline Tool in the white Draw Tools section above -- white indicates the tool is selected. The Polyline Tool is my favorite tool because it is the one that allows drawing curvilinear lines.

9 of the 25 Grids found in SymmeToy

Note: When Symmetry is selected any lines you draw will repeat in all sections of the grid. The yellow section in each grid shown below is a guide indicator. It is suggested you start your drawing in or close to the yellow section.

star rose grid

12 section rose grid
octagon rose grid

3 of the 6 Rose Grids that aide in the creation of
tessellations and kaleidoscope designs including the Escher inspired ideas. To go back to the color examples, click here.

triangle drawing grid
square drawing grid
octagon drrawing grid
3 of the 6 Drawing Grids good for the tessellation designs including Escher inspired ideas. To go back to the color examples, click here.
3D grid
3D grid
pattern grid

2 of the 14, 3D Model Grids
To go back to the color examples, click here.

1 of the 6 Pattern Grids. The pattern grids are more like overall grids found on graph paper.


SymmeToy, like many specialty programs has little operational nuances that are unique to itself. It does not always do things quite the way you expect, but after a little exploring using the tutorial outlined below, online help files and content active cusor, listening to SymmeToy's video (NOTE: found on the Hank Hufnagel's website), or reading the on-line help and help tip activated by the mouse, you will be up and running quickly!



Tutorial Step-byStep for SymmeToy written to help you get the most out of the program.

Suggestion: Print this review for a handy reference to make the the time you spend learning the program without too many of the accidental crashes that often come when first using a new program.

Note: In the tutorial, use the left mouse button whenever click is indicated unless the instructions clearly state to use the RIGHT mouse button.

Hoover mouse over icon  to identify Hint: Hover the mouse over a tool or area and a identifier tip will appear.

To begin, preview the examples:

mode select 1. Click the Show icon .
art typ select 2. Click an Art Type Icon.
3. To see enlarged preview of a single design: Click on the design of choice.

To move back and forth between the Preview or Work Screen and the Main Selection Screen:

  1. Use exit in the top menu bar menu.
  2. OR use the X found in the buttons buttons at the top right corner.

To use the the RePaint, ReDraw or Edit Modes:

  1. mode select Click icon choice from the Mode Select.
    : Try all three Modes to see how each works! RePaint: Use to change a preexisting design's coloring. ReDraw: Use to create new design from scratch. Edit: Use to add additional lines to a preexisting design.
  2. art typ select Click a design choice from Art Type Select.
  3. Then select grid style to work with.
    The preview screen will open.
The icons for the tools are very self-explanatory which helps to shorten the learning curve, remember to help identify a tool, hold the mouse over an icon (without clicking) and a tip will appear. Below find some guidelines to drawing, painting and program operations.
  • To select a symmetry choice for drawing and painting: Hint: Try drawing and painting with symmetry on and off to see the difference.
    1. Click on no symmetry button, a single line, circle or arc is drawn.
    2. Click on symmetry button, a single line is repeated automatically multiple times across the grid according to the symmetry setup .
  • To Undo while painting or drawing: While in the Paint or Draw mode, click the RIGHT mouse button. Repeat again and again for multiple undo's. Very powerful!

  • To draw a simple Line:
    1. Select the Line Tool.
    2. Click, drag to size, and release.

  • To draw an Arc:
    1. Select the Arc Tool. Arc Tool
    2. Click 2 points to create the width of the arc. (At this point, the arc will look like a line.)
    3. To add depth to the arc, move the mouse cursor away from the line and click to complete the curve.
    4. Hint: This may feel a little confusing at first, but try a few arcs and it will be clear.
    5. To undo, click the RIGHT mouse button.

  • To draw a Circle:
    1. Select the Circle Tool.
    2. Click the center point of the circle
    3. Release the mouse, then drag the circle to the desired size.
    4. Click again to complete the circle.
    5. To undo, click the RIGHT mouse button.

  • To draw a 3-point Circle:
    1. Select the 3-point Circle Tool.
    2. Click and drag to create a circle. Note while dragging the circle, it rotates around the first established circumference point.
    3. Click again to establish a circle that still is active and continues to rotate, increase or decrease in size around the first established point.
    4. Click a third time to complete the final circle.
    5. To undo, click the RIGHT mouse button.

The Polyline Tool is the most complex and powerful of the drawing tools.

  • To draw straight segments of a continuous line using the Polyline Tool:
    1. Click and release, move to the next segment --click and release again. Continue until you have completed the line or shapes.
    2. Double click to end the line.
    3. To undo, click the RIGHT mouse button.

  • To draw curves segments using the Polyline Tool:
    1. Click, move a small distance and click again, this establishes the distance the line will draw each segment. The length of the segment can create different looking curves.
    2. Hold down the mouse button and draw by slowly moving the mouse.
    3. Double click to end the line.
    4. To undo, click the RIGHT mouse button.

Paint and Color Management

  • To paint: Click on a color from the palette, Three Fold Palette, then click a section in the grid to paint.
Rotate Colors
  • To experiment with coloring already painted in shapes on the screen:
    1. Select the Repaint Mode.
    2. Use the Rotate Colors, color wheel.
    3. Drag the dot inside the color wheel to a new position on the color wheel.
  • To open the Custom Colors dialogue box: Click the # in the standard palettes.

  • For additional color management options: Review the Color Menu.

Additional operations to be aware of

  • To refresh the screen: Click on the Redraw redraw button icon and everything returns to normal. In the preview mode, minimize the window and bring it back to full size to refresh the screen. NOTE: Frequently, even in the high end graphic software, after using undo, little fragments of the lines hang around on the screen after using the undo and erase options or occasionally all lines and coloring disappears. Who knows why, refreshing using Redraw takes care of the problem.

  • To erase a line:
    1. Select the Erase Line Tool: erase tool
    2. The primary lines turn into a series of red nodes/handles (dots along the line.)
    3. Go to the grid and select the line you wish to erase (the line turns into a solid line of red)
    4. Click the RIGHT mouse button and the line is erased. NOTE: If you were working in the symmetry mode, it will erase all lines drawn at the same time the primary line was created.

  • To edit/change a completed line using a point on the line:
    1. Select the Adjust Points Tool. erase tool
    2. The primary lines turn into a series of red nodes/handles (dots along the line.)
    3. Click on a red dot and drag.

  • To preview additional options: Explore the drop-down menus.

Mouse Math, a bonus program with a Video Tour on the SymmeToy CD.

Mouse Math screen shot Mouse Math screen shot

Hank Hufnagel developed the two math programs included on the CD as aids to help his young son learn math. Now, by offering the programs as shareware, he is helping children all over the world learn math.

Hank tells us: "Mouse Math is a whimsical math drill program for Windows that strengthens the ability to hear a math problem and spit out the correct answer. The program gradually uncovers whimsical photographs as answers to spoken problems are clicked with a mouse. Mouse Math is an interesting alternative for drilling younger children on basic math facts as each solution that is achieved shows another section of a puzzle. Setup options allow you to select problem ranges appropriate for young children, older kids and teens."

Sharla's note: When I tried out Mouse Math I had no doubt that it would hold the attention of the young math student and even the adult who wants to refresh their math skills. Mouse Math is a fun alternative to math table drills and hearing the math problem in words was certainly a different experience that required additional concentration and reinforced the learning process.

Spiro Math, a bonus program with a Video Tour on the SymmeToy CD.

Spiro Math screen shot

Hank tells us that: "In Spiro Math, you use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division on four digits to reach a particular target. In the picture above, the digits are 2,8,8,9 and you must manipulate these to get a result of 24. If you get stuck, click on the Hint button to get hints on the correct solution (often is more than 1 solution). When you get the correct solution, Spiro Math draws a spirograph as your reward. Spirographs are nifty graphical figures like the one in the picture above."

Sharla's note: I was very impressed with how Spiro Math promoted real thinking skills for math, something that is not always well done when using a text book.

To View Video's for SymmeToy, Mouse Math, and Spiro Math operations, Visit Hank Hufnagel's website.

MouseMath: http://www.hufsoft.com/software/page2.html
SpiroMath: http://www.hufsoft.com/software/page3.html
SymmeToy: http://www.hufsoft.com/software/page4.html
SymmeToy2: http://www.hufsoft.com/symmetoy2/

Computer Requirements