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A villager outside a house with a hanging sign.

Taking Inventory: Hanging Sign

A sign that looks down on you

Signs are great. As we discussed at length in our Taking Inventory article on signs a few years ago, they’re the perfect way to label your storage, leave yourself reminders, and to stop yourself getting lost. 

But sometimes you want something a bit fancier, something that’s more of an advertisement than a mere label. That’s why, in the Trails & Tales update in June 2023, we added a far more impressive alternative. Behold! Hanging signs! Our item of the month!

Making a hanging sign is easy, though they’re more expensive than a regular sign. You’ll need two chains, made of iron ingots and nuggets, and six logs that have been stripped of their bark using an axe. You can use any kind of log you like – oak, spruce, birch, jungle, acacia, mangrove, cherry, dark oak, crimson, warped, or bamboo. Put the logs at the bottom of a crafting grid, and the chains in the top corners, and you’ll get six signs – enough to decorate a whole village!

You have a few options for using hanging signs. If you put one on the side of a block, it’ll come with a little bracket that holds it outward. If you put it underneath, it’ll hang down from its chains alone. Once placed, the use command will let you edit the text – though be aware that there’s a bit less space on a hanging sign than a regular sign.

Like with a regular sign, you can dye the text whatever color you want, or use a glow ink sac to make it glow in the dark. Waxing it with a honeycomb will prevent editing of the text. As you might expect, you can also use hanging signs in a furnace as fuel, though honestly that’s a pretty major waste of resources.

Minecraft developer Agnes created hanging signs with the help of her daughter, who drew the very first concepts for the item. The two of them spent a cozy day together drawing different options for what they could look like, which were then integrated into the game.

They’re based, of course, on hanging signs that you’ll find in the real world – often outside of shops. These signs are quite clever if you think about it: they let people walking along a street see where a shop is from a distance, even though the shop is facing outwards.

They’re not a new invention though – the Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all used signs – often to advertise shopfronts or public events. They were also used in Ancient China, and in medieval London they got so large and popular that they started to interfere with traffic and the authorities had to pass laws to keep them under control.

There are no laws governing how many hanging signs you’re allowed to put in Minecraft, so go wild! See how many signs you can fit on a single house. But here’s a challenge: how many of them can you actually make useful..?

Duncan Geere
Written By
Duncan Geere

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