We love escape rooms at our house! From complex puzzles, printable games and DIY escape rooms, we love them all. Over the years I have created and done hundreds of escape room puzzles. If you are wanting to create your own escape room at home, for family, friends, a party or just for fun, this list of 49+ Best DIY Escape Room Puzzle Ideas will give you lots of inspiration.
The list is a collection of puzzles that you can create on your own and most of the puzzles use simple, inexpensive materials. To make your own escape room, I suggest choosing at least 5 of the puzzles below and combining them to make your room. The more puzzles you choose, the more challenging and longer the escape room becomes.
Choose puzzles that include materials that you already have access to, and puzzles that you think the players will love! Some of the puzzles were created for a special celebration or theme, like a birthday or Valentine’s Day. However, you can make just about any puzzle fit any theme. Use the ideas below as your inspiration for each puzzle.
The list is part two of a collection of escape room puzzle ideas. For part one and more ideas, visit 40 DIY Escape Room Ideas.
Below many of the puzzles there is a link to an escape room game that used the puzzle. If you like the escape room idea, click the link to learn more and get a better idea of how to incorporate it into your game.
So, let’s get started with this huge list of escape room puzzle ideas! I’d love to hear which one is your favorite.
Making Your Escape Room
If you’re looking for step-by-step instructions on how to create your own escape room, visit “How to Make an Escape Room” which includes a free printable planner. Print the planner, choose your theme and escape room puzzle ideas and you’re ready to start creating.
Make a list of your favorites as you look through. Any combination of puzzles can be made to create an escape room. Once you have your puzzles, decide on a theme, such as party, outdoor, sports etc., and then find a way to connect each puzzle to the next.
Use the clues below as ideas. You can change and alter them in anyway that you can think of. As long as the puzzle you create makes sense to you, then it will be a great challenge to others.
If you are looking for more escape room ideas and puzzles to add to your escape room, check out these free printable escape rooms. Free Printable Escape Room and Free Printable Escape Room for Young Kids.
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#1 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
Start your escape room with clues on something very visible in the room, such as balloons. This puzzle works really well for parties or celebrations. Stick a letter on each balloon. The letters unscramble to make a word. (The word then tells players where to check next).
Escape rooms tend to use lots of numbers. If the solution to a clue is a number, such as 17 then have a collection of items for players to count. Whichever container has a specific amount (17) the key in that container is the one they need!
#3 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
If you have a number lock for players to open try placing candies or specific objects around the room for players to find. For example, a code showing red, green, and yellow (in that order) is found in the room. Hide a specific number of candy canes so that the number of red ones hidden is the first number on the lock. The combination for the lock below is 214.
The candy canes were used for a Christmas themed escape room, but you can substitute the candy for anything.
For all of the clues in the room switch a few letters. For example, K=T. Players have to switch the letters back in order to decode the clues.
#5 Puzzles for Kids
You can use a special temperature sensitive paper that reacts to hot or cold liquids. Place a water bottle with cold water to change it to the different color when poured into a cup in the room. The color change can revel the next clue.
#6 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
Write a mixed up jumble of letters around the room. In a clue, tell players which letters to then cross out to spell out their next clue. This escape room puzzle idea can be used for any theme.
Glow in the dark paint is a great addition to any escape room. Put numbers, or lock codes onto coins and then glow in the dark paint onto the correct combination. With a UV light, the specific coin will become apparent for players!
#8 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
For kids who like to build, this is a great challenge for them! Give players a collection of cups and a board with one cup glued at the top. Players have to recreate the tower so it makes a tower that fits the final glued cup at the top. Players then count how many cups they used. This number can be the code for a lock.
Create clues with images of different sizes on each piece. Players have to put all of the images in order, from smallest to largest. Once in order another clue is revealed by reading the words on the pieces.
#10-17 Free Printable Escape Room Puzzles
DIY escape rooms often include printed clues for players to solve. Every escape room is different, but I’ve included seven (free) printable escape room puzzles. You can print any of these puzzles and color, write on and add to them to make them fit your escape room.
Each of the descriptions below are explained in more detail if you click the link below the picture.
An alphabet code allows you to write a note to players, but players have to decode it to figure it out first.
The slices of the circle can be hidden around the room. Print a letter or code in each circle that players can read in order once the slices are all found.
An actual puzzle is a great escape room clue. Print letters or words on the puzzle that players can read once the puzzle is put together.
Use the grid for a maze, word search or code for players to follow.
A code wheel is a common escape room puzzle! Decide on letters for a short code, and add them to the blank wheel. Give players the code for where to match up the letter and shape and they’ll be able to decode the puzzle.
Grab a paper roll for this next puzzle! The strips are lined up on the sheet, but when cut out, they turn and don’t match, until players figure out the code.
The final of the free printable escape room puzzle ideas are the shapes. Put numbers or letters around one set of shapes for players to then match up.
#18 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
Add some science to your escape room. Write a clue word on the outside of a glass jar. Then use blue food coloring and water to fill the jar. The word is no longer visible. Have milk somewhere in the room for players to find and add to the jar. Once added, the dark water is lightened and the word becomes visible.
A secret, hidden compartment in the bottom of an ordinary object in the room is a great place to hide a key, or a clue.
#20 DIY Escape Room Ideas
Another science experiment idea for your escape room! Create a ball out of baking soda and a bit of water and add a clue to the mixture. Create several other balls, but out of salt. Players are lead to a small bottle of vinegar. The ball that fizzes holds the clue.
Keys, keys and more keys! You can never have enough keys for an escape room. Take pictures of your keys and have players search for them or have to match them to unscramble a code.
This escape room puzzle is best outside, but can work anywhere. Create a jar filled with salt. However, in the middle add a ball of salt that is mixed with food coloring. Once water is mixed, the color from the hidden colored ball will begin to show.
A clue in the room with a color code will tell players where the color that appears will lead them next.
Use what looks like an ordinary decoration to represent a clue. These bulbs were used for a Christmas themed escape room, but you can use any object. Each color represents a different letter of the alphabet. Space the objects out to shows spaces between the words.
This is one of the more challenging escape room puzzle ideas. Three colorful circles hold a number code. The second, smaller circle, tells players how to stack the circles to get the right code. For this one, the orange, yellow and blue parts of the circle need to line up to reveal the code 745.
#25 Escape Room Clues
Sometimes you can keep it simple in an escape room. A key placed under a cup, or even a locked box is easy to hide it and somewhere players tend not to check.
#26 Escape Room
Fancy keys are a fun addition to any escape room. Stick a word to each key and have players unscramble the clue.
#27 DIY Escape Room for Kids
Use a laser pointer to shine to a specific spot in the room. You can create a small cylinder out of paper for players to construct and put the pointer through. Once in the right position, the laser may touch something like a book or box in the room.
Try an uncommon puzzle for a clue. Players will race to put the puzzle together, but it’s actually the leftover puzzle piece that holds the next clue!
If you are making your escape room at home, use a pet as part of your puzzle. Since the pets are always around, players are unlikely to think anything about them being in the room. A key or clue attached to a collar is a fun way to incorporate your furry friend.
#30 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
Magnets can add something fun to any escape room. Place a key in plain sight, enclosed so that players can’t retrieve it. When players find the magnet hidden in the room then they can use it to pull the key out of the jar.
Use another type of magnet for this escape room puzzle. This magnet is secured inside a box. Put a collection of small boxes in the room. They can all look the same, but when another large magnet is applied to the boxes, only one will be drawn to the magnet.
#32 Escape Room for Kids
Use a laser pointer and have players set it in a very specific position. Once in position, a mirror also has to be set in a specific spot. When everything is set up properly, the laser beam will hit the next clue in the room for players to search.
A collection of locked boxes in the room are a great way to get players excited about the room. Only one of the boxes contains the next clue, but which one?
If you are looking for simple, but really challenging escape room puzzle ideas, this is great! Use a picture frame to draw a few dots or clues on the clear plastic front. Players have to remove the frame and place the plastic on a clue to line up the dots.
Avoid this if the picture frame is glass instead of plastic, especially if it is children doing the escape room.
A picture inside the frame can make the dots/clues printed on the front very hard to see.
#35 DIY Escape Room
Fill a page with a bunch of random words. Players have to find another page with cut out boxes in it to place on top of the random words. Once on top, the words that are revealed tell players where their next clue is.
#36 Escape Room Puzzles
Food around the room may seem ordinary and players may assume that it is not part of the escape room. However, writing a clue on the bottom of a container is a fun escape room puzzle, and easy to prepare. (Avoid putting any clues in the food incase players start eating as they play. Avoid any choking hazards).
#37 Escape Room Ideas for Kids
If you are creating an escape room for kids, you may already have wooden blocks on hand. Create some structure with the blocks and take a picture. Then use tape to put a word on each block. Players have to recreate the image. Once created they can read the words on the tape in order, or there may be a block left over that has the next clue.
A recordable button is a great addition to any escape room. You can record a message to welcome players to the game and tell them any rules or the button can be hidden inside a stuffed animal that needs to be squeezed to play. There are many options for this puzzle.
If you have a printable puzzle that you want to make even harder, rip it into pieces and give players the pieces. They either have to find all of the pieces around the room first, or you can give all of the pieces together for players to put together.
#40 Escape Room Ideas
Use a mirror to write a message in permanent marker. Cover the mirror with a paste of ingredients that dries, but can be scratched off to reveal the words.
#41 Escape Rooms
The previous idea of scratching off a paint mixture can be used on laminated pieces of paper. Have specific pieces that need to be scratched to reveal the next code.
Use pieces of fabric and seal a key or clue inside one of the fabric shapes. Players will have to sort through and feel each of the shapes to find the one that feels different. They then rip or cut the shape open to get the key.
#43 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
Hide a clue inside a substance players may not want to search through. If you have slime or other material around your house these are great escape room puzzle ideas to easily hide things in.
If you have players who love building and creating, give them a small kit filled with materials to build with. Place a key at the bottom of a large container that players have to make a rope to get the key out.
#45 Escape Room Puzzle Ideas
Popsicle sticks are great for easy escape room puzzle ideas. You can paint or write on them to create an easy puzzle. Players have to put the sticks in a particular order to solve the clue.
With just tissue paper, paper and elastics you can create these punch tubes. Hide a clue inside the tube and cover it with tissue paper. Players have to correctly rip open the tube for their next clue. This is always a favorite puzzle!
#47 DIY Escape Room
Create a code, but leave part of each letter out. On it’s own, you can’t read the code. However, once you place a transparency overtop with the rest of the letters, the code is revealed.
Use playdough and letter beads to hide a word. At first glance when the dough is in a ball, it doesn’t look like there is a clue, but when players start squishing the dough they’ll find the clue hidden within.
#49 Free Escape Room Puzzles
If you have a trash bin in the room, or just in a corner, crumble up a bunch of sheets of paper. On their own they look like misplaced garbage, but once players open them up they will find one with their next clue.
#50 Bonus Escape Room Puzzle Idea
Mix technology into your escape room by including a lock combination in the room. In order to open the phone, players have to use a letter password to unlock the phone. Once unlocked, the background picture is of a key lock.
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