DIY Escape Room at Home

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Can you escape? Creating your own DIY escape room at home has never been easier with this collection of puzzles using materials from around the house. Visiting an escape room is a great adventure filled with exciting puzzles and fun. Making the puzzles at home with inexpensive materials creates a special game with clues you know your players will love.

Escape rooms are great for family night game, a birthday party or any celebration. Using simple puzzles allows you to create escape room games on a regular basis.

Look through the puzzles below to create your own ultimate game. Typically escape rooms include at least five clues. You can include all, or some of the puzzles below. For more escape room puzzle ideas, check out my huge collection of over 40 Escape Room Ideas.

diy escape room at home shows a pinterest pin with puzzle images.

Setting Up Your Escape Room at Home

The puzzles below can be used in any order. I have suggested how to lead each puzzle to the next, but you can alter each puzzle in any way you choose. As long as each clue leads players to the next clue, then you can connect them in any way.

Adding music and decorations to the room adds excitement and engagement for players as well.

Typically, escape rooms will run for about an hour depending on the number of players and their experience with puzzles and these types of games.

Once you have created each of the puzzles, place them throughout the room. Some clues will be hidden in the room, others will left in plain sight, but not immediately solvable.

Use the puzzle ideas below as inspiration. If you create the clue differently than I explain how I used it, that’s okay! Create the clues how they best make sense for you.

When players work through the room, make sure that you, or another adult familiar with the puzzles, is in the room. If a puzzle does not go as planned, you can always step in and help, but avoid jumping in as soon as players get stuck. Give players a chance to try different strategies to solve the puzzles.

If you want to try an escape room, but want to try one without hands-on puzzles first, check out the free printable escape room. It can be set up around the house in minutes.

Make an Escape Room at Home #1

Create a welcome letter for players to find as soon as they enter the room. In the letter suggest, or illude to, a favorite book, that can be found in the room. On this welcome letter cut several rectangular slits and print a number on the page in the same place the page numbers are found in the book you mentioned on the welcome letter.

Players find, and check the book and match the number on the welcome letter to that page in the book. Lining up the lose page, the slits line up with specific words in the book.

diy escape room at home shows a book with another sheet of paper on top with slits cut into it.

This clue can be tricky to create in terms of finding a page in a book that has the exact words you need for your clue. However, keep it simple. Pick just a few words that you need for players to read. You can also type a fake page/story with the words you need and slip it into the book on the page players look.

The words the slits read in my clue were, “Look under the big table”.

DIY Escape Room Puzzle #2

Once players find the second clue, under the table, they discover a map.

Upon inspection of the map, it becomes clear that it is a map of the whole house with one location marked with an X.

You can roughly draw a map of your house, school or whatever location you are using for your escape room. Keep it simple. Avoid lots of details. Player have to study the map to figure out the locations drawn.

mystery game shows a map of a house with an X in one spot.

Once they figure out the rooms featured on the map, they rush to the place with the X.

If you want to keep the game in only one room, instead of drawing a map with the floorplan of several rooms, add a few more details and draw a map of just the one room.

Escape Room Game

Once players find the place marked with an X, they will also find a box.

To create this box, use any box that you can cut into. I used a tissue box and cut a small square in the top and painted it black. In the bottom of the box insert a sheet of paper with a code, word or message on it. I used the number 214 for a lock code.

Secure this page so that it does not move around in the box.

Seal the bottom so that players have no way to open the box. Include a flashlight somewhere near the box for players to use.

puzzle game for kids shows a kleenex box painted black with a small square cut in the top.

Players shine the flashlight around the hole in the top of the box. In most places the light hits, nothing is printed or visible. However, when the light shines where the clue is printed, players then know where to look next! In the example, the number 214 is revealed!

diy escape room at home shows a black box with a hole cut in the top and the number 214 slightly visible through the top.

Escape Room at Home

The number code opens a box. Inside the box is a UV flashlight. You can direct players where to shine the light, or make it more complicated and don’t give any other instructions. Players have to figure out what to do.

Lights will have to be turned off, and then players start shining the light around the room. On the walls you have painted, or printed a few arrows. I used a UV pen, but you can also use glow in the dark paint.

The UV marks are not visible with the lights on, but the glow in the dark paint will become visible as soon as the lights are turned off. Use whichever works best for you, and your location. Keep in mind that this will remain on the walls. (To avoid this you can make the marks on things in the room that the paint/pen can be washed off of.)

Players follow the arrows until they come to the end of the marks. This final arrow leads to a bin, box or random spot where players will find their next clue.

I used a similar clue in another escape room in the past, to check out how the glowing clue was used, click here, DIY Escape Room for Kids.

diy escape room at home shows an arrow glowing on the wall.

DIY Escape Room at Home

This popsicle stick puzzle is always a favorite, and it’s simple to create! Use twenty popsicle sticks and number them on the bottom. After you have numbered them, print your next clue across the sticks. Each stick will have a marking or letter on it, but the words will only become visible when all of the sticks are put in order. (To see this idea used in another escape room check out, Make Your Own Escape Room.)

diy escape room at home shows twenty popsicle sticks set side by side with the words Check under your pillow printed across them.

To make this clue more challenging, you can have players have to set the popsicle sticks in a different, non numerical, order. For example, tell players to order the sticks, 3, 18, 8, 9, 4, 1 etc. This random order is the only order that the clue will become clear.

DIY Puzzle #6

The last clue leads players to check under their pillow. This collection of magnetic letter are what they discover with the pillow, along with a magnetic wand.

These magnetic letters are perfect for a clue! Pick a few letters that will spell out the location of the next puzzle players need to find. For example, I wanted to lead players to their shoes. I grabbed the letters for, SHOE, along with other letters.

I left the magnet on the back of these letters. On the rest of the letters, I put a layer of black construction paper. The letters still looked the same but they were no longer attracted to the magnet. When players used the wand over the letters only the letters, S,H,O,E stuck to the wand.

Players will then have four letters that they have to unscramble to create the word SHOE.

diy escape room at home shows a bunch of alphabet magnets and a magnetic wand.

Escape Room at Home

Inside the shoes, players find two decks of cards. One deck is a full deck and in the middle of each card a location, or object in the house is printed. The other deck does not have locations, and it is also missing one card.

Players have to figure out which card is missing and then find, and match the same card from the other deck. The location printed on it is where players need to look for their next clue.

detective game shows two rows of cards fanned out.

Escape Room Game

I love this clue, and my players did too. Grab a bunch of flameless tealight candles. Ideally one for each letter of the alphabet. Create a board with a sticker with each letter of the alphabet printed on it and set one of the candles with each letter. (You can also use numbers if you prefer).

One by one players try to turn on the light using the on/off switch on the bottom of each. Only a few of the candles will actually turn on. Once players have tested all of the candles, there will be a few glowing. The glowing letters/candles are the letters that tell players their next clue. Unscramble the letters to find the location. It can be something as simple as HAT, or more complicated to solve, like FREEZER.

diy escape room at home shows two rows of flameless candles and letters of the alphabet below.
diy escape room at home shows two candles lit.

Escape Room at Home

My candles lead players to the freezer, but you can lead players anywhere that you can store a frozen key! (It’s okay if it melts a bit before players find it)

escape quest shows a key frozen in a block of ice.

Once players find the key, they have to figure out a way to actually get the key. They can try to break the ice, or melt it. Once players access the key, they can unlock another box in the room.

Mystery Room Clue

Inside the box is a chess game. If your players are younger, you can use a checkers game. This is the last clue, so players have to work on this clue for a bit before finishing.

Write directions for a chess game that players have to follow. With each move they follow the closer they are getting to the end.

In the end players will basically act out a chess game based on your instructions/clue and end with a few pieces on the board. Use the (free) printable board and print numbers, or words in each square.

diy escape room at home shows a chess board.

Once players have moved all of the pieces, direct them to the location of one piece when their game is over. For example, the white queen. Wherever it stands once all of the direction have been followed, is the important spot. Match that spot on the printable grid to the important spot giving players a final number.

free printable chess board with three digit combinations in every box.

Completion Certificate

Players use the code from the printable grid, to find the final location, or to unlock a final locked box in the room. Once players go to this place, they will find the final prize or completion certificates. They have successfully completed their escape room at home!

Free copies of the certificates can be found in the Free Resource Library.

competition certificate shows two printable pages.
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