Escape Room Puzzle Ideas For Making At Home Escape Game

Yes, you can create an escape room game for your friends and family!

Escape Room Puzzle Ideas Escape Room Puzzle Ideas

Are you planning an escape room party? Do you want to dazzle your friends with fun puzzles? Preparing an unusual date night? Making an escape game for your kid’s birthday? There are many reasons why you might be looking for a list of great escape room puzzles. Let us help you. We created many real life escape games, printable escape games and online games. Here is our list of escape room puzzles you can easily make at home.

There are many elements to what makes a great escape game. You have to mix and match different activities and puzzles, the difficulty of puzzles has to be just right, you have to test your puzzles, and the puzzles need to make sense for the theme or story.

The Best DIY Escape Room Puzzles.

Great for making escape room games at home.

Assemble a map

Visual Puzzle (free)

Ripped Map Puzzle

This map is part of our printable escape game Pirate’s Quest . You can use it as is, or disassemble it to make it more challenging for your crew.

If a map is one of your clues, rip it apart into several pieces and hide them in different locked places. Once the players locate all the pieces they will need to put the map back together.

This type of visual puzzle can work with other elements of your escape room game. You can disassemble a letter, a note, or a picture.

Escape Game Map

Fold a page

Paper manipulation puzzle (free)

Escape Paper Puzzle

The best part about paper manipulation puzzles is the element of surprise. We have some interesting surprises in the Gatekeeper escape game.

When you fold paper and all of a sudden a secret message is revealed it’s a great "Wow!" moment for the players. The folding doesn’t have to be complex. You can take a piece of paper, fold it twice in a sloppy accordion style, then write your secret message or code. Then flatten the paper back to a regular page, add some more markings or letters and make the lines on the creases of paper. Use a sharpie and make lines along your creases in one color. Make some other lines in another color. Now use the hot iron to get rid of the creases; or you can fold it in other ways and make more creases. Just make sure it’s not immediately known in which way the paper needs to be folded.

All that’s left to do to make this page into a puzzle is to give the players a clue about how they need to fold it. Maybe it’s a riddle written in the color of the needed lines.

Morse code puzzles

Morse code puzzles can make the game feel real!

Morse Code Puzzle

Morse code paper puzzle (free)

Using morse code works best if it makes sense for the theme of your game. If the story for your escape room is set in the early 19th century, any of the world wars, or being lost at sea morse code will fit right in! As with all the puzzles there are many ways of doing a morse code puzzle. You can simply write down the message using code, and hide the morse code key somewhere.

Morse Code Puzzle Decoder

Pro Hint: Take morse code puzzles to a greater visual level and instead of a regular morse code key, give your players this beautiful Morse Code Decoder .

Morse code simulation puzzle (free)

You can use a simulation generator and record the morse code. You can save your recording and leave it as a clue on a flashdrive.

You can use a light morse code simulation, there are plenty of apps for that. For example Flashlight with Morse Code.

Pro Hint: If doing a morse code simulation, make the message short! Possibly make it be just the numbers! It’s tough to be decoding real morse code without the training. Remember, your goal is to make fun puzzles for your friends.

Morse Code Physical Puzzle

Morse code physical puzzle ($12.99)

You can also make a morse code into a physical puzzle. Just get a DIY Morse Code Bracelet . Makes for an unusual souvenir after your party.

Hidden message puzzles

UV light puzzle ($5 to $10)

Black Light Puzzle

Many stores have UV lights and UV markers .

Are you having a detective escape room party? Then you might want to do the UV light puzzle. If the UV light puzzle makes sense for your theme it is a lot of fun. There is always an awesome "Aha!" moment when a message is revealed, even though many players know what will happen. 😀

What to write with a UV marker? Of course it can be a simple message or a clue for the next step in your escape room. However, it would be best, if you could imagine why this text or code is written in UV markers? Maybe it’s not the text, but the pattern of geometric shapes which simulates a high tech virus. Or maybe it’s the footprints of some extraterrestrial being, which naturally leaves a footprint visible in UV light. Or maybe it’s a magical light, and the UV light is a magic wand.

Labyrinth puzzle

Labyrinths can be easily made into puzzles.

Labyrinth Puzzle

Paper labyrinth puzzle (free)

Make a labyrinth on a piece of paper and place the correct letters or numbers along the correct route. There are many labyrinth templates available online or draw one yourself.

Physical labyrinth puzzle (about $8.99)

How about making a labyrinth on the floor of your living room using some masking tape? Get some gold masking tape and your labyrinth is a perfect Minotaur Labyrinth, green masking tape and it’s the English gardens. Name the locations and puzzles that you make with appropriate names for your theme and it will make the game much more immersive. The players will play along, you’ll see.

Escape Game Maze

Logic puzzles

Logic puzzles give players a great sense of accomplishment when solved.

Logic Position Puzzle

Include at least one logic puzzle in your escape room game. It doesn’t have to be a difficult puzzle to be fun. It can be something like finding the missing elements, or identifying the position of something.

Logical position puzzle(free)

For example, imagine you are making a puzzle for a mad tea party from Alice in Wonderland. Gather 5 different looking tea cups. The cups need to be different in size or color, for our example they can be five different colors. Let’s say the answer to the puzzle is the word MAGIC, write a letter inside of each cup with a washable marker. Then create a clue with directions of how the cups must be positioned.

  • The pink cup has only one neighbor.
  • The brown cup has to be standing to the right of the grey cup.
  • The blue cup next to a pink cup.
  • The yellow cup is to the right of the pink cup and to the left of the brown cup.
The answer doesn’t have to be a word, it can be a number combination for a lock.

Real life hidden objects puzzle

Find what’s missing puzzle (free)

Hidden Object Puzzle

Pack an old suitcase with clothes. Take a photo and leave it as a clue. Then take some items out from the suitcase and lock it. Once the players unlock the suitcase, they can compare the contents with the photo. And based on what’s missing, find the next clue. For example, the photo has shoes, and they are missing from the suitcase. The word “shoes” can be the answer in the wordlock.

Pro Hint: Good clueing in escape rooms is as important as the puzzles themselves. It should be clear to the players which place the answer to the puzzle unlocks. For example with this suitcase puzzle, maybe the locked place should have a photo of the closed suitcase taped to it.

Cipher puzzles

Ciphers can add mystery to your game.

Cipher Puzzle

Cipher puzzles on paper (free)

The cipher puzzle consists of two parts: the message written in cipher and the cipher key - the directions for how to decipher the message. We love ciphers and there are a lot of them: the Caesar shift, pigpen, hieroglyphs. When making your own escape room at home and writing a message in a cipher, it’s important not to make your secret message too long. Ciphers are fun, if you use them sparingly.

Egyptian Cipher Puzzle

Translation puzzle (free - $9.99)

Pick a cipher that makes sense for your story. Are you creating a game about Egypt? Then using hieroglyphs is a perfect fit. You can find inexpensive and nice-looking hieroglyph decoding sheets on Amazon, like this one , or you can find an image of such sheet and just print it out.

Substitution Cipher Puzzle

Pro Hint: You can make your own cipher wheel. Here is a great and fun example .

Substitution cipher puzzle (free)

Cipher puzzles can be a simple translation like with hieroglyphs where a picture is equal to a letter. Caesar shift cipher is an example of a substitution cipher in which each letter is replaced by a letter some fixed number of positions down the alphabet. For example with a left shift of 3, D would become A.

Puzzles and mirrors

Mirror puzzles create nice reveal moments

Mirror Text Puzzle

Backwards text puzzle (free)

Mirror puzzles are great. You can do a style of puzzle where the text on your poster is written backwards. It would be best to use a cursive font for it. This is so it wouldn’t be easy to read it without the mirror. Then when the players find a hand held mirror, they can look at the text through the mirror and easily read it.

Mirror Fog Puzzle

Foggy mirror puzzle (free)

This one works great for the horror style escape room. Maybe a good one to try during Halloween. You can use the technique below to write your message on the bathroom’s mirror. Then you’ll need to direct the players to turn on hot water, when they do your message will appear. Scary ...

Check out this tutorial on how to do it.

Ready to finish your escape game?

We hope this list inspires you and you are ready to create an awesome escape game for your friends and family. Creating escape games is a lot of fun and a great deal of hard work. Share with us what you made! We would love to see it.

Want to play printable escape game right now?

Designing escape games is fun, but a lot of hard work. If you want to quickly enjoy an escape game with your friends, check out our ready to play games.

Pirate's Quest - Printable Escape Game

Pirate's Quest

Kids - Great for 10 - 14 year olds

Follow the pirate’s footsteps and find the treasure!

Pirate's Quest Birthday Pack- Printable Escape Game

Pirate's Quest - Birthday Pack

Party Fun - Great for kids

Arrr! Birthday party fun! Pirate escape game plus invitations and tons of posters.

Gatekeeper- Printable Escape Game


Adults and Teens - Family Friendly

Magical mystery set in a strange Victorian house full of secrets and puzzles.