Introduction: Penny Maze

Picture of Penny Maze

I'm presenting here a pocket-sized puzzle in the first of several versions, depending on your skills, materials, tools and target audience.

In every version, though, you drop a small coin in one slot, and need to get it out of the other slot.

This first version is quick and easy to make (it took me less than thirty minutes from idea to finished item), and small enough to keep in a pocket.  It is also perfect for making with children, as a diverting way of filling an afternoon.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

To make the "easy" version, you need thick card, something to cut it, and something to glue it.  If you are using a craft knife to cut the card, a metal ruler is also very handy.

The card needs to be as thick as the coin you design it for.

Almost any glue will do the job - PVA, glue-stick, etc.

Note: when it comes to cutting out the parts of the maze, a laser cutter would be very handy.  It would also make it a lot easier to make larger, more challenging versions.

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design

For the most simple version of this maze, you need three pieces of card, identical in size.  For coins like the US dime or UK 5p piece, something slightly larger than a credit card makes a good size.  Rounded corners will resist damage in your pocket.

In the middle layer, draw a path across the card.  It's up to you whether you include dead-ends or not.

Step 3: Make

Picture of Make

Cut it out, and glue the maze parts to one of the outer layers so that you can test the route.

If you look carefully, you can see in the photos that I had to trim some sections of the maze for the coin to fit - this was largely due to the thickness of the pen I marked the route of the maze, which, in turn, was because the pencil markings didn't show well in the photos.

Once you are happy with the route, glue on the other layer.

As far as Making goes, that's it, but you can also decorate the maze, painting it, or wrapping with coloured paper.


piesafety made it! (author)2014-12-04

Made two, my friends were crazy and I memmorized the maze so money making time!

Kiteman (author)piesafety2014-12-04

Haha, enterprising!

The Science Guy (author)2012-06-23


Going to go and attempt a multi-level one just now!


Kiteman (author)The Science Guy2012-06-23

Ooh! Take pictures!

The Science Guy (author)Kiteman2012-06-24


Once you get to three layers it gets difficult even when you know the route.

Kiteman (author)The Science Guy2012-06-24

That is awesome!

The Science Guy (author)Kiteman2012-06-24


piesafety (author)2014-12-03

how do you make a multi-level maze? i want to make i so help me!

Godd job too.

Kiteman (author)piesafety2014-12-03

See Science Guy's post, or my other maze:

piesafety (author)Kiteman2014-12-03

and what size is the cardboard square you use?

Kiteman (author)piesafety2014-12-04

This one is about 60mm square, but there's no real rule about that.

steveywevey (author)2014-02-12

We build a wooden one in my woodwork shop in my middle school

Kiteman (author)steveywevey2014-02-14

From this instructable? Could you post an "I made it" picture?

emilyvanleemput (author)2012-06-30

I'm deffinitly gonna try this

Kiteman (author)emilyvanleemput2012-06-30

Cool - post a picture when you do!

emilyvanleemput (author)Kiteman2012-06-30

I will :)

Argh, still. need. to. try. this out!!!

safay (author)2013-07-22

Love this project, especially that it reuses waste to make a toy.  I developed this into a Hacker Scouts Open Lab and tried it out this weekend.  Here's a blog post about it.  The kids and parents loved it.  Thanks for the awesome instructable!

Kiteman (author)safay2013-07-22

Oh, that's very cool - how long did they take to make them?

chipper35 (author)2012-11-03

So simple, yet so wonderful!!

Kiteman (author)chipper352012-11-03

Thank you!

Kevin12345 (author)2012-08-20

I saw your instructable this morning and after an hour of work i have one to call my own. It was easy to make when i planned it out on 1/4" graph paper, then glued that to the cardboard and added in walls one at a time. paths are 1" wide and walls are 1/4". The entire thing is 5 1/4" square. It fits a nickel.

Kiteman (author)Kevin123452012-08-20

That's a very nice job!

Rainh2o (author)2012-07-11

This would be a cool stocking stuffer made from small pieces of birch and balsa...great instructible! Voted for both! Good Luck!

Kiteman (author)Rainh2o2012-07-12


milkywaybar (author)2012-07-09

Following a similar concept, you could make a smaller version of This

Cyberscann54 (author)2012-06-28

be even better as a full cube of layers

karlpinturr (author)2012-06-24

Nice, simple and addictive - 3 thumbs-up, minimum.

Couple of questions:

Just how big is it? I suppose it depends how big your pockets are, but if the 5p is 18mm square, I guess the whole thing's about 70mm square overall...?

Which leads into the 2nd question - what's the lateral clearance?

Kiteman (author)karlpinturr2012-06-24

It's actually 60mm square - the clearance around the coin is around 1mm, but if I won a laser cutter*, the clearance would be even less.

*Not that I'm hinting about votes...

kaylaangelkisses (author)Kiteman2012-06-24

What about the cardboard challenge?

Kiteman (author)kaylaangelkisses2012-06-24

That's why I made a sideshow version.

kaylaangelkisses (author)Kiteman2012-06-25

ohh... X3

karlpinturr (author)Kiteman2012-06-24


A laser cutter would be a nice idea...

So might a 3D printer (except, I you'd lose the cardboard)... 

Jayefuu (author)2012-06-23

Is a 3 layer one coming next? That way you could increase difficulty and still keep it small.

Kiteman (author)Jayefuu2012-06-23

That was a fast comment!

Yes, layers will be involved in future versions, as will more durable materials.

gmjhowe (author)Kiteman2012-06-25

Would make for a nice laser cut project too.

Jayefuu (author)gmjhowe2012-06-25

We just had that conversation by PM :)

gmjhowe (author)Jayefuu2012-06-25

Already started drawing up some files!

Kiteman (author)gmjhowe2012-06-25

I have some hand sketches ...

rimar2000 (author)2012-06-24

Genial idea! Is it yours?

My granddaughters will be aMAZEd!

Kiteman (author)rimar20002012-06-24

I saw one that used marbles, once. I thought coins would make the maze easier to handle.

rimar2000 (author)Kiteman2012-06-25

Your improvement has a taste of genius, kiteman. I will do some for my granddaughters (please think something soon to simplify this last word).

ravenking (author)2012-06-24

What a clever idea! It seems like a fun project. :)

Kiteman (author)ravenking2012-06-24

Yes, it is.

ravenking (author)2012-06-24

What a clever idea! It seems like a fun project. :)

BLUEBLOBS2 (author)2012-06-23

Very cool! You say it's pocket-sized? Enter it in the pocket-sized contest!

Kiteman (author)BLUEBLOBS22012-06-24

Already entered, just waiting to be accepted.

colorex (author)2012-06-23

I would freak out in pain trying to solve one of these...

Kiteman (author)colorex2012-06-23

This small version proved quite easy for Kitewife & Conker-X, but more challenging versions are coming.

colorex (author)Kiteman2012-06-23

Well, if you say so... But working blind and deaf is really frustrating for me.

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
More by Kiteman:Fallen Astronaut 2Custom laser cut metal business cardsDashboard Phone Stand
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