Popsicle Stick Puzzle




Introduction: Popsicle Stick Puzzle

About: I am a conceptual artist, and my DIY projects are mostly inspired by pop culture (movies, music, sports, TV). I mostly specialize in painting, graphic design, drawing, digital photography, performance art, a...

If you got popsicle / craft sticks, you've got good use for upcycling them into simple puzzles that even those with tiny hands can handle! Plus, it's easy to assemble, but with a little advanced technology, thanks to your home computer and a little squeeze of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium!

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Step 1: Materials

What you need to do my take on this simple puzzle are...

  • popsicle / craft sticks
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • sponge brush or large paint brush
  • Mod Podge Photo Medium Transfer
  • calloused sponge (not shown)
  • X-acto knife (not shown)
  • Optional: Matte or Gloss Mod Podge

Step 2: Prepare Images

First, you want to prepare your images to transfer onto your sticks. You can make copies of your photographs, greeting cards, or images that you might find in books, magazines, and wherever! When doing this step, make sure that you use a dry toner printer, and also be sure to print your images in reverse, because you're going to be transferring your images onto your sticks.

Step 3: Prepare Sticks

To make the puzzle, depending on the size of your images, arrange your sticks in a straight row, and use masking tape to tape them together so that they stay in place. My images measure 3.5 x 5 inches long, so I used 14 sticks for each one.

Step 4: Photo Transfer

Now, cut out the image, and brush on an even layer of Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium. Then, flip the image over, and lay it face down on the sticks. Now, you have to let them dry for at least 24 hours or overnight so that the images can start to set. It's hard, but it will all be worth it; trust me!

Step 5: Design Reveal

Now, to make the design come out, dampen it using a wet calloused sponge. Let it sit for a few moments, then use either your fingers or the wet sponge to gently rub off the reveal the design.

Step 6: Puzzle Completion

If you want, you can seal it with a bit of Mod Podge. Then, once the glue has set, carefully peel off the tape, and use an X-acto knife to carefully cut the sticks apart to complete your puzzle.

Step 7: Complete

Now, try putting those puzzles together!

I used photo copies of images found in Lisa Eldridge's book "Face Paint: The Story of Makeup". I used a the front cover of a December 1931 issue of Photoplay magazine, and a 1966 Elizabeth Arden lipstick advertisement.

Note: Sorry that mine got messed up a little, because I either didn't let the glue dry, or maybe I didn't really use enough medium. But, other than that, this is all you had to do to make your own puzzles out of craft sticks!

Tip: Make one for someone as a gift. Just make a reverse copy of a birthday or holiday greeting, and have that person assemble it together to reveal the message.

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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Do you just use regular printing paper for the images?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes, but you have to use a dry ink toner / printer to prevent smearing of the ink, and also, your images have to be printed in mirror effect or reverse, because you're using Photo Transfer Medium to transfer to designs onto the sticks or any other wood surface you plan on using.


    3 years ago

    Love it! Can't wait to try it myself! I especially like the idea of sending someone a mystery puzzle. I'm only sorry that my grand daughter's birthday has already passed. She'd love it!