Rope Puzzle

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About: I like to design and build random things.

This is a fun and easy little project to make. I made the main pieces with scrap wood and an old piece of rope. I purchased the wood beads from a craft store but these could have been made from scrap wood blocks as well. The solution is not intuitive so it might be a challenge for your friends and family. See the last step for a solution video.

Similar version on Amazon*

*Amazon Affiliate Link

Step 1: Tools/Materials

Tools:

  • Saw
  • Drill or Drill Press
  • Drill Bits
  • Sander
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Lighter

Materials:

Step 2: Drawing

You will be building two of these pieces.

Step 3: Measure/Mark Wood

I cut the blocks to 5" long. You can make this dimension smaller or larger based off your preference.

Step 4: Cut to Length

Cut two pieces.

Step 5: Mark and Punch Hole Locations

Mark hole locations per the drawing.

Step 6: Drill Holes

Drill 1/2" Diameter Holes per the marks.

Step 7: Small Bead Counter-Bore

I counterbored the small beads to allow a pocket for the knots. This picture shows the top side (counterbore) and bottom side (small hole).

Step 8: Ready to Build

Cut the rope to 14" Long - make two of these. You should now have all the parts to build your puzzle.

Step 9: Gather Pieces for One Section

Step 10: Feed Rope Through Wood As Shown

Step 11: Push Rope Through Large Wood Beads

Step 12: Feed Rope Through Small Bead

I used a lighter to seal the frayed ends of the rope. This allowed the rope to slide through the small hole pretty easy. The counterbore on the small bead should be oriented towards the end of the rope.

Step 13: Tie Knots at the Ends of Rope

Step 14: Cut Off Excess Rope

Step 15: Burn Ends of Rope to Seal

After melting the ends, add a little glue to the beads. Pull the rope into the counterbore of the outer bead.

Step 16: Puzzle Is Ready

Step 17: In Puzzle Form

See the video (next step) to show how to solve it. Reverse the process to get it back in puzzle form.

Step 18: Solution

Enjoy your puzzle!

9 People Made This Project!

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31 Discussions

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BR95510

9 months ago

Our 8-year-old granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed this! We did have to make a few changes that I thought I'd share. The wood size was fine, but the rope was far too short. We made it about 12" per piece enabling a nice knot and finish. We also made the holes in the wood slightly larger so small fingers could easily do the "trick." She didn't share how to solve it until every adult had a chance to try to figure it out! I'm sure this will give her lots of enjoyments! Thanks for the cute instructable!

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BobH160

1 year ago

I love this type of physical puzzle, they also infuriate me sometimes when I can remember how I did them. I found the Horseshoe/ring puzzle in a junk shop but it was separated so I put it back together so they wouldn't lose the bits, took me half an hour as I couldn't remember how I did it

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mtairymdBobH160

Reply 1 year ago

Yeah, I'm the same way. I have multiple puzzles that I've posted on instructables sitting on a table at work. Sometimes I need to go back and look at my own directions to figure out how to solve them :(.

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georgeshaeffer

1 year ago

I've seen this same puzzle done using a slightly loose loop of rope tied around each of their wrists. They are then challenged to separate themselves without untying any of the loops (yes, I solved it - in about 15 seconds).

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pwood2

1 year ago

I have a sneaky and devious mind. I recognized the solution from the photo. Think outside the box! Nice job!

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mtairymdpwood2

Reply 1 year ago

Thanks. Yep, some people see the solution instantly while others never get it.

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wclapiemtairymd

Reply 1 year ago

I'm a never get it apparently. At one time I thought I was intelligent. Go figger.

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wclapie

1 year ago

ARRGGHHH..............! Just got the solution.! I feel slow!

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mtairymdwclapie

Reply 1 year ago

Yeah, some people get it instantly. I've had others that still haven't figure it out.

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mtairymd

1 year ago

I took it to work today. The average solution time was about 5 minutes.

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fzbw9br

1 year ago

I had it figured out as soon as I saw the picture.

I had something very similar in steel!

Nice job!

These things are good fun!

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WannaDuino

1 year ago

super, i just bragging to myself, that i already know the secret. ( NOT )

BUT I WAS WRONG. hahaha i had a pity feeling for a few seconds.

Conclusion! No outside the box thinking for me i think.

awesome tricky

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nanosec12

1 year ago

I loved it so much, I gathered some stuff at work and made one for my team to figure out. Mine wasn't as elegant, but your instructable inspired me to give it a go. BTW none of them could figure it out....

Nicely Done !!

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mtairymdnanosec12

Reply 1 year ago

Thanks. I haven't had anyone figure it out yet either. Although my only subjects are my kids. I will bring it to work tomorrow.

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GordonS3

1 year ago

Makes a great party game using lengths of string tied loosely to people's wrists. Escape by passing string through loop and over hand as with the hole and bead used in the instructable.