This is how to make a crossword puzzle with pencil and paper

8. May 2021 - Alexander Schmidt

How to Create a Crossword Puzzle as a Gift Voucher | Tutorial


Geschenke finden bei Abenteuer Freundschaft


A personal gift puzzle is a fun surprise and an original form of voucher for an experience gift. Here you can find out how to create a crossword puzzle yourself.

Whoever you want to give a gift to, whether it’s a good friend, your own child, your partner or anyone else, they’re sure to enjoy a surprise that you’ve made a real effort with.

Puzzle fans will love the idea of having their own personal crossword puzzle anyway, but really, anyone would love to receive something they’ve made especially for them.

I recently made such a crossword puzzle for a friend, whereby the puzzle was only part of the gift, namely the specifically designed voucher. The actual main gift is a shared experience – the recipient can choose which one. The only condition is that it has to do with at least one of the solution words of the crossword puzzle.

This is how to make a crossword puzzle

The birthday child doing the puzzle…

How to Create a Crossword Puzzle – Material List

There are various ways for how to create a crossword puzzle and there are also service providers online who offer to make one for you. However, being a fan of DIY, I preferred to set to work on it myself and then craft it to my liking. Here is my list of materials* in the order I needed things.

How to Create a Crossword Puzzle

There are basically two ways to design a crossword puzzle:

  • Either everything boils down to exactly one solution word that matters.
  • Or all the words play a role.

1. Determine the Solution Word or Words

The puzzle can now be constructed accordingly. You start by determining the solution word or words. Because I wanted the presentee to have a choice right from the start, and therefore several words would be important, I first collected the following terms: Stage, performance, concert, cinema, tasting, boat trip, museum and Teufelsberg.

2. How to Design the Crossword Puzzle

A pre-drawn concept helps how to make a crossword puzzle

My pre-drawn crossword puzzle

Personally, I just went at it with scratch paper and pencil and that’s how the crossword puzzle gradually came into being. I had a lot of fun doing it because it is a creative task to think about how the words fit together. Sometimes I changed the terms slightly to make them fit, and a whole series of terms only occurred to me when I was drawing the puzzle, because they fitted well as connections.

Stage became “Schaubühne”, cinema became the plural “Kinos” and instead of “Bootsfahrt” (boat trip) I used the word “Reederei” (shipping company). You can see the result in the photo. (By the way, if you’re wondering what a meat course is… It’s a special cooking course where you learn everything about the perfect preparation of meat ;-))

If this sounds too complicated for you, I have good news for you: there are free tools for doing crosswords yourself on the internet! Here at is a comparison of 3 of them.

3. How to Transfer the Grid for the Puzzle Onto Sound Paper

Grid on clay paper for this how to make a crossword puzzle

Neatly drawn grid

Next, I drew a rectangular box around the entire crossword and now counted how many boxes the size of the letter boxes it has in width and in length. The result was 19 by 15. Now I measured the clay paper and calculated a scale in which such a grid would fit on it. I came up with boxes of 1.9 x 1.9 cm. (Unfortunately, 2 cm would not have fit).

Next, measure the appropriate number of boxes on each edge of the paper and make pencil marks. Now you need a really long ruler to connect the pencil marks.

Note: It is best to start in the top right corner, but bear in mind that there will probably be some overhang on the left and bottom edges.

4. Cut Out the Crossword Puzzle and Number the Word Beginnings

Next, I cut out the crossword puzzle along the outer edges of the words. Special care is needed here, as you are not entering the words, so you only have the template to guide you.

I hatched the inner gaps between the words with a pencil. Then I numbered the word beginnings from right to left for the vertical words and from top to bottom for the horizontal words and transferred them to the corresponding boxes with different coloured pencils.

5. Glue the Crossword Puzzle Onto the Background

Crossword puzzle as a gift voucher

Finished is the crossword puzzle as a gift voucher.

This step is very easy, but you have to be careful not to slip when gluing. I used standard paper glue and a dark blue cardboard background.

6. Think About Questions and Write Them on a Card

Made-up question for a crossword puzzle

Making up questions is also part of doing a crossword puzzle yourself

I wrote the questions for the solution words into a blank foldable card made of the same lightly marbled paper as the crossword itself. On the front I simply wrote “Happy Birthday”. When you open it up, the numbered questions for the vertical terms are on the left, and the horizontal ones are on the right.

Because I knew the recipient would appreciate it, I made the questions quite “around the corner thinking”, but of course that’s up to everyone. For children or people you are not sure if they like to puzzle, they should of course be easier.

But I guarantee you: even if you are not one of them, you will have great fun doing the crossword yourself and so will the person who gets to solve it! 😉

How to make a crossword puzzle wih pencil and paper

Filling in with crayons is the nicest

By the way, I also wrote a post about Birthday Puzzles for Adults where you can find some more inspiration for gift puzzles.

Bestseller Nr. 1
Bestseller Nr. 2
Bestseller Nr. 3
Math Crossword Puzzle
Math Crossword Puzzle
- Use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to complete the math puzzle; - Multiplication or Division should be calculated first, and then addition or subtraction
Bestseller Nr. 4
Bestseller Nr. 10
The Times Big Book of Quick Crosswords Book 2: 300 World-Famous Crossword Puzzles (The Times Crosswords)
The Times Big Book of Quick Crosswords Book 2: 300 World-Famous Crossword Puzzles (The Times Crosswords)
Harper Collins Paperbacks; The Times Mind Games, . (Author)
11,20 EUR Amazon Prime

On our website you can also find tips for a scavenger hunt for adults and other birthday ideas. In general, you will find many ideas for activities with friends, activities with children or with your partner.

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*These are referral links. If you order something through them, we receive a small commission without the product becoming more expensive for you. This way you can support us.

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