Make Your Own Photo Puzzle With Craft Sticks

I have to say, I have the cutest nieces and nephews! My own kids are getting older–thank goodness my sisters keep me in babies.

I got to borrow some photos from my sister for this project, I made the puzzles for my three year old niece.

These are her pesky twin brothers:

She has had a blast playing with the puzzles, and matching up the colors on the back of the pieces.

Here is what you will need to make your own puzzles:

Select the photos you would like to use for the project. I found that close-up photos worked best.

For each photo, you will need 5 craft sticks of the same color.

You will want to dig through the box of craft sticks to find the ones that are the straightest.

Apply adhesive to the back of your photos. I like to use my Xyron to get a nice even coat of adhesive that doesn’t dry out on me while I am working.

Keep in mind, the entire 4″ side of your 4×6 photo will not be used. It will be trimmed down approximately 1/4″. Determine which side of the photo you will not mind cropping.

With this photo, I decided there was enough room for cropping above the heads of my nephews.

Turn the photo over, and working with the end that you DO NOT want to crop, begin placing the craft sticks on the photo.

Adhere the craft sticks close together, but leave a slight gap–enough to run a craft knife between the sticks.

When you have all the sticks adhered to the back of the photo, place it on top of a self-healing mat, and run your craft blade along the craft sticks.

Trim the ends of the photos as well:

Repeat for all your photos.

To make the puzzles more challenging for older children, you could always use a selection of black and white photos.

The great thing about these puzzles is the coordinating colors on the back of the photos. If a child gets “stumped” they can always resort to matching up colors. If you wanted to do a lot of photos, you could add patterns to the colored backs for more variety.

My niece thought it was hilarious to make “monsters.”

She combined pieces of her photos, and her brothers to make custom faces.

Pretty creative girl!

I found a perfect box to keep everything contained for only two bucks.


A great way to turn your custom puzzles into a fantastic gift.

Do you have a family reunion this summer?

This project would be a fun way to help children recognize and  memorize extended family faces.

Good entertainment for a road trip!

Add magnets to the backs of the craft sticks for fun on the kitchen fridge!

Many options– all quick and best of all, inexpensive.

About Shaunte

Shaunte is a 30-something, chocolate-loving, SAHM from Utah. She has been scrapbooking since 1997, the dreaded era of photos cropped with deco scissors. Since then, her work has evolved into a clean, linear, photo-focused style. Her favorite subjects to scrap are her husband and five kids (never a lack for subject material there).


  1. Win Yo says

    Such great idea. I got plenty of this craft stick but I don’t know what to do with it.
    Now I should start working with this fabulous idea. Thank you! 😀

  2. Crafting Marfa says

    This is so fun! Even for a adult it looks like a fun little surprise gift, maybe inside a birthday card. I will definitely scraplift this idea :-)

  3. NikiMeiners says

    Must say that this is super fun idea. I know my toddler will love it. Plus I think it is a great idea to use with photos of our out of town relatives.

  4. KimM says

    LOVE this idea! I can’t wait to make a few sets of these for my nephews and nieces… I think it will be a fun way to keep them all familiar with some of the faces that live a little too far away for frequent visits, too. (Like Aunt Kim!)


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