Traditional puzzles can sometimes be a little too puzzling for tiny thinkers. Time to simplify! Make puzzle time less frustrating and more fun by giving your kids pieces to something they really understand — their own faces! Follow these simple instructions to make your own photo puzzle out of popsicle sticks.

What you’ll need

Jumbo-sized craft (popsicle) sticks, assorted colors

Ruler (optional, for helping you cut straight edges)

Crafting knife

Glue or adhesive sheets (Both work, but adhesive strips work better if you have them.)

4X6 or 5X7 photos

Step 1: Put adhesive (or glue) onto your photo

Place your photo on top of a sheet of adhesive paper and cut the paper to match the photo. Then, peel back the lining and stick the adhesive onto the back of your photo.

Note: If you don’t have adhesive strips, glue or Mod Podge works fine (though it can get messy — and takes longer). Just apply the glue to each craft stick, one at a time, then adhere each to the back of photo. When the glue is completely dry, move on to step 3.

Step 2: Press on the popsicle sticks 

Peel back the lining on the adhesive paper so that the entire back of your photo is sticky. Then, arrange your craft sticks across the length of the photo, leaving a very small space between each craft stick so that you’ll be able to get your knife through.

Step 3: Cut between the craft sticks

Run your crafting knife between the craft sticks, making sure to so on a cutting board or other knife-friendly surface.

Step 4: Trim the edges

Trim the edges of the photos so they align with the craft sticks. Then, turn your puzzle over and see the final product!

Step 5: Make more!

Want to stump your little problem-solver? Make a few photo puzzles and mix them all together. Kids will love seeing familiar faces chopped up (in the nicest way!) and laid out on the table.
More ideas

Want more ideas on what to do with your photo puzzles? Try these:

Got a newbie counter? Put numbers on each craft stick and let her put the picture together using the numbers.

Is there a show your kiddo can’t stop watching? Print out some of those favorite faces and make custom character puzzles!

Want your kids to remember all those far-off cousins? Make puzzles of the whole gang and bring out the pieces before big family get-togethers.

Do you have a favorite puzzle? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

—all copy and photos by Melissa Heckscher

*This post was inspired by a similar photo puzzle project at

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