Bead String Puzzle Header

DIY Bead & String Puzzle

We love a good brain teaser here at Maths Week Scotland, and in today's craft activity you can get hands on with your very own DIY bead & string puzzle. First you'll need to make it, then you'll need to solve it! You can get the kids involved in both parts. Trying to solve the puzzle will encourage logical thinking, as well as nurturing patience and fine motor skills.

Watch our short video, or scroll down for detailed written instructions.

Making the puzzle

You will need:

  • a piece of cardboard, ca. 8cm x 16cm
  • a pair of scissors
  • a piece of string, ca. 40cm long
  • a large bead
Bead puzzle 01

Start by making three holes in the cardboard, equidistant from each other.

Bead puzzle 02

Then fold the string in half, push the end loop through the centre hole and the string ends through the loop.

Bead puzzle 03
Bead puzzle 04

Thread the bead on to one end of the string.

Bead puzzle 05

Finally, thread the ends of the string through the outer holes, and make a knot in the ends on the back of the cardboard.

Bead puzzle 06

Solving the puzzle

To solve the puzzle, you need to move the bead from one side to the other.

Bead puzzle 07

SPOILER ALERT! Don't scroll down unless you want the solution.











First, pull down the loop in the middle, and thread the bead through the loop.

Bead puzzle 08
Bead puzzle 09
Bead puzzle 10

Then, grasp the two threads of string in front of the centre hole, and pull them forwards until the loop comes through the hole.

Bead puzzle 11
Bead puzzle 12

Now move the bead along the string and through the loop past the centre hole, then pull the loop from behind back through to the back.

Bead puzzle 13
Bead puzzle 14
Bead puzzle 16

Finally, move the bead along the rest of the string to the other side, then straighten out the string. Done!

Bead puzzle 17
Bead puzzle 18

Have you tried your hand at making and solving our bead & string puzzle? We'd love to hear about it! Please feel free to tag us on Twitter or Facebook, and use the hashtag #MathsWeekScot.

Latest News

Jo Jo Gnome 2023 Preview 450x675

JoJo Gnome and the Shape Map

If you are looking for some early years fun with shapes then Jo Hall has a new story for you. In 'JoJo Gnome and The Shape Map’, the little Scottish gnome goes for a walk finding shapes outdoors, perfect for this year’s ‘Maths In Motion’ theme.

View details

Upcoming Events

14 GMRC Generic 1st Jan-31st Dec

Ancient Egyptian Maths and Science

Glasgow Museums Resource Centre All day £45 (Free for Glasgow schools)

Schools workshop. Work in groups to solve problems faced by the Ancient Egyptian thousands of years ago, learn to measure and weigh just like they did, and handle objects they made.

View details