Valentines Day Puzzle Box Of Chocolates

escapless in seattle valentines day
Do you have a sweetie who loves puzzles? Or do they just like them a little bit but you want to make them work for that box of chocolates? Then I have the project for you!

The first thing to make is the puzzle portion, which will then be transferred to the puzzle box. Otherwise… it’s just a box.
For this project I want to make a puzzle that will take just a minute to solve. The three puzzles on the outside of the box will lead to the three numbers for the lock combination to open it. Below all the puzzles are reversed for easy transfer. Use a laser jet printer for the best transfers. Just right click and save the photos for your project.

Step 1: Print Puzzles

Print out the designs. Just right click the photo to save them and print on a laser printer for best results. Make sure the pictures are reversed so they transfer correctly.

Puzzle #1

A letter scramble, reversed so we can use Mod Podge to transfer the ink to the box. This unscrambles to say “THREE”.

Puzzle #2 Counting Six Roses

Puzzle #3 Counting 2 Arrows

Puzzle Key: (Reversed, to transfer with Mod Podge)

The final code will be 326.

Rebus Puzzle

Which translate to Eye Heart You. Again the image is reversed for transfer.


  • Rotary Tool *refer to safety instructions that come with the tool


Step 2: Stain

Put on your safety goggles and gloves and stain the wood box. Use a foam brush to wipe on the stain, let it sit for about 30 seconds and then use a clean rag to wipe off the stain. Multiple coats, once the stain dries, will become darker. If the stain is left on the book, it will become sticky.

Step 3: Add the Transfers

Using the methods from our last blog, “How To Make An Egyptian Puzzle Box” you can see how to transfer the images with Mod Podge.

When adding the transfers, make sure not to get too much Mod Podge over the split between the boxes or it will glue together. A strip of masking tape will prevent this from happening. I found some cool frames to print via Graphics Fairy (an amazing site for clip art). Print out the mirror image of the art you want to add on either an inkjet or toner printer. If you have an image you want to use, consider the direction you want it to face; you may have to flip it in a photo program like Photoshop or Paint.

Paint an even coating of matte Mod Podge on the area you want to lay the graphics and then use the roller to lay the graphic ink side down. Make sure to push out all the bubbles. I recommend practicing on some scrap wood to test your method first. Let the Mod Podge dry fully, around 24 hours. Rushing may cause the image to fail, but to speed up the process, you may also use a hair dryer. Use a damp sponge and rub off the paper but leave the ink. Take your time, this is a tricky process and takes practice and patience.

Step 4: Personal Touch

Add a photo of you and your sweetie- I just glued it on and coated it with our Mod Podge. This photo features Dr. Jebidiah Carter and his wife, Rhoda Camile Carter, from Rise of the Mad Pharaoh. I ran the photo through the Prisma app and used the “Hunter” filter to create an oil painting look. It’s a fun way to match the old style of the box art.

Here is the puzzle portion that gives the code to the lock.

Step 5: Extra Details

Add an inside photo. I used a classic Valentine from a great site.

Then add chocolates! I can neither confirm nor deny that myself and my assistant ate the missing chocolates.
(Image(s) courtesy

About the Author

When not wearing a paper pirate hat and making silly faces, Seth Wolfson is the co-owner and creative director of Hourglass Escapes in Seattle. He has been in the film and theme park industry since 1989 and has worked for Universal Studios, Disney, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Wax Figure Shop, and more. His work can be seen at makeupfxartist and you can hear him speak on art, make-up effects and escape rooms on the podcast Original Lines episode #5 or on an episode of “So you’re in Seattle” with Gregr and 107.7 The End. See his other blogs here.

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