Clever String Puzzle

Clever Engineering, Quick Crafts


we love this physical riddle! it’s a brain-teaser that you have to figure out with your hands.

15 minutes

maker checklist

  • cardboard (about 4″ x 9″)
  • hole punch, scissors, or awl
  • yarn or cord (about 30″)
  • bead, spool, or ring



punch 3 holes in the cardboard rectangle, equidistant from each other. make the holes large enough so they will fit 3 or 4 thicknesses of the cord you are using.


fold the cord in half and thread through the middle hole.


loop the ends back through the fold in the cord, so it is loosely secured around the cardboard.


slip a bead or spool on one of the free ends.


thread each free end of cord through an outer hole. leave plenty of slack in the cord, and secure at the back with a knot.


THE PUZZLE. pass the bead from the left-hand loop to the right-hand loop.

CLUE. think about different ways to pass the *yarn* through the hole, rather than fitting the *bead* through the hole.