customized crossword puzzleI’ll be honest, I’m not thrilled with the finish of this customized crossword puzzle. In fact, I’ve been debating whether to share it at all. But someone smart told me, that even though the finish isn’t perfect, it’s still quite a sweet idea.  And who knows, maybe someone will take the concept and make it better! So, I’m going to go for it! Here is our take on how to make a Customized Crossword Puzzle!

The couple who we made this gift for, loves crossword puzzles. So we decided to make a themed one based some of the places they have been together. The idea is to make the clues based on their memories (but you can make a generic one too) and create a quick game to play together. To complete the gift, we added keychains from some of the places they have been too.

DIY Crossword Puzzle

Time: 2+ hours (depending on how many clues you use)

Budget: Low


  • Small board/ canvas
  • Paints
  • Plain paper
  • Thin and thick black markers
  • Scale
  • Light Pencil

Personalised Crossword Puzzle with key chain

The first part of making a customized crossword puzzle is to make the clues and the puzzle. What I like to do is,

  1. List all the answers that I would like to include in the puzzle
  2. Look up an automatic crossword generator online (yes, that’s a thing and it’s free, so check it out!) and enter the words in it.
  3. Download the grid made by the generator and write out personalised clues for each of the answers.

If you don’t feel like using a program, you can try placing the words, by writing it out on a piece of paper. But, this does take a little more time.

making a crossword puzzle

Once the crossword puzzle is ready, we can start putting it all together:

  1. Count the number of alphabets and spaces (horizontal and vertical) in your puzzle. Mine had 15 squares horizontally and 15 vertically.
  2. From the bottom of the canvas, draw a grid of 15 x 15 squares. This can be adjusted according to the size of your puzzle and the number of letters. All you need to do is measure the length and width of your canvas board and divide it by the number of squares you need.
  3. Write out the puzzle in pencil, within the squares.
  4. Paint the rest of the grid. You can rub out the line and then paint it in or you can let the grid shine through as well. I went for a ombre sort of effect (Yes, I’m a bit obsessed with the effect) in blues and green.
  5. Paint the upper and bottom portions in a lighter colour, so that the puzzle gets highlighted.
  6. Paint a thick line of black above and below the crossword puzzle.
  7. Once the paint has dried, use a marker or black paint to draw black outlines for the answer squares.
  8. Mark out the numbers on your puzzle. Be careful with this and double check it against the clues.
  9. Rub out the answers.
  10. To finish up, give your customized crossword puzzle a great title and you’re all done!

Personalised travel crossword puzzle

Now for the clues sheet, you can either go customised with a printed list or add a separate board with the clues or give a scroll with the details. Whatever you like. I wanted to attach it to the board itself, so I wrote them out on a piece of paper and stuck it on the back of the canvas. The back is also a useful space to pen down any messages!travel crossword puzzle canvasDid you like this DIY on making your own Customized Crossword Puzzle? Let me know who you would like to make this for and what theme you would use, in the comments below!