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The Dos & Don’ts of Designing Your Own Escape Room

The Dos & Don’ts of Designing Your Own Escape Room

If you love an escape room but now find yourself having completed all of the ones available in your local area, why not consider designing your own for your friends, family or co-workers?

While you may think it sounds too complicated having to come up with your own story, clues and hiring the necessary equipment, in fact, it can be anything but.

By utilising a little bit of time, effort and creative thinking, it can actually be incredibly easy to create an escape room that is not only personalised to you and your interests but will also be a lot of fun for your friends and family to take part in.

However, it’s important to mention that there are a few key things you’ll need to think about when nailing the escape room’s design. Listed below are some of the main dos and don’ts to consider before you get started.

Do: Design your escape room with a theme in mind

When designing your escape room, it’s important to think about three key areas: first, the story you are trying to tell. Second, the objective of the escape. And, third, the clues that are needed in order to fulfil the objective.

So, starting with the story, this will need to follow a theme of some sort. Whether you’re looking to base it on one of your favourite films, a particular hobby or an entirely fictional world you’re trying to create, you’ll need to create a backstory and a variety of characters.

This, in turn, will set the vibe for the escape room, helping immerse the group before the actual escape can officially begin.

Don’t: Overcomplicate it

The best escape rooms tend to be those that are relatively simple in terms of their design and story. So, while you may be tempted to make it as complicated as possible, this could make it less enjoyable for the participating group.

To avoid this becoming the case, create a game flow chart to provide yourself with a bigger picture of how players will progress throughout the game.

As a result of this, you will then be able to identify any potential areas where the group could need a helping hand, as well as the key entry points for extra games and puzzles, keeping their level of engagement up for as long as possible.

Do: Choose the right clues and equipment

Put simply, the equipment, clues and puzzles you use could make or break your escape room. So, it’s important to think carefully about which ones are best suited to your theme.

If, for example, you are looking to organise a zombie apocalypse escape room for an outdoor wedding, consider the equipment you’re likely to have at your disposal. From mirrors to ropes to audio clues to scrolls to knives, think about how you could use these related items to help your group identify the clues. 

The knife, for instance, could cut open a wedding cake to reveal a clue, while hosting the event in a hired marquee tent could provide the event with the right look and feel.

Whatever the theme is for your DIY escape room, use the list of clues and puzzle ideas below to help identify the best matches:

  • Hidden objects
  • Using mathematics
  • Pattern recognition
  • Mirrors
  • Riddles
  • Invisible ink
  • Jigsaws
  • Ciphers
  • Ropes and knots
  • Strategic thinking
  • Photos and images
  • Word puzzles
  • Communication devices (i.e. walkie talkies or radios)

Don’t: Forget About The Invites

Once your escape room has been designed and is all ready to go, it can be easy to forget about the key method of actually generating interest. Therefore, it’s important to create your invitations with this in mind, matching the theme of the escape room you have designed.

Whether it be for a birthday, anniversary, christening, wedding or leaving do, whatever the event may be, think about how many people your escape room will be suited for and organise the invitations to suit. That way, you will be able to prepare your guests well in advance and drum up a lot more excitement by utilising the right marketing methods.

Do: Have a lot of fun!

The final and most important thing to do once your escape room is all set up and ready to go is to enjoy watching all your hard work pay off, seeing all your friends, family members, colleagues or loved ones struggling to break through the puzzles you’ve set for them.Then, after the event has finished, make sure you don’t lose your creative momentum, by either getting started on designing your next one as soon as possible or using our escape room finder for further inspiration.