How to Make a Rebus Puzzle

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    A rebus puzzle uses pictures instead of words to tell a story. The pictures have pronunciations very similar to those of the words they replace, and a reader can identify the pictures in order to "read" the rebus story. Historians believe that rebus puzzles date back to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, and a story told in rebus form can often resemble the intricate, illustrated texts of ancient Egyptians. Read on to learn more.

    Choose a story you would like to tell in rebus form. Think about the words in the story that you can represent using pictures.

    Draw pictures of objects whose names sound like the words or parts of words they represent. For example, a picture of an eye can represent the word "I," a picture of a deer can stand for the word "dear," or a picture of a car tire can stand for the second syllable in a word like "entire."

    Use large capital letters instead of pictures. Enclose a letter in quotation marks to indicate that the reader should say the name of the letter. A capital letter without quotations marks indicates phonetic pronunciation. Thus, "B" would indicate the word "bee," while B would indicate the "b" sound in a word like "bring."

    Highlight only a part of a picture with an arrow if you want the reader to focus only on a particular detail. For example, in a picture of a rainstorm, focus a reader on the word "drop" by using an arrow to point to one raindrop.

    Use the plus sign to indicate that several pictures go together to make one word. Thus, "D" plus a picture of a light would indicate the word "delight."

    Tell the reader to replace one letter of a word with another by using the equal sign. For example, a picture of a tent accompanied by "t=w" indicates the word "went."

    • Create rebus puzzles and stories that double as works of art. Use high-quality colored images, and glue them to fine, heavy paper.
    • Look for rebuses in old heraldic imagery. Some ancient coats of arms use rebuses to indicate the names of the families they represent.