Printable Secret Decoder Wheel

| Kids Fun, Printables

Use this FREE DIY printable decoder wheel to send & receive secret messages without anyone being the wiser. A great resource for teachers and homeschoolers for spelling practice, math, writing activities, word work, etc. Also makes a wonderful addition to spy theme parties.

Printable secret decoder wheel.

Printable Secret Decoder Wheel – Attention all secret agents! Your secret decoder wheel has arrived and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to send and receive secret messages to your friends without anyone being the wiser. No one will be able to decode your messages unless they have the secret key.

This is a super fun play activity for kids but also a useful resource for teachers, homeschoolers and parents. The secret decoder wheels could easily be used for math skills, spelling practice, writing activities, word work and more. They are also great for secret agent spy birthday theme parties or a secret treasure hunt. Think of all the possibilities!

Printable Secret Decoder Wheel Instructions


  1. Cut out the circles below and stack in order from the number 1 wheel on the bottom, then number 2 wheel and finally number 3 wheel on the top.
  2. Attach the three discs by carefully poking a round brad fastener (or thumb tack with an eraser behind) through the middle of all three wheels.


  1. Pick a letter on the outer wheel and a number in the inner circle – this is your key (ex. M21). Turn the inner wheel so that the number (21 in our example) lines up with the out wheel letter (M in our example). On our wheel 21 also corresponds with R in the shaded section. Don’t move the wheels now, keep them in place.
  2. First, write your message. No numbers (write them out), and no punctuation.
  3. For each letter of your message, find that character on the outer wheel, and write down the letter that is exactly beneath it on the inner wheel until your message is complete.
  4. To read the encrypted message get the key from the message sender and align the wheel – keep the wheel in this position. For each letter of your message, find that character on the inner wheel, and write down the letter that is exactly above it on the outer wheel.

Secret decoder wheel printable.

Download your printable secret decoder wheel with instructions here.

Looking for more crafty stuff for kids: Mandala Coloring PageRainbow Loom Perler Bead BraceletsBlank Faces Coloring PageJellyfish Friendship Bracelets10-Minute Superhero CostumePrintable Robot Coloring Page Family Movie Night Tickets


18 Comments on Printable Secret Decoder Wheel

  1. Claudia
    November 2, 2015 at 12:54 PM (6 years ago)

    Another wonderful idea! Just the right thing for me and my granddaughter. Looking forward to our next meeting and I am sure we will have lots of fun with your game. Thank you!

    • J. G.
      May 9, 2020 at 2:46 PM (2 years ago)

      Thanks for sharing this. I am currently writing a story game involving coded messages, and blog posts like yours are wonderful. I am creating a glossary with links like a link to this post so that people can make their own messages.

  2. Beverley
    April 15, 2017 at 9:38 PM (5 years ago)

    Exactly what I was looking for, thanks! And due to my printer being out of one of the colours of ink, it came out a lovely shade of lavender which was an interesting surprise 🙂

  3. Sarah Goldman
    July 19, 2017 at 10:52 AM (5 years ago)

    Why is there a second round of letters attached to the numbers? What do I do with those?

  4. Shari
    August 28, 2017 at 8:55 PM (4 years ago)

    I love this and have been searching for a printable decoder wheel for a while. I only wish that the numbers lined up with the alphabet starting at A1 so that it could be used for traditional codes that rotate a certain number of moves (i.e. the ever popular ROT13, which can be accomplished with a grid, but is so much cooler with a wheel like this).

  5. Beth
    March 20, 2018 at 3:37 PM (4 years ago)

    Thank you so much for posting this. This is going to make a super fun project for my son’s military themed birthday party. I am going to code a message “Lets Eat Cake” then see who can be the first to decode it :-).

  6. Corinne
    March 23, 2018 at 5:31 AM (4 years ago)

    Merci.C’est une très bonne idée de jeu .

  7. Anonymous
    August 11, 2018 at 5:52 PM (3 years ago)

    Great printable! Just what I needed for a fun kids’ math project! Thanks!

  8. Anonymous
    September 10, 2018 at 8:54 PM (3 years ago)


  9. Jane
    October 13, 2018 at 4:51 AM (3 years ago)

    So what are the numbers on the wheel for then?

  10. Anonymous
    October 22, 2018 at 11:31 AM (3 years ago)

    You are awesome; very clever! Thank-you!

  11. Jared Budlong
    November 25, 2018 at 4:55 PM (3 years ago)

    Is this based on a specific cipher? I wanted to install an app to allow me to quickly encode messages to send to my son who will use the paper ring to decode the message with

    • Norman Rasmussen
      March 30, 2020 at 11:07 AM (2 years ago)

      It’s called a Caesar cipher, or a shift cipher.

    • Anonymous
      November 30, 2021 at 7:10 AM (2 months ago)

      This is a version of the DIANA Chiper and NOT the Caesar cipher.

  12. Theblackpoop
    December 29, 2018 at 7:44 PM (3 years ago)

    can u give out the idea of making the decoder ring

  13. Patricia
    January 3, 2019 at 6:15 AM (3 years ago)

    Thank you I’ve already printed it and I’m looking forward to using it in my hubby’s be. Thanks once again!

  14. Andrea
    February 13, 2020 at 8:09 AM (2 years ago)

    This is perfect for my 2nd grade Cub Scouts. Thank you.

  15. J. G.
    May 13, 2020 at 12:12 PM (2 years ago)

    I love this. Just printed it out on cardstock. Super easy to follow. I shared the link to this post along with a list of other codes and ciphers as part of my story game I’ve been designing. Thank you for sharing your decoder wheel.


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