While there are plenty of online websites that allow you to create a jigsaw puzzle for a fee, there’s nothing stopping you from making one yourself with just a few crafting materials, many of which you probably already have on hand. Here are the steps for creating your own jigsaw puzzle, presented by the experts at Solve It!
Step 1: Choose Your Image
The image on a jigsaw puzzle can be anything you want, from photographs to drawings to postcards and computer printouts. It’s really limited only by your imagination. Just keep in mind that the image you choose will partially dictate how challenging the puzzle is.
If you have a lot of the same color, the puzzle will be more difficult than if you have several colors located on different parts of the picture. Black and white images also tend to be harder as well.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools and Supplies
To create your jigsaw puzzle on a cardboard backing, you’ll need a ruler, pencil, glue, spray lacquer, and either very sharp scissors, a hobby knife (preferred), or a Dremel tool. If you decide to use plywood as a backing, you will also need a coping or scroll saw.
Many DIYers have access to these types of saws, but if you don’t, choose cardboard instead. Liquid or spray glue work best for puzzles because it is designed for multiple purposes and is safe for photographs.
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Step 3: Choose Your Backing
As mentioned before, the backing for your puzzle should be high-quality cardboard or plywood. Make sure you choose a backing that is slightly bigger than your image so that every piece of your picture will be on the backing.
Cardboard is easier to work with than plywood and you can usually find a good piece of flat, clean cardboard around your house. The thickness of your backing should be approximately one-eighth of an inch (0.3 cm).
Step 4: Glue Your Image to the Backing
Using the liquid or spray glue, adhere your image to the backing. Don’t use too much glue, or it will seep out of the sides, but make sure every corner and edge is securely glued to the backing. Allow the glue to thoroughly dry before moving onto the next step.
Step 5: Lacquer Your Image
In a well-ventilated area, spray your image with the spray lacquer. This makes it shiny and resistant to tearing, which is important for when you cut the image into pieces.
Step 6: Trim the Border
Trim an excess backing from around the border of your image.
Step 7: Create a Grid on the Back of the Image and Backing
Turn your image over and using the ruler, draw a grid. The size of your grid boxes will determine the size and number of pieces your puzzle has. A good starting size is 3/4-inch boxes, but it really depends on how many pieces you want to cut out.
Step 8: Draw the Puzzle Piece Template
Add ball and socket shapes on each edge of each grid square so that they resemble puzzle pieces. For more of a challenge, put two ball and socket shapes on each side. Half-circles are traditional for the ball and socket shapes, but you can also use triangles, squares, or other shapes to make your puzzle unique.
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Step 9: Cut Out the Puzzle Pieces
Once your template is done, cut out the pieces following the grid lines and the ball and socket shapes. After you cut them out, put your image back together to make sure all the pieces fit well.
Create your own jigsaw puzzle with these easy steps. Choose an image, gather supplies, glue it to a backing, lacquer for durability, draw a grid, and cut out the pieces. Enjoy the process and have fun with your personalized puzzle!