Setting a puzzle together is an enjoyable activity and an excellent workout for your mind. Creating your own puzzle is even more fun and scores a whole new dimension to the action! Homemade puzzles also make lovely gifts that you can personalize and customize for the charming members of your life. Depending on the materials you have at your home, you can make do a simpler puzzle with cardboard or a more traditional jigsaw puzzle from wood. Either way, family and friends will love placing together your DIY puzzles!
- Choose a picture or design. You can print a photograph to use for your puzzle image, draw or create your own, or even use a card, poster, or any other printed image.
- Select a puzzle backing. Plywood is more durable and traditional, but this will only work if you have a saw at your disposal and are confident in your skill with that tool. Cutting out a puzzle is delicate work and requires experience.
- Assemble your tools. Aside from the image and your puzzle backing, you will also need glue, spray lacquer, a ruler, and a pencil. For a cardboard-backed puzzle, you will need sharp scissors or a hobby knife.
- Attach your image to your backing. Place your backing on a sheet of wax or parchment paper to protect the surface underneath. Place it good side down. Spray or cover the surface of the backing with glue and spread it around, so there’s an even coat all over it.
- Lacquer your image. Take your puzzle outside or to a well-ventilated area. Place it back on the parchment or wax paper.
- Trim your puzzle border. If your puzzle image is smaller than the backing, begin by trimming down the edges of the backing.
- Create a grid. Flip your puzzle over and place it image-side down. Use a ruler to mark out and draw a grid pattern made up of squares that are three-quarters of an inch (for a puzzle with more, smaller pieces) or one inch (for a puzzle with fewer, larger pieces).
- Draw your puzzle template. To create puzzle pieces, begin adding ball and socket shapes (concave and convex half-circles) along the edges of the grid squares so that the pieces will fit into each other when the puzzle is cut. You can also use inverted and protruding triangles, squares, or other shapes.
- Cut out your puzzle pieces. For cardboard puzzles, follow the puzzle piece template you’ve drawn on the back and use your scissors to cut out the pieces. Or, if you’re using a utility knife, put your puzzle face down on your cutting mat and carefully cut the pieces.
Your DIY activity is complete.