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How to Make a Puzzle With Cardboard

Updated on March 30, 2013
Make a homemade jigsaw puzzle
Make a homemade jigsaw puzzle | Source

How to Make Your Own Puzzle

If you have the time and the patience to make your own puzzle, it can be a fun activity for you and for your kids. The great thing about making your very own puzzle is that by making it yourself you can personalize it. You can make a jigsaw puzzle about anything you want! A homemade puzzle could be made out of a picture or poster that you like. It could even be made from a collage or a drawing.

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Materials You Will Need

  • Cardboard
  • Puzzle Picture
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A heavy object such as a box or a book

Things to Consider When Making a Puzzle

When you are planning out your puzzle, first decide what size you would like it to be. Find a rectangular or square piece of cardboard for the puzzle size that you want. Keep in mind that the picture you choose will need to be big enough to cover all of the cardboard.

Choose the right cardboard for your homemade puzzle. The cardboard that you choose is very important: Make sure that the cardboard is thin enough that you are able to cut it easily with scissors or an exacto knife. If you are making a homemade puzzle, it goes without saying that you will be cutting your own pieces, so keep that in mind when you choose the cardboard for your craft.

If you want to make a puzzle out of a unique piece of artwork or a beloved picture, it might be a good idea to make a demo version before you make your actual puzzle. I learned how to make my own puzzle through trial and error: Never cut up a beloved photo or drawing if it’s one of a kind and you have never done this before.

Choose a great picture for your puzzle
Choose a great picture for your puzzle | Source

Step One: Image Selection

Select an image that you want to turn into a puzzle. If you are looking for ideas for your image, some suggestions include magazine clippings, a collage, a drawing, a poster or a postcard. If you want to make your puzzle more personal, you could use photos, or make a photo collage of several personal pictures.

Add glue to make your jigsaw image stick
Add glue to make your jigsaw image stick | Source

Step 2: Glue Your Picture

Add the glue to the back of the cardboard, and then press your picture onto the cardboard. Make sure that there are no air bubbles and that the picture is glued on very well. Wipe any glue that has leaked out on the edges.

Step 3: Wait

Take a box, a heavy book or any other heavy object that you have lying around and place it on top of your puzzle. This will help the puzzle dry straight and ensure that the glue adheres well to the cardboard. To be sure that the glue has dried, leave the the weight on your puzzle for at least 2 hours.

Step 4: Touch Ups

Once your picture has dried, remove the weight and examine it. If there are any uneven edges, or if the cardboard or your picture is sticking out, cut those pieces away. Make sure that the glue has adhered well, if there are any areas that need more glue, now is the time to apply it. If you notice that the picture isn’t adhering to the cardboard, try applying a lacquer or sealant (such as Mod Podge). For mine I used Mod Podge gloss, which is both a glue and a sealant. I find that it works very well in helping the paper stick better to the cardboard and it adds a glossy finish (DO NOT put sealant on photos or photo paper).

Draw your puzzle pieces
Draw your puzzle pieces | Source

Step 5: Make Your Puzzle Pieces

On the back of the cardboard, start drawing your puzzle pieces. You can draw them by hand or use another puzzle as a template. If you choose to make the pieces by hand, try not to make the pieces too tiny because tiny pieces will be more difficult to cut out. It’s also a good idea to create pieces that interlock together; that way it will be easier to put the pieces together when you are making the puzzle.

Making a homemade puzzle
Making a homemade puzzle | Source

Step 6: Cut Your Puzzle Pieces Out

Next cut your puzzle pieces out. You will need a pair of very sharp scissors. It will also help if you have small scissors because bigger scissors will make it more difficult to cut out the intricately woven pieces.

Step 7: Play!

This is the fun part, all the steps are done and now you can build your puzzle!

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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      These are so much fun. My students enjoyed doing this as a way to share something they had learned.

      Thanks for sharing this.

      Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      This is a great idea! Not only can you use your own picture but you can make the puzzle pieces the appropriate size for the age group you have. some need bigger, some need smaller. Nice job.

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Nancy C Moores profile image

      Nancy C Moores 4 years ago

      I love this, and look forward to making some with my grandchildren :). Thank you for sharing.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 4 years ago from Georgia country

      This is something for my little boy. Great and interesting hub!

    • just helen profile image

      just helen 4 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      This would be a good craft for the elders in the care home I work at!

    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 4 years ago from Manila

      Oooh! Very much interesting! Not only you get to enjoy putting the pieces together, but also enjoy making the puzzle pieces themselves. :)