Jigsaw puzzles are a fun way to spend an afternoon. But the hours before you start creating your masterpiece can be challenging, with all those loose pieces and small parts. If you’re going to spend the time doing it, you may as well make it an event that involves the whole family. That’s right, a DIY puzzle board. The best part about putting together a DIY puzzle board is that they’re relatively easy to make yourself and gets the entire family involved. To make the best jigsaw all you need is some heavy cardboard or chipboard (depending on how big you want it), scissors or box cutter, glue stick, ruler and pencil, tape measure if needed), some patience, and lots of fun!
We’ll go over each step needed to put together your DIY jigsaw puzzle board with the best explanation possible without getting complicated.
Get the Materials
Materials needed for this project are a piece of plywood (which can be swapped out with mat board or poster board), scissors, glue stick, brush, utility knife, ruler, pencil, and tape measure.
When deciding on the plywood you want to use, or if you choose to substitute it for something else like mat board or corkboard (which is often used for puzzle boards), take your time while picking out a good piece. This will be the base of your puzzle and will come in contact with the pieces themselves. Good materials need to be sturdy, flat, and clean of debris that could potentially snag your puzzle pieces while putting them together. One thing to keep in mind when choosing your material is what the finished size dimensions should be. A general rule of thumb is that the larger the surface area you have for cutting up into pieces, depending on how many jigsaw puzzles you plan on doing at once, the better.
A piece of mat board or poster board is needed to cut the puzzle boards to size on it. Scissors, glue sticks, and brushes are needed for cutting and gluing down tiles. A utility knife is needed to cut the mat board to size.
Some power tools required for the DIY puzzle board include a power drill.
Cutting And Preparing Your Piece
Once you’ve gotten your piece of plywood (or whatever surface you’re using), draw out where the pieces will go with a pencil. This way, if you decide to change up some dimensions, it’s easier to do so on paper than moving around puzzle pieces once they’re cut out. A good design idea is to have boundaries for each individual jigsaw puzzle but still have an area where all the pieces are mixed up, so there aren’t too many repeats in one designated area. For example, picture a normal rectangular shape underneath. A rectangle divided into fours or eights might work well for this. The point is that each individual jigsaw puzzle is within its own designated space, whilst the spaces in between are for pieces that belong to other puzzles. Once you have your boundaries drawn out, then you’re ready to begin.
Step 1: Measure and cut the plywood to the desired size.
Step 2: Mark the center of the plywood.
Step 3: Cut a groove in the plywood that is the same width as your jigsaw puzzle pieces. The groove should be about 1/4 inch deep.
Step 4: Drill a hole in the center of the plywood.
Step 5: Sand all of the edges of the plywood until they are smooth.
Step 6: Stain or paint the plywood to your desired color.
Step 7: Let the stain or paint dry completely.
Step 8: Apply a coat of sealant to the plywood.
Step 9: Lay the puzzle pieces on the board and arrange them into a design.
Step 10: When you are satisfied with your design, use an adhesive to stick the puzzle pieces to the underside of the plywood.
Step 11: Mix contact cement according to the manufacturer’s directions. Spread an even coat of cement on one side of your design.
Step 12: When cement is tacky, place the puzzle board on a flat surface and position it so that the pattern will be upright when finished.
Step 13: Press the jigsaw puzzle pieces into the contact cement to bond them to your design.
Step 14: Let the sealer dry overnight.
Step 15: Remove puzzle pieces.
Step 16: Spread contact cement on the other side of your design and replace puzzle pieces. Let dry overnight again.
Step 17: Trim excess contact cement with a utility knife or razor blade.
Step 18: Seal both sides of the board with a clear finish to protect the wood and design, if desired.
Step 19: Let dry overnight.
Step 20: Assemble your finished jigsaw puzzle board after the finish has dried.
And finally the most important step of all. The fun and memorable time you spent building this with your family, friends, and loved ones. Every single time the DIY puzzle board is brought out, everyone feels nostalgia about the wonderful memories you had putting this together.