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How to Make a Puzzle With Cardboard

Katee is a freelance writer who enjoys doing easy, creative crafts, especially with kids.

Make a homemade jigsaw puzzle.

Make a homemade jigsaw puzzle.

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 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.

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 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 cardboard for your craft.

If you want to do 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.

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.

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 two 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 any areas 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.

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.

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!

Thanks for stopping by!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 17, 2013:

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

Mary Craig from New York on April 10, 2013:

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 Moore from Lakeland on April 01, 2013:

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

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on March 31, 2013:

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

just helen from Dartmoor UK on March 31, 2013:

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

Renz Kristofer Cheng from Manila on March 30, 2013:

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