Hack #1

Putting a puzzle together can be a fun (and sometimes frustrating) pastime. It can also result in some great wall art. However, puzzle frame can be very expensive so here is an easy hack that will save you money and also make it easier to move your puzzle around while you are working on it.

 

Instead of putting the puzzle together on a table or counter, buy a cheap poster frame (I got mine for about $10 at Target, which fits a 1000 piece puzzle with room to spare). To figure out what size frame you’ll need, just look at the dimensions on the puzzle box. You can buy a bigger frame for an instant border that will make it look that much fancier when it’s done.

Remove the plastic front from the frame, flip over the paper insert (this will now become your background), and begin your puzzle process on the cardboard backing of the frame. If you need to move your puzzle for any reason while you’re working on it, just put the plastic front back on and move the whole frame, keeping it horizontal. The plastic front will help keep the pieces from shifting. You can also put the plastic front on when you aren’t working on the puzzle to keep the pieces in place (especially if you have a noisy cat).

When you’re done with the puzzle, simply put the plastic front on, attach to the backing however it’s supposed to be attached, and display. You can also glue the puzzle onto the paper insert if you are worried about shifting. I just left mine unglued and haven’t had a problem with it moving.

 

You can also buy a frame that is the same size as the puzzle if you do not want a border. Note that if you buy a frame that has the edges that slide on (as shown), it will be difficult (but not impossible) to put them on in this way.

Another benefit is that, if you don’t glue your puzzles in place, you can interchange them every so often by removing the completed puzzle, doing a new puzzle, then hanging that one up in the same frame.

 

Hack #2:

Secondhand stores such as Goodwill can be a great place to find cheap puzzles. That’s where I got this sweet dragon one. However, they understandably do not count the pieces of the puzzles that are donated there so you may pay $2 for a puzzle and complete it, only to find out that there is a piece missing. Still $2 is a pretty good deal, especially with this simple hack to making a replacement puzzle piece.

 

 

 

 

Supplies:

  • Scrap paper
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors

 

1. Slide the scrap paper under where the missing piece should be. You can also use the cardboard for this step, but it will be more difficult because it is thicker.

 

2. Trace the outline of the missing piece.

 

3. Cut the shape out.

 

4. Trim the piece until it fits easily into the hole.

 

5. Use the paper as a stencil and trace the shape onto the cardboard.

 

6. Cut the cardboard out, again trimming the edges until it fits nicely into the hole in the puzzle.

 

7. Here comes the hard part. Paint the cardboard to match the surrounding pieces of the puzzle. You can use the picture on the box if you have it available. If you want, you can also scan or take a picture of the box and print out the area you are misses, cutting it out and adhering it to the cardboard. The piece does not have to be exactly the right color (as you can see with mine). If you are close, most people won’t even notice. It is much less noticeable than a gaping white hole.

 

8. Add a layer of Mod Podge to add a glossy shine.

 

9. Frame it, claim it, and deck out your walls by showing off your awesome puzzle skills.

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