How to Make - Jigsaw Puzzle Article / Tips
Jigsaw puzzles used to be boring.
The pictures were limited to little houses in the country, or seascapes, although over the years, what happened is that companies found that the idea of slotting little pieces of cardboard together is popular. What was not popular was the small range of pictures on the jigsaws, which was something that was easy to put right.
I have been doing jigsaws for years, not as much as my mother in law or mother, though in order to capture the imagination of people like me that want something more of a challenge than a simple puzzle, the range that is available now is astounding.
Let's take the basic jigsaw.
The basic jigsaw puzzle is still a super idea for elderly people whose sight is still good. My mother in law loves doing them, and the range available on sites like Alljigsawpuzzles.com is amazing. What you need to take into consideration is the ability of the person who will do the puzzle. For example, for smaller children, large sturdy pieces will be easier for little hands, whilst for seasoned puzzlers, the range from 1500 pieces to 5000 pieces are good. The traditional way of doing jigsaws is starting by sorting out all the edge pieces, and here it's pretty easy to distinguish these pieces on a traditional jigsaw, as they all have one straight edge, and finding corners is simple.
What to bear in mind when buying one is the difficulty level. One of the things that many people overlook when buying a jigsaw is that areas which are much the same colour are a nightmare, as it takes hours to sort out the pieces and to make them fit. What is better from a users point of view is a puzzle with many colours because it keeps the user interested, and in particular with older people, I always try and choose a puzzle that doesn't have monotone areas, as these really are frustrating.
For younger children, there are always the puzzles made out of large wooden pieces, and for the smaller child, I believe these really are the best to buy, since they survive child treatment, and don't bend like cardboard ones do, when little hands try to force the pieces together. One of the nice things I have seen recently in traditional puzzles is that you can buy them on themes that children enjoy such as maybe a television series that they are interested in.
Buying blank jigsaw puzzles was a great treat to me. These are very small and can be bought in high street shops or online, and capg.zoovy.com have a good range in all sizes available. The ones I am accustomed to using are greeting card sized ones and here I write my greeting and then take the whole thing apart, and make the recipient work to get the greeting. It's a super idea for kids, and I think that making their own cards in this manner really is a good experience, plus getting the joy of watching their friends putting them all together.
Make your own puzzles.
If you have a printer that will take a thick medium such as card, then you really are in luck, because you can make presents that certainly are personalized. Paper is available to print jigsaw puzzles which means that you can use your own family photographs and send them as gifts to people for Christmas. I did this a couple of years ago and paper is available for making your own puzzles from mcgpaper It's fun, and one of the nice things about this is that not only are you printing your own jigsaw puzzles, but you can involve the kids in learning how to use the photographic programs on your computer at the same time, producing something more interesting than just a picture, but a puzzle that can be sent as a very good but cheap present for Christmas. They really are superb, and look very professional, and here I kept all the best boxes from chocolates to use for the box for the puzzle and covered them with paper, topping the box off with a picture of the puzzle and a personalized message.
For people that are awkward.
My mother was a jigsaw freak. She loved them, and the more difficult they were the better. I found a variety of puzzles with pictures of millions of marbles, or all the flags of the world, and topped it off with the best one of the lot for difficulty, and one she never finished, though by goodness she tried. It was a picture of a black cat, and all you could see on the picture was the cats eyes and whiskers.
Catering for the masses.
Little by little makers found that traditional puzzles were not holding the attention of the young. There were too many other distractions, such as television or computers, and they needed to come up with a clever idea to make children find their puzzles interesting. This they did a couple of years ago, and on alljigsawpuzzles.com, and in many of the high street shops and supermarkets came the invention of the 3D puzzle. These are amazing, made out of cardboard with a foam backing, and what you were able to make was anything from the Eiffel Tower to a telephone kiosk, again each one catering for different age ranges. I loved them, and did mine several times, although what I found was that once you had done the puzzle, it was awkward taking it apart and putting it back in the box, and after having puzzled out all the placement of pieces, I didn't want to destroy the model that I had made. Kids love them. They range in price from 3.00 to 25 GBP, and the range is pretty amazing.
New on the market.
Since last year, puzzle manufacturers decided to go a step further, and have excelled themselves, producing a new kind of puzzle, again available in high street shops, and online, and these really are the latest kind of puzzles, and although I am not supposed to know what Santa has bought for me this year, believe me, I do. I chose it. It's a puzzle that finishes in a globe shape, and that really is fantastic. The one that I chose was a map of the world and I really am looking forward to making it, and believe that many a child will be entranced by this version of jigsaw puzzles because of the intricacy of design and clever use of curved cardboard. I really am excited at the prospect of doing this jigsaw. Spherical 3D puzzles really do make me wonder where manufacturers will go from here.
Taking the concept of jigsaw puzzles a step further, a site that I rather like is Jigzone.com because they saw a gap in the market and grabbed it with both hands. Jigsaw puzzles for computer users are amazingly good fun, and moving the pieces with your mouse, you can do the puzzles on a timed basis, and choose the difficulty level and shape of the pieces, from traditional ones to all kinds of difficult ones. They have even taken the site a step further than just presenting puzzles. You can subscribe to a daily jigsaw puzzle and get it in an email daily. It's addictive, it's fun and it really doesn't take up as much time as traditional ones do, and are indeed less messy.
The idea that you can make your own photographs into puzzles online too is great, and I have made and sent many to relatives all over the world, for them to enjoy. This site is free and that's one of the benefits of online jigsaws. They are an enjoyable experience, and I have even got my computer illiterate mother in law having a go, and enjoying it.
Warnings on buying jigsaws.
Believe it or not, it really is important to gage your purchase for the individual, and avoid buying jigsaws that will never get finished, have boring pictures with loads of sky area or areas of the same colour, unless of course, the person you are choosing it for wants difficulty. Think of the age range, and look on the boxes so that you do not end up with pieces that are too small for little children to handle. Ravensburg make good quality puzzles, and for people who will do them over and over again, these really do represent value for money.
Overall conclusion on puzzles.
The market for puzzles is ever changing with the times, and in the past years has become innovative and fun. Kids don't have to be stuck with boring puzzles, and for a few pounds, you can add something that all the family can join in with that takes patience and gets the kids away from the television and computer to construct something with the family. I think they really do still have a place and that not enough people think of them as a stocking filler. I know my sisters kids love them, and in particular the new globe ones, and the 3D versions, and with the 3D ones, there are even very small ones available that take less time and patience to construct, but can still be shared between children, helping the child to develop patience, and to compete with their brothers and sisters or even parents.
Super ideas, and I keep a lookout now for what will be the fashion next year in puzzles. They really do give hours of enjoyment and are well worthy of considering as a little gift to someone you care for.