If you are like most people, you probably have lots of great photos lying around your house, stuffed in boxes and junk drawers, crammed into overloaded photo albums, or spilling from closet shelves. Short of framing them or putting them in an album, what else can you do with them? How about making a photo puzzle? Photo puzzles are a great way to display treasured photos. In addition, your family, friends, and guests will all have fun trying to put them together. There are many companies on the Web that can create photo puzzles for you from digital images, but it’s simple and more meaningful to make your own.
Materials you’ll need
- 1 Printed photo, at least 8 X 10” (see below)
- 1 sheet of heavy cardboard or artist’s foam core board, the same size as your photo
- Dry mounting spray
- Rolling pin or craft roller
- Utility knife or jigsaw
- Select a digital or printed photo with sharp detail (so that it will still be clear when enlarged), a lot of color depth, and interesting subject matter. Landscapes work well, but so do clear pictures of children’s birthday parties, with lots of color and activity.
- Using either a home scanner and printer or a photo machine found in many major retail stores, create an enlargement of the photo no smaller than 8 inches by 10 inches. If you don’t have an original smaller print of the photo, print one 4 by 6 inches now to use as the puzzle’s guide.
- Apply the mounting spray to the cardboard or foam core following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Align the top edge of the photo with the top edge of the board and carefully lay it flat, smoothing out any air bubbles as you go along.
- Run the rolling pin or craft roller over the entire photo, working from the center out to ensure full adhesion to the board and to press out any remaining air bubbles.
- Turn the board over and use the pencil to outline your puzzle pieces on the back. Use traditional puzzle piece shapes, or create your own. Be careful not to make any of the edges or points too narrow, as they could break off too easily.
- Using the knife or jigsaw, carefully cut the board along your pencil-drawn lines.
- Using the original photo as a guide, put the puzzle back together to check the fit of the pieces.
Have hours of fun with your unique puzzle!