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Take a picture of the puzzle while it is whole on the cardboard. This way, you'll be able to look at it to help you.
My daughter loves puzzles. I usually pick one up each time I go to the dollar store. In order to keep the puzzle pieces together, I mark the backs with different shapes, stamps, dots, etc. I mark each piece to a puzzle with it's own distinct marking. Then, I put the same mark on the back of the picture, as well as the amount of pieces to the puzzle. (Because we have so many puzzles, I cut out the picture and put it in a baggie with all the pieces, to save room). When you find a random puzzle piece that has fallen under the couch (or wherever!), just find the matching bag or box. This has saved me a lot of time when I need to find what puzzle the piece belongs to. On this puzzle, I drew a stethoscope for Doc McStuffins.
Source: My friend, Arlyn, who marks her puzzles with letters.
Empty cardboard pizza boxes make great storage for a jigsaw puzzle in progress. They can easily save a long evenings work without taking up table space. Can be slid under a couch or bed until there is time to again tackle the puzzle.
By bgd48 from Wisconsin
As you may already know, the first thing you do when putting together a jigsaw puzzle is to go through and sort out all the flat border pieces by putting them in a separate box. As you are doing this, take several boxes from other puzzles, shoe boxes, or big paper plates and sort out the non-border pieces according to similar colors.
Keep the puzzle pieces face up, so that you can view them all as you are filling in the puzzle. For example, you may separate sky, grass, tree, and water pieces all into different containers. Doing the puzzle this way will save you a lot of time and frustration!
I recently purchased a "Puzzle Stow and Go" which works great for storing a puzzle! Before I would have to leave my puzzle out on the table for days or weeks while I finished them, which would always leave pieces of my puzzle missing. This is a perfect solution, because used correctly, you can keep your unfinished puzzle safely away from your kids or the animals.
To use correctly, I recommend ironing out every single wrinkle in the fabric. This seemed to take me a long time, but maybe because I hate to iron. For stubborn wrinkles spray them first with water, and use a high heat setting.
As you start the border keep it centered in the middle as much as possible. Then when you are ready to store the partially completed puzzle away, make sure that there are no overlapping pieces. Take the inflatable tube and be sure to start rolling it evenly on both sides, then not too tightly, just roll it up. Secure the straps and that's it.
I usually stack the boxes that I sorted the pieces out into and place everything for my puzzle up high, like in my closet or on top of the fridge for safe keeping. As you're doing the puzzle, sometimes things get very tricky. I found that when trying to finish a certain area, sometimes it's a good idea to sort out pieces by their shape. Group together pieces with the knobs and holes on the same sides. That way, when looking for a certain piece you'll only try pieces of that same shape and color.
After all is said and done, you have an awesome work of art that you spent forever to complete! Of course you're proud of your accomplishment, and want to glue it, frame it, and keep it for generations to come. So there are a couple different ways to keep your puzzle intact. I would recommend Ravensburger puzzle glue, or another puzzle glue. If you don't have any, then in a little bowl mix white school glue and a bit of water to make to make the consistency more watery but still gooey.
You may want to use a plastic trash bag to put underneath the puzzle to protect the table underneath. Use a paint brush and brush the glue directly on top, pushing the glue more into the cracks than the surface. Let dry 60 to 90 minutes and then apply a 2nd coat. You can then glue the entire puzzle onto a sheet of lightweight foam insulation using contact cement and construct a frame around that. Now hang your work of art somewhere nice for everyone to see!
By MissMalorie from Yuctown, CA
Toddlers love to play with puzzles and of course they will always mix the pieces in the same box. I have a three year old boy that just started with the 24 pieces and he will put the pieces together and want someone to sort the puzzle.
My daughter has TONS of puzzles and at the end of the day, it'd take me a half hour to find all of the pieces. So I attached small Velcro circles onto the back of every piece along with their matching space on the puzzle board.
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Can you shellac the front of a glow in the dark puzzle without damaging the effect? If not, what can be used to protect the front side?
Even shiny glosses can distort the finish. Glue the back only. Maybe you can use a frame with a glass front to protect the puzzle.
I think shellac would probably ruin it.
We just assembled a 9000 piece puzzle (140x190cm) and are wondering how to protect it. We put it into 4 pieces and will glue it on a foamboard (Alufix) and frame it. I would prefer not putting on protective glass because of its weight. I was thinking of some sort of liquid plastification. Does anyone have experience with something like this?
By Igor S
Mod Podge! It's an all-in-one glue, sealer and finish with easy clean-up! I've used it for puzzles, sealing pictures on wood, etc. Available at Walmart, Michaels, and Jo Ann's.
I agree that Mod-podge is the product to use. Go to a local craft store or even a dollar store; they will likely have this product. Some craft stores sell a product for preserving puzzles, that is likely the same as Mod-podge, but under a different name. Just ask at those sorts of stores.
Wow, 9000 pieces! That is really an accomplishment! My mother seals all her puzzles with Mod Podge to save them. She then mounts them to a thin sheet of paneling or plywood which my father custom cuts for her (she does "shaped" puzzles). I don't know how a puzzle would turn out that isn't mounted on a board or something to keep it flat. The Mod Podge makes an attractive finish and her puzzles have looked great for many years.
I have tried Mod Podge & you can see where glue has been applied. I have used Ravensberger glue & after 4 coats it still hadn't glued the puzzles properly. I was not happy with either (expensive) result. I was REALLY happy with just spraying a clear lacquer over a puzzle I did almost 20yrs ago & still looks good (2 coats) this would work perfectly since you are sticking it to the foam backing. Good Luck. What is the picture of, by the way?
By Lois K.
I did this with a puzzle that I made for my granddaughter. Go to a hobby store and get some mod-podge. It's a type of glue. Brush it all over the top of your puzzle and it not only glues the pieces together, it gives the puzzle a nice, protective shine. If you don't want to spend the money on mod-podge, you can also do this with Elmer's Glue or any kind of white glue that dries clear. Just mix it with water to thin it out and brush over the puzzle.
Glue the front, then slide it over after it is dry.
I have trouble opening puzzle boxes neatly. Jigsaw puzzles come in boxes which are sealed under on all four sides. After I open it the ends are jagged and the box is not neat on the bottom anymore. Does anybody have tips for opening the seal of jigsaw puzzle boxes?
I use one of those razor cutters that they sell in the stationary depts of stores. They have a blade that can be broken off when the front edge gets dull & a clicker on the handle that clicks & locks. You click out less than 1/8 inch on the blade tip. Go slowly & only cut the paper around the edge. These cutters are handy for so many things. I keep one on my coffee table to open boxes of things that UPS delivers.
I use a sraight edge razor to open up the boxes. ~Janette~
I do not care how the box gets open as long as the pix stays intact. Then I cut out the pix and tape it onto a plastic type of storage box.
** this will save you on trying to keep the cheap cardboard box from breaking down eventually.
** it is also waterproof in case of water damage, then I recycle the cheap cardboard box.