Use a large poster frame to put your puzzle together on. A thrift store is an excellent place to get one. Turn the poster over for a plain background or use tag board from the craft store.
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Which is easier and cheaper to make: the puzzle board or the puzzle mat?
That depends on if you are displaying or storing. For display the board works better when moving from table to table and used to admire. Using a mate ,works when the puzzle is put together and stored for a later date , this preserves and stores.
I think it would be easier cutting material for a mat than a board. It is softer.
The puzzle board and puzzle mat are made for two different purposes.
Usually, the puzzle mat is used to store smaller puzzles (but can be made/used for larger sizes also) as it is flexible so it can be rolled up and placed into some sort of 'tubing'. This means you can store it or carry it to another location.
The puzzle board is made to work on a table or floor and can be moved to different locations within the house. The board does not usually have a cover (unless you cover it with something; newspaper, linens/towels, etc) so it is not made for traveling.
The board can also be used for holding games like monopoly, etc.
Boards can be made out of wood, cardboard, etc. but each type takes a different level of skill to build and can cost (money).
I would say the puzzle mat is definitely easier to make but is not as substantial as the board.
Maybe you should decide how you wish to use this and then check out instructions online for both versions.
Puzzle boards can also be bought/made with a hardcover so it can also be moved to another location outside of the home.
Lots of great ideas/info right here on Thrifty Fun:
Puzzle Mats: www.thriftyfun.com/
Puzzle Boards: www.thriftyfun.com/
Since Joseph B. asks which of these two items is easier and cheaper to make, it is easier to make a puzzle mat, for example from a Craft Felt Sheet.
Read how to make a puzzle mat on this site: jigsawdepot.com/
I found a great instruction on how to make a puzzle board: