How To Turn A 1000 Piece Puzzle Into A Masterpiece

Puzzle Pieces

3/5/15 Puzzle Pieces

A fun and healthy hobby I enjoy with my family is putting together puzzles 1000 plus pieces. In this post, I will share some simple tips to help you puzzle faster and easier. I created photo journals during the process on some of my favorite puzzles, from the beginning process to the end.

This is what you will need:

  • Chose a puzzle that you love
  • 1 piece of large poster cardboard, any color
  • 1 bottle of Elmer’s puzzle glue
  • 1 sponge or large paint brush
  • 1 frame, puzzle measurements
  • A big dose of determination

Let’s start with this puzzle photo of an Indian Chief in completion, to get you motivated. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Indian Chief Puzzle

3/5/15, Indian Chief, Headshot Puzzle



Puzzle, Indian Face

Puzzle, Indian

Here is a list of things to do to organize 1000 tiny puzzle pieces.

  • If you are newbie to larger puzzling, I would search for puzzles with many colors and objects to keep it easy and interesting. I get bored working with the same color.
  • Great lighting is mandatory or you will die, not really, but you will struggle visually with the pieces. I use 3 bright lamps, LED lamps and place around the puzzle.
  • Place the puzzle pieces on a flat uncluttered surface.
  • Make sure no pieces are left in the plastic wrap.
  • Stand the empty box up in your work area for visual reference.
  • Start by turning all the pieces right side up, separate by grouping of color initially.

Obviously, there will be many shades of every color, group light to dark within groups.

Now you are ready to work on the frame. All frame pieces will have a straight side, pull the frame pieces together and create the puzzle border. Below is a picture of the puzzle I am working on now. A border example is easier to see in this puzzle photo.

Puzzle Border

Puzzle Border

Easy, right? Now you are ready to start developing the puzzle. Here are photos of the Indian Chief puzzle in progress.

  • After you finish the puzzle, it’s time to slide a piece of large poster cardboard (available almost everywhere) under the puzzle to prepare for preserving. Be careful with this maneuver, you don’t want it crashing to the floor.
  • Now it’s time to cover the puzzle with puzzle glue. Elmer’s puzzle glue is the best. Usually one coat will secure the pieces into place, occasionally it takes two coats. Put the puzzle away and wait 24 hours for it to dry.
  • Hopefully you will want to frame your masterpiece. Frames for puzzles are not easy to find. I would recommend checking local craft stores, but you might have to buy online, especially if your puzzle is an odd shape or size. And be sure to save the puzzle box, it has the puzzle measurements on the side.

One thing I learned the hard way – check the floor each time you leave your puzzle area for any pieces that may have fallen off the table. My dogs have eaten several puzzle pieces over the past years. Luckily, my husband is crafty at making missing puzzle pieces. He constructs them out of cardboard boxes, and then matches the paint with the puzzle. Once we worked on a 2000 piece puzzle all summer, yes… it seemed like an eternity and 1,999 pieces later, a piece was gone. Panic attack, but lesson learned – don’t lose pieces.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Do you enjoy puzzling? I would love to hear your tips and shortcuts or see photos of your masterpieces. After puzzling for years, I have accumulated a lot of puzzles, but my favorite one is the “Wizard of Oz”. It has bright colors, characters galore and Dorthy’s red sparkly shoes. Do you have a brand puzzle you favored? 

This week I’m working on a sweet “cupcake puzzle”, how about you?

Happy trails,
Donna George

Follow me on my Facebook page, DonnaGeorgeBlogs.

34 thoughts on “How To Turn A 1000 Piece Puzzle Into A Masterpiece

  1. I love jigsaw puzzles. Unfortunately, I am the only one in my household who enjoys them. I have been known to put them together by myself but I prefer having someone to work them with. I have one sister who also enjoys puzzling so when we do manage to get together for more than a day or two we usually do a puzzle. I used to love Springbok brand puzzles but I am not sure if they are still made. The only tip I would add is when we sort the pieces we do it on cookie sheets and trays so that we can easily pass the trays around the table and look at the pieces from different angles to help find the right one. Happy puzzling to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Good Woman :))
    I love that tip, however my husband is anal about the pieces being lined up in a absolute straight line. We rotate around the table, round and round. Great idea. We usually put a 1000 + puzzle together every week. It’s a dining room table staple :). Thanks for stopping by.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much! Yes we are addicted to puzzling. It’s suppose to be a great brain exercise to help separate brain pathways and detour memory loss :). So when I read that 5 years ago we started puzzling. Love it! I need to put our gallery somewhere online ???

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel I have been behind these past few days. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I needed a little visit to get me back on track. 🙂 Great tips. Well written and easy to follow. I don’t have the attention span to puzzle. My sister puzzles and she disappears while she is putting it together. I believe once you get into the zone it is like meditating. Excellent hobby. In love and light Cheryle

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good to hear from you Cheryl. It’s more like an addiction for me and my hubby. I am always on the hunt for a puzzle with great color.
    And you are right, it take some patience and a lot of time. :))


  6. This is a serious question: Is it some sort of rule that you have to start with the border? I always hated doing puzzles with my mom because she would insist on completing the border first (I never outlined before coloring, either). If I found other pieces that went together, she would take them apart until the border was finished. I think it is far more of a challenge to start in the middle and work your way outwards!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love puzzles! I believe this is another trait that runs in our family! : ) my favorite ones are Christmas, floral and Thomas Kincaide. I am a huge Luculle Ball fan and Cathy gave me the one of her on a stamp for Christmas one year and it’s one of my favorites. What do you do with all of those you guys put together? I have a few that I have framed and I after I finish one I sometimes take it apart and pass it along due to space. I keep my very favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jenny
    We have over a hundred puzzles. We glue them in cardboard and frame them. Then we take them to our mountain house and hang them in the long stairwell to the basement. I have some hanging in our home. I have about 27 that still need to be framed. Finishing up one now lol. I also gift them when it’s purchased for someone I know appreciates puzzles. It’s an addiction.


  9. Just adore jigsaw puzzles. Nothing beats time spent with a good Ravensburger puzzle. I thought I was the only one who photographed their puzzles! Enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Can You Pick A Favorite From The 1000 Piece Puzzle Gallery? | Donna George Blogs

  11. We generally recommend you find a locally Hobby Lobby, or a similar craft store, and ask them to do a Dry Mounting Basically they use a special piece of backer board that has heat sensitive adhesive that will glue your puzzle to the board instantly. Our local store only charges $12-15 to mount a 1000 piece puzzle.

    Liked by 1 person

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