Piecing together a jigsaw puzzle is an enjoyable pastime. According to an article by Trish Donroe Barker for the Self-Growth website, several studies have shown that jigsaw puzzles can help prevent memory loss and actually lead to a longer life. Children's drawings, family photos, and even special letters can be used for custom-made jigsaw puzzles that make wonderful gifts and will be treasured for years to come.
Select the subject matter for your puzzle with care. You want a picture that is in focus, of an interesting subject and of good quality. A cute pet, a lovely sunset, or a family photo are all good choices. If you are designing a simple puzzle for a child, choose a simple picture with a basic subject. If your intended puzzle will have more pieces, choose a picture with more patterns and detail.
Keep your intended puzzle enthusiast in mind when designing your puzzle. Younger children will want puzzles of fifty pieces or fewer, while adults will wish for more of a challenge.
Scan your photo into your computer with a scanner, or load it directly from a digital camera. Edit and resize the photo to the desired puzzle size using a desktop photo editing program.
Purchase a jigsaw puzzle kit from a craft store or website. These generally come with a printable photo sheet with adhesive backing that you can print your picture on, as well as a sheet of thick cardboard that has already been cut into pieces. Some types of kits alternatively come with a photo sheet that is an iron-on transfer.
Print a test puzzle on a sheet of plain paper to make sure your picture is centred and cropped correctly.
Follow the instructions with the jigsaw puzzle kit to print out your adhesive photo, then stick it on to the cardboard backing. If you have the iron-on version of the puzzle kit, follow the instructions to iron it to the cardboard sheet. Be sure any bubbles are smoothed out and any loose areas are fastened down firmly.
Separate the pieces carefully. Cut them carefully with a craft blade, following the pattern. Place the pieces in a box or bag.
You can also order custom jigsaw puzzles from many online companies. Simply upload your graphics, choose the size and style of puzzle you want, and order. A customised puzzle is a nice way to send a love letter, or a way to tell people big news such as a baby or wedding announcement.