What is a jigsaw puzzle?
A jigsaw puzzle is a picture or design that has been cut into various interlocking pieces. The goal is to assemble these pieces to recreate the original image.
Why is it call a “jigsaw puzzle”?
Puzzles were originally made of wood, and the pieces were cut out using a jigsaw. A jigsaw has the ability to make curved cuts.
These days most puzzles intended for adults are made of cardboard and the pieces are punched out using a die cutting machine.
Why do jigsaw puzzles have interlocking pieces?
The interlocking design ensures that if a puzzle is bumped while being painstakingly assembled, it is much more difficult to mess things up.
Also, when the shape of each piece is also slightly unique, there is only one place in the puzzle that a piece can fit.
Why do people do jigsaw puzzles?
Puzzling is very therapeutic. It mitigates stress and produces enormous comfort.
It usually appeals to those who enjoy a visual challenge where they are working with their brains in a non-stressful way.
Assembling a jigsaw puzzle is hugely satisfying and brings a sense of great happiness.
What makes a good jigsaw puzzle picture?
First up, it’s a very individual choice: you simply need to like the picture.
But here are some things that add to a puzzle’s allure, helping you maintain your interest throughout the entire puzzle assembly process:
- Has an awe factor irrespective if is it’s a photo, a painting, or an illustration. No matter what the image is, it must generate an emotional response in you, the puzzler.
- Has bright and vibrant colors plus loads of details. Part of the fun of puzzling is to look at each piece and decide where it fits in the puzzle. The only clues to go on are the colors and detail on each piece.
- Has a lot going on in the picture. Besides the picture’s overall appeal, there should be many smaller areas that can hold your interest as you search for the right puzzle pieces for that section.
- While some puzzlers like repetitive designs that increase the puzzle’s complexity and difficulty in solving, others like recognizable areas that make it easier to find the correct pieces. This again is an individual choice. The puzzle image should strike a balance between offering a challenge but not be too difficult for you to solve.
- Does not have a lot of “white (single color) space.” Too much open space or similar colors makes the puzzle difficult to assemble. Nevertheless, if the picture truly appeals to you, the amount of white space won’t matter as much.
How do I choose the right jigsaw puzzle?
When selecting a jigsaw puzzle, consider the difficulty level, the number of pieces, and the subject matter. Choose a puzzle that matches your skill level and interests.
How do I get started with a jigsaw puzzle?
Start by sorting the pieces and identifying the edge pieces. Then proceed by assembling the border before moving on to the interior pieces. Take your time and enjoy the process.
What should I do if I’m stuck?
If you’re stuck, take a break and come back to it later. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can help you see the solution. You can also try sorting the pieces by color or pattern to make it easier to find the right fit.
Are there any tricks to doing jigsaw puzzles?
- First select a work area that fits the puzzle. Puzzle mats are handy if you know you’ll have to move the puzzle.
- Turn all the puzzle pieces picture side up.
- As you are doing this, sort out the edge pieces.
- Next, gather puzzle pieces by color, texture, and shapes (even text if the puzzle contains some). An enormous help at this stage is to use sorting trays (or paper plates).
- Keep the photo of the puzzle within clear view and refer to it often.
- Assemble the border.
- Corners are first, then fill in the edges till the four corners are connected.
- Leave the center of the frame empty while doing this. It will save time when you are ready to assemble the center.
- Assemble the center.
- Because of your previous sorting, you can begin assembling obvious areas of either color, texture, or shapes. Best here to work in small sections of the puzzle, as some sections will be easier and faster to assemble.
- Referring to the puzzle photo, position each completed section in its correct location.
- You can then use these completed sections to start filling in the rest. In other words, you begin expanding on and growing a section, adding to its perimeter and working your way towards the edges of the puzzle.
- If you run into difficulties, start on a new section.
- Keep working.
- Check for gaps or high/low points in the puzzle’s surface which will indicate a misplaced piece. When puzzle pieces are correctly placed, they should fit tightly and the surface should be flat.
- The more you puzzle, the more you will develop your skills, and the easier you’ll find puzzling.
- Puzzling should be a fun, not frustrating. Take breaks whenever the urge hits. Even a walk around the table to look at the puzzle from another angle can give you a rejuvenating boost.
What are the benefits of solving jigsaw puzzles?
Jigsaw puzzles offer many benefits, including improved cognitive skills, enhanced concentration, and stress relief. They also provide a sense of accomplishment and can be a great way to relax and unwind.
Can doing jigsaw puzzles benefit your health?
Jigsaw puzzle can most definitely benefit health. Solving puzzles both stimulates and calms your mind, body, and spirit.
And puzzling can certainly enrich cognitive abilities, especially among older adults. Studies have shown that people who do jigsaw puzzles enjoy longer lives with less chance of developing memory loss.
Jigsaw puzzle benefits in a nutshell:
- Simultaneously exercise the left and right sides of the brain.
- Improves short-term memory.
- Reinforces connections between brain cells and improves mental speed.
- Improves visual-spatial reasoning.
- Puzzling is a wonderful meditation tool and stress reliever.
- Reduces stress, which produces a growing sense of peace, which in turn lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
- Puzzling is both a great way to connect with family or, conversely, it’s perfect for some needed time alone.
- Read a more in-depth article here: Health Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles
What can you do with jigsaw puzzles when you’re finished?
Absolutely anything you want.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Glue the completed puzzles to a board, then either frame and hang them, or give them as gifts.
- Donate the boxed puzzles to charity.
- Share them with friends and family.
- Safely store the puzzle pieces in their original boxes, and then at some time in the future, bring them out again. All the fun is still there, just waiting to be enjoyed all over again.
- Take a photo of your completed puzzles to record your accomplishments, then do any of the above.
How do I preserve and store my completed puzzles?
To preserve your completed puzzle, you can use puzzle glue or adhesive sheets to secure the pieces together. Once dry, you can frame your puzzle or store it in a puzzle storage mat or a specially designed puzzle case.
Where can I learn more about the history of jigsaw puzzles?
There are three meticulously researched books that go into great detail on the subject.
- ‘The English Jigsaw Puzzle 1760 – 1890’ by Linda Hannas
- ‘British Jigsaw Puzzles of the 20th Century’ by Tom Tyler
- ‘Jigsaw Puzzles: An Illustrated History and Price Guide’ by Anne D. Williams