Three Simple Ways to Frame Your Favorite Puzzle

Whether it’s taken you days, weeks, or months to complete that beautiful jigsaw puzzle, odds are you are reluctant to just take it apart and put back into the box and tuck it away on a shelf to gather dust. But, the odds are also good that you haven’t got an extra table to leave it laying around on forever. So what’s a puzzle enthusiast to do? Our suggestion is that you work on a simple framing project to turn that puzzle into a permanent piece of artwork for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’ve put together a simple puzzle featuring popular cartoon characters to appease your children, or spent weeks pouring over a Stave puzzle during tea time, choosing the right method for mounting your puzzle is important to avoid both damage to the puzzle and disappointment. Today, we’re outlining the three easiest options for framing your completed puzzle.

Glue it!

Some types of glue will discolor puzzles, so it is important to be sure you’ve chosen the right sort of adhesive to go with your puzzle’s material. There are a number of specialty glues designed specifically for puzzles – these are good for most materials, but again it is important to check the fine print. Generally it is best to apply the adhesive to both the front and the back of your puzzle. Apply your chosen glue over the front, paying attention to the nooks and crannies between pieces. Then let the glue set. The next step is applying a suitable adhesive for the back side of the puzzle, this is best accomplished by finding a suitable backing material, applying the adhesive to it and then placing the puzzle atop the backing. Press firmly into position and again, allow it plenty of time to dry. Once the two glue steps are completed, your puzzle is ready to slip into your chosen frame.

Alternative adhesives

If glue sounds like a disaster waiting to happen for your puzzle, there are a number of different “sticker” type adhesive sheets you can choose from to mount your puzzle in a frame. The only difficulty some face with this method for framing a puzzle, is that you need to be able to access the back side of the puzzle to apply the adhesive sheet. Investing in a flexible puzzle mat from a reputable reseller is a good option – using two puzzle mats in conjunction, you can easily flip the puzzle over. Larger puzzles might need more hands for a successful flip.

  • Compare the adhesive sheets you have with the puzzle itself and work out the most efficient way to use the adhesive backing;
  • Trim and apply the backing accordingly, making sure to smooth away bubbles and avoid creasing the stickers as much as possible;
  • Allow adhesive to set/harden per instructions if necessary; then
  • Flip puzzle back onto appropriate board to be framed.

No adhesive necessary

There are special puzzle frames available from a number of resellers through popular shopping sites which can be assembled to showcase your puzzle with no adhesive at all. When choosing this route, it is very important to measure your fully assembled puzzle precisely and choose a frame that fits those dimensions. Many “glue-free” puzzle frames are sized based on how many pieces the puzzles they hold are made up from on average. Unfortunately, not all 500-piece puzzles are the same finished size. Some of these frames are available with flexible sizing options and can be trimmed to fit your puzzle as needed.

The most important thing to remember whichever method you choose is that you should pick the frame based on your puzzle’s size as measured by you, not as listed on the box. This is important, particularly with hand-tooled puzzles, as the dimensions may not be as precise. Whether you choose to glue your puzzle together or opt for an adhesive-free frame, mounting your jigsaw is a great way to show off your hard work, and share the beauty of your puzzle’s art with friends and family for years to come.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.