I had a minor disaster with this 2,000 piece puzzle I’ve been working on for over a week. Placing it back on the table from it’s out-of-the-way spot I tilted the board too fast, and too steeply- all the pieces slid off to the floor in an instant. I yelled so loud my husband came running upstairs to see what happened. He said “Oh well, at least some of the pieces are still together.” But it’s the kind of puzzle that has a very loose fit- so it wasn’t a matter of just casually picking up those still-connected pieces. I had to do it very carefully, sliding sections onto a recipe card, to maintain some of the progress I’d had before. All the time available for puzzling this day, was spent just getting the pieces back on the table! Sigh.
Things got better later in the week, puzzle-wise. I went to my public library’s puzzle swap, which is becoming a regular event. I found this one and picked it up thinking: that’s a nice picture. I’m fond of nasturtiums. I thought it caught my eye because several days earlier, I’d seen someone post this same puzzle on an online group I belong to- and agreed with the comments that admired it, but thought nothing more of it.
Now when I was putting the info into my puzzle catalog, which included taking a photo, I looked at it more closely and suddenly had a flash of recognition- I used to own this puzzle! I distinctly recall putting together the purple flowers on the fence, the blue face of broken pottery, the pale pots in one corner and the nasturtium leaves- largest first. It must have been thirty years ago or more- I have clear memories of assembling it on the floor in my bedroom when I was a teenager. Wow. Now I’m delighted to have it again, and just hope that X on the box means someone culled it from a collection, not that it’s missing pieces!
While I was at that puzzle swap, I had another happy moment. The woman who organizes it reminded me of a puzzle I gave last time, that had replacement pieces I’d made. I had asked her if it was okay to bring puzzles with handmade pieces to the swap, because it’s against the rules to bring ones with missing pieces. She said – a bit dubiously- well, let’s see what they look like. So I dumped the puzzle out on a table and picked out the two pieces. Not too hard to find because I knew what pattern they had, and the backs were a different color. She seemed a bit impressed with how well they’d come out.
This time she tells me, Remember that puzzle you brought with the lady in the green dress? one of her friends had taken it home. She didn’t tell her friend about the replacement pieces. Later she saw the puzzle assembled at her friend’s house, and said it looked great all put together! “You couldn’t even tell.” She told me her friend had no idea there were two handmade pieces in that puzzle, hadn’t even noticed. I was tickled pink. “I’m going to keep doing this, then!”
Wait, did I know that you make your own replacement puzzle pieces? How do you do it? I am so impressed! I cannot begin to imagine how you would accomplish this!
I use thin cardboard or tagboard. Trace the empty shape, several times, to layer the tagboard to the right thickness. Glue the layers together, color the top one or make a final layer of white paper if that works better. I use colored pencils, markers or even crayon to color it depending on the style and texture of the original. They’re not GREAT, some of my early ones look pretty rough. But usually my family members can’t find the replacement piece in the finished puzzle, which makes me think I succeeded!
There’s pictures of them in my puzzle posts.
That happened to me a few times. I think some puzzles are just too loose. I wish there are puzzle swaps at my library. It sounds like a really good way to get new puzzles without spending money.
I think you’re pretty good at making missing pieces. I don’t have the patience to that.
Have a lovely day.
Thanks, Lissa. I’m really enjoying the puzzle swap. Maybe you could organize one where you are? And loose-fitting puzzle pieces are one of my small pet peeves!
Seems like making replacement pieces would be fun to do (and helpful to others!). Glad you got the OK for them!
It is fun! Sometimes difficult, and if they’re too small I don’t even try. It’s not always worth the effort, but very satisfying when other people can’t spot them afterwards!
Oh no! We have a puzzle mat, which is basically a piece of felt so it kinda grips the pieces. I have yet to do a 2000 piece one because our mat was too small. But I’ve sourced a bigger bit of felt so hopefully that works. My partner did not notice the puzzle he brought home was 2000 pieces, so I’m glad he didn’t start it and we have to try and move it!
I’m thinking of gluing a large piece of felt or other cloth on one side of this board. It has just enough texture that most puzzles don’t slide, but this one happens to have very smooth pieces! Luckily it hasn’t fallen again, even though my cat got up on the table he didn’t knock any off this time.