Playing jigsaw puzzles needs time, effort, and patience (and space). Puzzling is so much fun, but there could be frustrations when you struggle to find the right piece. So, you should always have a jigsaw puzzle strategy in hand.
100-piece could be achievable for most people. For 500-piece or more, some sort of jigsaw puzzle strategy prior to starting would be significantly helpful. This is to avoid feeling defeated as well as make the whole experience more joyful.
Yes, playing jigsaw puzzles is a science and could need some tricks. Don’t ever pour all the pieces out on the ground and start right away!
Get ready for your jigsaw puzzles
First of all, you should spare some space, which depends on how many pieces you are playing. So, before starting, spend some time cleaning up and creating some room. It is essential to have a flat surface, so your puzzles would not fall off easily.
You may want to lay cardboard on the table (slightly bigger than the puzzle’s dimension). This is super handy if you plan to have it glued and hung on the wall after done. There are even puzzle mats available for sale online, allowing players to roll the unfinished puzzle up for storage to reclaim the space and resume the game later.
Some people only use the puzzle packaging box to help sort puzzles (Not a good idea, because you always need to refer to the cover while working). But, you may want to have extra bowls or boxes to store your sorted pieces. This may sound unnecessary, but it is a big help in the entire process, especially playing with bigger puzzles. You never want to miss a piece (or more), which is a nightmare and ruins your fun.
Next, beware of your pets, cats and dogs may jump around and will push over everything. Also, watch out for babies and toddlers!
Last but not least, good lighting is very important. Some pieces are in similar colors, and it would be a nightmare if they are messed up. Get a desk lamp!
More preparation before starting
So, after you open the bag and pour all pieces into the stage (slowly, don’t drop any on the floor). The first thing to do is to keep every piece face upwards.
The point is to categorize them into groups. The obvious rule is to identify the edges first and place all of them into a bowl or box.
The next step is to sort the remaining pieces based on their colors/patterns/textures. Of course, the jigsaw puzzle strategy is subject to the nature of the theme.
Categorizing ideas varies, and some examples include grouping them into, e.g. “blue sky“, “brown tree“, “green leaves” and “black soil“. However, if a zone does not offer many variations or has the same colors, then you may identify the pieces based on their sizes. Anyway, the ultimate goal is to break a huge mission into smaller and organized tasks.
This sorting process could be time-consuming and dull, but it is going to make things a lot easier after grouped. Sure you will thank yourself for this step in the long run…
The bigger the puzzles, the longer it takes to categorize and the more important this preparation is!
In case some groups end up having an excessive number of pieces, you may need a second-level sorting to have them more manageable. The aim of all this preparation is to make your life easier later.
Implement the Jigsaw Puzzle Strategy
- When all your sorting is ready, let’s get started with the actual jigsaw puzzle strategy.
- It is simply a tradition: Build the border/edge first. This likely applies to other shapes also, such as rounded puzzles.
- Assemble the biggest, outstanding, most contrasted parts first. This includes the main and bigger characters, such as a building, animal, or plant. Within that area, you can then focus on smaller sections at a time, e.g. corners/edges of a building, or the animal’s foot. The more contrast it is, the easier you can build around it. Of course, by all means, you may start with any sections that you feel are easier.
- If there is no character in the theme, you can build based on textures that are easier to recognize. For instance:
- With some contrasts: Mickey Mouse’s white gloves and dark background, apple on the table, some logo/badges, autograph/signature of the artist, etc.
- With patterns: tiles of a rooftop, bricks of a chimney, etc.
- Keep working! It is no doubt difficult in the beginning, but remind yourself that you are getting closer after each move. If you are stuck on something, take a break and walk away for a while. Come back and try again! Don’t be stubborn: Don’t spend too much time finding a specific piece. There is a chance that it may be missing or hidden somewhere at the moment, or the piece is wrongly sorted into another group.
Tips and Benefits in Playing Together with Family and Friends
- A jigsaw puzzle is not necessarily a game for single players. Apart from playing cards or board games, this is a fun game to play at any gathering. Not bad, if you can keep children quiet and stay focused for a while.
- Assigning duties to your family members and friends. Everyone/team takes care of a role in the categorization or/and building of a specific zone. It is challenging to work together, yet good for bonding.
- For kids and the elderly, puzzling helps develop hand-eye coordination and memory. This is also a test for organization, concentration, and patience, perfect for children who are growing and developing.
- Of course, to make the whole time more engaged, you can personalize your own version of puzzles, with family and friends’ photographs. Extra fun!
- In the end, after completed, the sense of accomplishment is hard to describe in words. Having it hung on the wall, it feels good every time looking at the final product.
What to do with the completed jigsaw puzzles?
- Dissemble it after a while, and place them back in the box.
- Exchange with others, and try another box. There are online communities organizing these so-called Traveling Puzzles.
- Frame the puzzle and hang it on the wall, both ideal for home and office.
- Use special glue (not ordinary glue) for puzzles to protect the surface from the air before being mounted. This can make your puzzles more durable.
If you are tired of the usual jigsaw puzzles, let’s customize a unique one with your own designs or images. If you happen to be a designer, you can even monetize them directly from your website or start a new shop here.
Puzzling should be a fun game, so make it happen!
If you run an eShop, consider adding QPMN’s custom jigsaw puzzles to your product category.