Puzzle pieces can be put to other uses with these fun ideas.
By Terri Blazell
Jigsaw puzzles are a double-edged sword. They are fun to put together, but once you’re done, what then? Perhaps you might want to glue one together and hang it on a wall, but there’s only so much wall space in your motorhome “” or your house, for that matter.
Usually we just disassemble the pieces and put the puzzles back in their boxes, and they rarely see the light of day again unless we give them to someone else. For some reason, once you’ve put a puzzle together, you never want to do it again.
If a piece turns up missing, the puzzle is deemed worthless, no matter how inconsequential the lost piece may be. No one wants to put together a puzzle with one piece missing. Of course, when I’m putting together a jigsaw puzzle, I’m convinced most of the pieces are missing. I’m always tempted to resort to the “cut and hammer” method of assembling puzzles. Eventually the right piece turns up, though.
Following are a few crafts that you can create by using old puzzle pieces. You can make some just for yourself and a few friends, or you can produce a whole batch and sell them at the next rally craft boutique. They’re easy for children to make, too.
Speaking of kids, it’s best to use the smaller pieces from adult jigsaw puzzles for these crafts. Such pieces are usually about 1/2-inch to 1 inch in size, as opposed to the larger pieces that come with children’s puzzles. Then again, you may want to mix it up, using larger pieces as the base and smaller ones on top. You are limited only by your imagination.
Picture Frame Craft
Cut a picture frame out of cardboard (or buy inexpensive frames from a dollar store). If cutting out your own, make the opening 3 3/4 inches by 5 3/4 inches for a 4-inch-by-6-inch photograph. Make the frame 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches all the way around so that the overall size is approximately 5 inches by 7 inches.
Gather between 20 and 30 puzzle pieces. Divide them into separate piles and lay the pieces out flat on newspaper. Spray-paint them complementary colors such as green and red for Christmas, red and white for Valentine’s Day, or silver and gold for every day (or for anniversaries). School colors or team colors can be fun, too.
By the way, if you are making only a few of these, you may not want to invest inlarge cans of spray paint. Some craft stores and hardware stores carry smaller cans; or, you can always hand-paint the pieces. Also, in lieu of painting the pieces, you can hand-select them for their existing colors. You may find vibrant hues, depending on the puzzle’s image.
After the paint has dried, glue the puzzle pieces all around the frame. Overlap them, two to three layers. Tape a photograph to the back of the frame, facing out through the opening, and add a ribbon to hang it; or create an easel back for desktop display by gluing a separate piece of cardboard to the back. A strong magnet also can be glued to the back, if you want to display it on a metallic surface.
Follow the directions above, but instead of making a rectangular frame, cut the cardboard into holiday shapes such as stars or Christmas trees. You can still cut an opening to insert a photograph, and it can be a nice touch. Glue on your puzzle pieces. Punch a hole near the top, and thread with a pretty ribbon for hanging on a tree.
Friendship Pin Or Magnet
This is my favorite. This craft requires hand-selecting specific puzzle piece shapes. Choose shapes that look like people, with legs, arms, and a head. Paint them complimentary colors such as gold and silver, red and purple (for the Red Hat Society), and so forth.
Glue these pieces together at the spot where their “hands” interlock or overlap, or cut a small rectangle out of cardboard and glue them side by side onto it. Make the cardboard small enough so it doesn’t show. Next, glue a brooch pin or a magnet to the back. (Or, use the pin from your FMCA rally badge.) This design also can be glued to a plain hairclip.
You can personalize these “people” by adding your friends’ names to the figures, although you’ll have to write small. Line up as many as you like to represent your grandkids or a group of friends. Create some as souvenirs for a silver or golden anniversary celebration.
You don’t have to use human figures, either. You might find some that look like your pets. Go where your imagination takes you.
The paint is usually all you need to protect the puzzle pieces on all of the above crafts, but a protective clear coating can be added for extra longevity.