Looking for a personalized DIY gift? Create a unique puzzle using an enlarged copy of a favorite family photo or your own design drawn on paper. You can monitor the level of difficulty depending on whether the recipient is a child or an adult.
Step 1 - Decide on Your Picture
Look through your family albums and find a photo that you would like to use. Take your photo to the nearest copy center and have an 11x14 inch and an 8x11 inch color copy made of the original picture. Use the large copy for your puzzle and the small copy for the cover of your puzzle box. If you prefer, you can create your own puzzle design on blank paper.
Your ideas could include flowers, animals, landscapes, and family portraits. Draw the design in pencil first. Once your drawing is complete, trace over your lines with a fine tip black marker. Next, fill in all of the spaces between the lines with colored permanent markers. Be sure to fill all of the space on the paper to create the most effective design.
Step 2 - Size Your Board
Ensure that your cardboard or foam board is the correct size. Place the large copy of your photo onto your board and trace around it with a pencil. Remove the paper from the board and then use your scissors or Exacto knife to cut out the shape you traced.
Step 3 - Attach Your Photo or Picture to the Board
Turn your large photocopy over so that the blank side is facing upward. Apply your glue in a thin layer over the entire space of the paper. Use a wet paintbrush to evenly apply the glue to the surface. Lift up your photo and carefully place the glued side of the paper onto your cut board. Gently press out any air bubbles that may have formed.
Press the paper onto the board moving your fingers from the center of the paper to the outside area. Turn the photo board upside down so that the cardboard or foam board is facing up. Place one or two heavy books onto the board and allow the glue a few hours to dry completely.
Step 4 - Create Your Puzzle Pieces
Once the glue has dried completely, use a pencil to create the puzzle design on your board. Your puzzle pieces should be about 1 inch by 1 inch in size so that the complete design is about 40 to 45 pieces altogether. Trace over your pencil lines with a fine tip marker so that they are easier to see. Use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over your design to protect your photo.
Allow the Mod Podge enough time to dry completely. When the surface is dry, use your scissors or Exacto knife to carefully cut along the puzzle piece lines you have drawn onto your board.
Step 5 - Package Your Puzzle Pieces
Use a Ziploc plastic bag or a small cardboard box to store your puzzle pieces. If you are using a photo for your puzzle, place the smaller copy you made into the bag or box as well so you can identify it.