After some blood, sweat, and tears you finally completed your jigsaw puzzle! Congrats, we are so proud of you! But why the sad face? Let us guess, you are feeling how we feel once that final piece is in place. That feeling of dread and disappointment that you’ll most likely now be disassembling your puzzle masterpiece to go back into its box and only to have it reclaim its spot on that dusty shelf until the next time your puzzle juices are flowing. It’s ok, we understand it’s part of living that puzzle lifestyle - highs and lows. One minute you are overwhelmed by the 500 pieces strewn about your coffee table and the next you are looking at a beautiful one-of-a-kind illustrated map of the state of Massachusetts. But don’t fret my puzzle partner! There is another option out there than returning your jigsaw puzzle to the shelf of despair. You can frame that bad boy! That's right you can frame that puzzle up to be a statement piece of art to hang at your house, cabin, A-frame, tiny home, office, camper, yurt, apartment - wherever! Have you ever seen a framed puzzle? If so, did it grab your attention? We bet it did. So we put together a few easy steps you can take to keep that completed puzzle endorphin high going long after that final piece is put in place.
DIY Puzzle Framing
Step 1: Complete the puzzle
Pretty obvious, we know, but still, it's step one and it’s not like we could skip over this step now could we?
Step 2: Cover Your Surface
If you are doing your jigsaw puzzling on a coffee table or surface you want to protect, put down some wax paper first so that you can be sure not to get any glue on your work area. Newspapers can also work in a pinch but it may stick to the puzzle when the glue dries, not a huge deal as you will not be looking at the back of the puzzle once framed anyway.
Step 3: Flatten
We find that puzzle fans many times are also bakers, is that a stereotype? We are not entirely sure - but both involve patience, effort, and attention to detail. So if you're a baker grab that rolling pin and roll away. You want to be sure your puzzle is completely flat with no raised pieces or edges. An unplugged iron can work too or a large hardcover book. Once the puzzle is as flat as the earth*, you need
to brush it off or wipe it down to be sure there is no dust or foreign substances on the puzzle.
Step 4: Glue
At Brainstorm Puzzle Co. we love doing puzzles and, well, once they are framed...you can’t do them anymore. So we call this step a “conflict of interest”. But a framed puzzle can be a stunning addition to any room so we get it, just know there is no turning back now.
There are a few types of glue out there to use but most puzzle peeps agree that Mod Podge is top-notch. The reason being it has a low moisture content, glues with a lot of moisture can cause the puzzle to warp and break down over time so this glue works very well for framing. Mod Podge has a few options such as glossy or matte finish and an acid-free product that is our go-to.
You simply take the glue and spread it across the surface of your puzzle. You can use an old credit card, business card, or piece of boxboard to spread the glue evenly across the face of the puzzle, you may see a slight film but this clears up once dry.
Step 5: Double-Check Your Measurements
Our made-in-the-USA puzzles are all created in-house by us, Briana, and Jason! Our puzzle measurements are put right on the box, similar to all puzzle companies out there. However, we have noticed that we have done a few puzzles that are not precisely to spec. This is a factory thing and is very difficult to control. Even being off by an ⅛ of an inch, or being too thick can completely throw off your framing project. So before you purchase that frame for your puzzle take one last measurement and be sure your puzzle is the exact size you think it is. Utilizing the glass or plexi that the frame comes with may come in handy here, so if the puzzle is slightly smaller it won’t fall out of the frame. Or if it is too big, definitely let the puzzle company know so they can alert their factory of defects.
Step 6: Frame Away!
Now that your jigsaw puzzle is flattened, cleaned, glued together, and dry you are ready to frame it. There are so many choices when it comes to frames but try to get a frame that matches the style of the puzzle. Also, consider the thickness of your puzzle if you are considering matting your puzzle, mats can add quite a bit of additional thickness and may not fit in the frame you purchased. We love Frame USA for their plethora of options!