Making Pictures Out of Puzzles; It’s Easy and Looks Great

Finding a suitable picture to fill that large space over the fireplace mantle will take something in the order of 2’x4′ to even look right. Commercial artwork of that size will cost you hundreds of dollars. This can be quite a hit to the monthly budget, plus once you’ve made the investment what you’ve got is what you’ve got.

My Wife changes furniture placement about as often as I mow the grass, investing all your eggs in one basket would take away the ability to redecorate on a whim. With a few hours effort you can construct a great reversible framed picture that will let you showcase two different seasons for very little money.

The first step is to go buy two 1,000 piece puzzles that suit your fancy. Our choice for summer was a quaint little country church along side a pond with a couple white swans in the fore ground. The choice for winter had a cozy log cabin set in the woods with a couple deer in the fore ground. The frame for winter was made from a couple 6′ lengths of 1×3 cedar that was coated with polyurethane. For the summer side two 6′ lengths of 1×3 pine is sufficient as we intend on painting it a light color, probably white.

The first step is to assemble a puzzle, see you in a couple days. When you have it completed slide a couple sheets of newspaper under the puzzle to protect the surface under the puzzle. Coat the puzzle with three good coats of Mod Podge Puzzle Saver. Available at any craft store, this stuff glues the puzzle pieces together as well as provides a shiny coating to protect the puzzle. After the puzzle is dry and in one piece you can carefully pick it up by the edges and turn it over.

Next you want to glue a sheet of poster board to the back of the puzzle. Leave a one inch border of poster board around the puzzle to give you a mounting surface when you attach it to the frame. Repeat this same process with the second puzzle and you will be ready to assemble your reversible picture.

Cut a piece of 1/4″ luan plywood about 2″ larger then the dimensions of the puzzle and the poster board combination. This is of course assuming that both puzzles when mounted on poster board are the same size.

Center the puzzles on each side of the plywood and glue them in place. Now you need to cut the pieces for your frame. Cutting corners at 45 degrees is the norm. If you don’t have a miter box saw it may be easier to just use straight cuts and butt the corner pieces together to form an “L” corner.

Nail the first frame together by nailing through the plywood into the 1×3. Apply glue to the plywood before you attach the 1×3 frame. Nails will hold it together until the glue drys. The second frame will require you to nail through the frame boards and plywood into the frame boards for the other side. This will take some longer finishing nails.

If you plan on using polyurethane as your finish be sure to do a neat clean job on your corners. Gaps and repairs will show through the finish and diminish the quality of your project. If your corners, when complete, have gaps or spaces just fill with wood filler, sand and paint. Paint covers a multitude of errors and will look just as good when it’s all said and done.

That’s it, now place that picture above the mantle, back up a few feet, and I doubt anyone will even notice that your art work originated as a simple puzzle. Honest it will look that good, and it cost you a fraction of what a commercial piece of artwork would have.

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