How to Assemble Jigsaw Puzzles

Two Parts:Assembling The PuzzleFinished Puzzle

Putting a jigsaw puzzle together can be challenging for those without much experience. However, it may be achieved simply and efficiently in easy to follow steps. Depending on your expertise on this subject, use the steps that best suit your needs. Alternatively, pick out the sections your experience is lacking in and try them out in your own personal routine.

Start on a small scale with simple scenes, large pieces, and minimal number of pieces. For example, a 50 – 300 piece rectangular puzzle can allow you to experiment with different methods without taking forever to put together. Once you are satisfied with a method of approach, graduate to a larger number of pieces (such as a puzzle with 300 – 1000 pieces, or even larger).

Part 1
Assembling The Puzzle

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    Select your work area. Try to pick a hard, flat surface such as a table. Ensure your area is large enough to accommodate the total number of pieces laid out individually face up.
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    Empty the contents of the box onto the work area.
    • Turn all pieces face up.
    • At the same time, select all the edge pieces and put them to one side. These become very helpful later. However, keep in mind that finding the edges of non-rectangular puzzles can be very difficult.
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    Assemble the edge pieces. Constructing the "frame" of the puzzle makes it much easier for you to work inward.
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    Another helpful step is to sort pieces by tabs and blanks. Tabs are the parts that jut out, and blanks are their counterpart.
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    One very popular method is to arrange pieces into color groups. When to do this step is determined by the design and complexity of the puzzle. Try to arrange all pieces into color groups (such as blue sky pieces, green grass pieces, red/yellows, and etc.) in separate areas.
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    After you sort pieces by color, try to complete the different color groups of the puzzle. These may be large swaths of the puzzle (such as the sky) or could be objects like houses or animals.
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    Place completed sections in the rough location where they seem to go. It is very helpful to use the completed picture (usually at the front of the box).
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    Continue "filling in the gaps" of the puzzle. Try to build upon the already completed and placed sections.
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    As you progress, you will eventually get to the stage where you can see the end of the project. At this point, things are much easier as the "holes" become single pieces.
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    Continue on until you complete the puzzle.

Part 2
Finished Puzzle

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    Once you are finished, decide what you want to do with the puzzle.
    • If the puzzle is also meant to be completed by others, carefully break down the puzzle and return the pieces to the box.
    • If you want to keep the puzzle, paint the surface of the puzzle with puzzle conserver. This stops the colorful art from fading over time. Determine the storage space for your puzzle and ensure it is safe from damage (moisture, harsh sunlight, heat, freezing, insects, etc.). Alternatively you can store it in a puzzle holder.
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    To frame the puzzle, first you have to select the size and kind of ‘backing board. Although color will depend on the puzzle art or your personal preference, keep in mind the lighter weight the board, the easier it is to carry when finished, especially if the puzzle is large.
    • Ensure the backing board is large enough for your finished puzzle.
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    • Place the jigsaw onto the board and frame with board cuttings positioned so as to allow for framing area. Remove the board cuttings.
    • Mark the perimeter of the jigsaw on the board with a pencil. Slide the jigsaw onto a spare board and re-install the board cuttings.
    • Slide the puzzle into its designated final position.
    • Place the other side of your sandwich board into place and clamp together.
    • Carefully turn the sandwich board over and move to a temporary storage area if you wish to work on it later.
    • Otherwise, break open the sandwich and return the original backing board to your work area. You can now paint the outer perimeter of the board (around the jigsaw area).
    • Re-install the board cuttings on the original board exposing jigsaw area.
    • Paint the jigsaw area with craft glue or puzzle glue.
    • Carefully position the jigsaw into place over the glued area by sliding it into place from the spare board. You may carefully place something flat over the jigsaw with weights so as to ensure adhering.
    • Cut off any excess board so you are left with the minimum allowable for your current puzzle.
    • Frame the puzzle area with board cuttings.


  • If you donate your jigsaw puzzles to other persons or to charities, it is courteous to tape a note to the front of the box letting the recipient know that all the pieces are there, or if any are missing. It can be really frustrating to get a second-hand puzzle and do a lot of it, only to discover that some pieces are missing.
  • When constructing a puzzle don’t get frustrated, because patience will be rewarded at the end of the project.
  • Don’t try to make the pieces fit; if they don’t get there easily, it’s because they do not belong in that position.
  • While completing your puzzle, take care not to accidentally brush pieces off your working area with loose clothing. You may not realise what you did and they could be lost.
  • When you do a puzzle do the border only to start off with it will help you get going faster.
  • After constructing the frame, organise the remaining pieces by colour and images. Normally the jigsaws have a reference image. Use this to your advantage.
  • Try your best in a jig-saw puzzle, remember that they are meant to tease your brain! So don't give up no matter what.


  • Keep the puzzle away from small children. They could swallow a piece, and that can be fatal. Plus, you’ll be missing a piece.
  • Do not spill food or drink on to your work area as this may cause serious damage to some of your pieces.

Things You'll Need

  • Jigsaw Puzzle
  • Table/Bench (Work Area)
  • Panel Board (or equivalent).
  • Puzzle Conserver
  • PVA Craft Glue
  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • 25mm Fold Back Clips. (To Clamp your Sandwich)
  • Glue Spreader (Light Sponge)
  • Patience

Article Info

Categories: Puzzles and Memory Games