Jigsaw Puzzles: Tips You Must Know Before You Start

A Blog by Allen Jin
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Jigsaw puzzles had a huge resurgence when everyone was stuck indoors, people had rediscovered the simple joy of pouring all their attention and focus into a puzzle for several hours. The relaxing, therapeutic, and brain-exercising properties of jigsaw puzzles are the reasons why people keep coming back, eager to piece together another beautiful picture. They’re the perfect way to spend a weekend indoors.

However, solving jigsaw puzzles can also be a skill and an art form to be honed and perfected. If you’re competitive at heart and are looking to get into the world of jigsaw puzzle speed solving, look no further as we bring you some must-know tips before you begin.

Choosing A PuzzlePuzzlesPuzzles

First and foremost, work out how much space you have to complete your puzzle. If you’re at a coffee table, you may just have space for a 500 piece, but a dining table will most likely fit a 1000 piece puzzle comfortably. All puzzles will state their dimensions on the side of the box.

The important thing to know about jigsaw puzzles is what makes them challenging. Some may be deceptively simple, and some may be deceptively hard. The best puzzles have a mix of both easy and difficult areas, allowing you to experience a variety of challenge levels as you progress through.

  • Puzzles with distinct patterns and sections across the entire image are generally easier, as the majority of the pieces will be unique and therefore less likely to be mixed up.
  • Puzzles with large sections of the same colour or patterns are much harder, as it is more difficult to distinguish each piece.

There are also several elements that make a puzzle, or a section of a puzzle, particularly easy:

  • Faces
  • Text
  • Elements small enough to fit within a single puzzle piece.

Initial Sorting

Sorting puzzle pieces

Solving jigsaw puzzles is a constant process of sorting the pieces.

  • Separate pieces of similar colours and patterns
  • Separate every piece with a straight edge, these pieces can only exist on the outer edge of your puzzle. Pieces with 2 straight edges are one of the four corners.
  • Make sure to lay all the pieces in one layer, as you don’t want pieces piled on top of each other, hiding other pieces.
  • Make sure all pieces are facing up.

The Edge

The edge of a puzzle

Start by piecing together all the edge pieces you were able to separate out. This will establish the space you have to work within and the scale of each piece when referencing the full image.

Landmarks

Landmarks

Pick out the pieces that correspond to parts of the image you can recognise, and begin working on those sections of the puzzle, rather than working your way out from the edge. You can start anywhere, even in the middle.

Continue to sort your pieces, refining them even further into more and more specific patterns and colours.

This is where you must really have an eye for detail.

Once you have these loose sections, you can much more easily bring them together, like islands joining their borders.

If You Get Stuck, Move On To Another Section

Everyone gets stuck on that one annoying piece that just doesn’t seem to show. Before you start hopelessly looking in the bag or god forbid, under the couch, simply just move on to another section of the puzzle and come back to it later.

Ever been trying to look for your pen, phone, or TV remote and realised you’ve been holding it the whole time? We’re not sure what that psychological phenomenon is called but it happens with jigsaw puzzles as well! Chances are that piece will reveal itself, so don’t worry about it!

Sorting by Shape

Puzzle pieces

Once you reach the sections of the puzzle defined by big blocks of the same colour or pattern, and the pieces are indistinguishable from each other, it’s time to begin sorting by the shape of the puzzle piece (if you’re solving a Ravensburger Krypt puzzle, this process would have started from the beginning). Make sure they are all oriented the same way.

This will be the most challenging part of the puzzle, so patience is key. But as your remaining pieces go down, the pace will pick up before eventually, you have a completed jigsaw puzzle!

Complete puzzle

Follow these tips and you’ll be a jigsaw puzzle solving master in no time! Share your latest puzzles with us on Instagram by tagging us @hobbycosydney.