Looking for a fun DIY project to work on? If you have some wooden boards lying around and a saw, here’s a one-hour project that’s sure to be a puzzling hit with the kids.
For our little one’s recent birthday, Eileen and I decided to throw a puzzle theme party. We had the idea to make a giant jigsaw puzzle as a fun yard activity for the kids.
My son is always watching (and pretend helping) me build projects around our home, so I thought that he would love that I was working on a special project for his birthday.
So, I made a 3-foot tall custom-made puppy puzzle.
It was a cute puppy with vibrant colors and caught all of the kids’ eyes. It was really easy to put together too. But most importantly, my son loved it.
When assembled, the puzzle was even firm enough to be a standing toy dog. So, it worked as a fun prop for photos too, especially since it was almost as tall as the kids at the party.
How to Make an Oversized Wood Jigsaw Puzzle
When figuring out how to make an oversized wood jigsaw puzzle, I started with some 10” wooden squares, each ¾” thick.
Making the squares was easy as I just bought a piece of 1 x 10 x 6 board from Home Depot and cut it into five 10” pieces (well, technically 9.25” pieces as that was the true width of the board).
Then I laid out the boards and sketched a simple outline of a dog.
I used silhouettes from dog images online as inspiration for my own design. After I was happy with the sketch, I moved to the garage to complete the puzzle.
Funny thing about this scroll saw is that I picked it up from the local Habitat for Humanity store for $5. It looks like it’s from the ‘70s too, but it worked like a charm.
If you don’t have a jigsaw or scroll saw, a regular hand (or hack) saw can work just as well, just a bit slower.
After the pieces were all cut, I placed them in a clamp and sanded the edges smoothly.Next, I had to attach all the interlocking pieces. One disadvantage of cutting my design out of squares was that the interlocking puzzle connectors would need manual attachment.
I cut the interlocking pieces out of the adjacent pieces. Then I opted to use pocket hole screws for attaching them. My Kreg pocket hole jig made this a super easy task. This was the fastest method for me, and also made for a very sturdy connection.
Here I am drilling some of the pocket holes:
I also labeled each connection so I would not attach the wrong piece by accident, and put some alignment marks to make sure they were in the correct position (or else the puzzle would look misaligned). Soon all the connectors were attached and the puzzle construction was complete.
The last step was painting. I used kid-friendly acrylic paints that Eileen had on hand. As far as colors, I used various bright colors.
The puppy puzzle was all done. I tested it with our little one and he loved it. He quickly put it together and started petting it.
This project fast, easy and cheap. It took only an hour to make, was a simple design and cost $11 for the board. It can easily be extended to other designs too.
How fun would it be to have a zoo of puzzle animals!