Here's what you need. You can make this one of two ways, using hand tools and a table saw or using a laser cutter. I will be going through the steps of using the laser cutter.
If you happen to have access to a laser cutter, they are beneficial for making incredibly clean, straight and precise cuts, which, for a project like this is very helpful. 1/4" plywood
1. Be sure it's as flat as you can find, a warped piece of wood will not be your friend
2. Wood can be any thickness without changing the dimensions of any other parts. However, the wood throughout the project must be of equal thickness throughout, or things won't slide properly.
3. The amount you will need depends on how big you're going to make your puzzle.
My dimension break down for a 20" x 20" puzzle.
Tiles: this accounts for 3 layers of 16 tiles, allowing for one mess-up tile.
48 4 x 4"
Border: the border is a little funky because you need to allow for the pieces jutting out and the pieces receding. I set it up this way, although there are many ways to arrange it with the same results:
8 2 x 20" (these will get 45° cuts on both ends to make right angles)
1 2.5 x 17.5"
1 2.5 x 20"
1 1 x 17.5"
1 1 x 16.5"
(You can cut 2 at 2 x 20" and 2 at 1 x 20" and trim them down to size.)
Bottom: The bottom will serve as a support for the whole system. (optional)
1 20 x 20" wood glue
Total: 11.5 sq. ft of material. This breaks down most easily for cutting into one sheet of (16 x 48") and one of (20 x 43")
clamps or weights
epilogue laser cutter (OR chop saw & table saw)90° straight edge
, if you have one with both an exact corner and built in ruler, even betterrulerpencilstain or paint (optional)