Instructables

Photo Block Puzzle

Featured
Picture of Photo Block Puzzle
IMG_9040.jpg
IMG_9009.jpg
IMG_8983.jpg
These photo blocks make a great gift to a loved one or friend and are a  fun way to interact with your favorite photos.  At home in your hand, on the coffee table, or displayed on a shelf, they call to be played with and enjoyed.  This particular 3 x 3 block layout displays as few as 6, and as many 54 different photos, but you can scale the project up and make more blocks to display even more photos and make the puzzle harder to assemble. 

This project took only a few hours to make, would be great to build with kids or first-timers in the shop, and was a great custom gift for the holidays.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Dimension Wood on Table Saw

Picture of Dimension Wood on Table Saw
IMG_8737.jpg
IMG_8745.jpg
The photo blocks were made from an old Fir 4 x 4 post that was sitting outside in the shop yard.

Using a table saw, we cut the 4 x 4 down to approximately 3" by 3".  You can choose whatever size you'd like as this method is totally scalable - just make sure that the length, width and depth of the blocks are the same so you end up with perfect cubes.

Step 2: Cut Cubes on Chop Saw

Picture of Cut Cubes on Chop Saw
IMG_8760.jpg
IMG_8750.jpg
IMG_8766.jpg
IMG_8769.jpg
Trim the cubes their final dimension size on the chop saw.

We set a simple maple stop block in place on the saw so that every cut would be exactly the same.

Our photo puzzle was made from (9) 3" x 3" x 3" blocks to form a single 9" x 9" surface when assembled.

Step 3: Clamp and Sand

Picture of Clamp and Sand
IMG_8782.jpg
Once you have all of the blocks cut to size, clamp them together using some straight edges (we used some scrap steel square tube) in their assembled form.

Place a board on top of the assembled puzzle and level any blocks that misaligned in the clamping process with a dead blow or rubber mallet.

Next, sand the top surface of the blocks to eliminate any small imperfections.  120 grit paper is sufficient, as the wood will be getting a covering later on and won't be a finished surface.

ndouglas3035 months ago
It's great:)
donkeyknee9 months ago
nice desigin
msutton11 year ago
Awesome project!! Just finished mine for my girlfriend for Valentine's Day. I used only 4 blocks instead of 9 (lack of time, resources, etc.) but it came out just as beautiful! Great instructable!!
molar1 year ago
3 sets of this and you have a rubic cube :D
SHIFT!1 year ago
Oh man this brings back a lot of memories. Whenever my family would go to science museum gift shops, I'd always spend hours playing with these!

One suggestion I have is, for the much larger images, only cut three sides of each block. This will give you an awesome foldable picture puzzle!
Ceefa1 year ago
This is a great instructable and would make a really wonderful gift. I suppose the main issue is to make sure that your table saw and drop saw blades are at right angles to the bench surface or that would put the whole cube out of alignment. Thanks for sharing this idea.
jlambert1 year ago
Very nice, but I don't understand the Puzzle part.
Very, very cool. Will definitely attempt on my end, although with a table saw this becomes a little tricky. Maybe I'll go with smaller beams (2"x2") and have more cubes.
sunshiine1 year ago
Thanks for sharing your hard work! I hope your day shines!
sunshiine
PACW1 year ago
Very very nice. Looking at the pics for step 13 I could almost feel the knife jumping it's groove and slicing the photo. I still have difficulty with concepts like "slow and steady" and "a light even coat". Things like this inspire me to try harder, thank you!
Great idea. I plan to take pictures from my newest nephew's first year for a first birthday present.
chabias1 year ago
Nice job! At first glance, I thought it was a Rubik's cube.
Ninzerbean1 year ago
Incredible! I am going to make this project for sure. What a great idea for a vacation memory.
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!