Introduction: How to Make / DIY Dolphin Puzzles

About: I like to make fun projects and document it all for my channel BCDesign on YouTube!

Do you know when you get to see something so AMAZING you just have to share?!?! Well, that's what brought me here this time. I got this awesome chance to see, and to record video of dolphins in their natural habitat during a trip recently. My kids loved the videos - My 4 year old called it The Dolphin Show. And in their dolphin fever asked me to make them some thing. I came up with this simple puzzle jigsaw. You can watch the video to have an idea of how I made it, but the tutorial will always be here on Instructables, so that you can take your time and go back to it as many time as you need it. But watch the video and enjoy the Dolphin Show! (Don't forget thumbs up. share and subscribe!!!)


  1. 2 pieces A4 size (8.27 × 11.69 inches) of 1/4 inch Plywood
  2. Print out a Dolphin Pattern (Or whatever other shape you might want to use instead) I got mine by looking up google and Pinterest here
  3. Wood glue
  4. Clamps
  5. Scroll Saw/ Fretsaw
  6. Circular saw or Hand saw
  7. Sander or sanding paper (you might need some elbow grease here)
  8. Acrylic paints - Colors of your choosing
  9. Water based top coat - I used lacquer as it was what I had handy but you can use a spray or any other type of water based varnish)
  10. Paint brushes and/or foam brushes

Step 1: Let's Get Cutting...

  • Use your A4 page as a size guide to cut your plywood
  • Use your saw (circular saw, hand saw...whatever it is you have) to cut the plywood. You can use a square to guide it and to ensure a straight edge

!! Remember to observe all safety precautions!! ie.: Don't go putting in your hands onto the saw's path

Step 2: Let's Get in Shape

  • There are a few ways you can get this done now. I had no carbon paper handy or temporary glue so I used a pencil and traced the pattern, heavily, on to the wood and then I went over the marking made with the pencil so that I could see it when cutting it out. BUT it would probably be easier to transfer the picture with carbon paper or just sticking it to the wood with some temp glue.
  • Get your scrollsaw/fretsaw and cut the shape out - Now, if you weren't going to use the shape, to start cutting you would drill a hole to fit the saw blade through but because you ARE going to need it, start cutting from the outer edge of the frame inwards. You are going to glue it back together in the next step.
  • Remove the dolphin shape from its frame to cut the puzzle pieces
  • Now, the smaller/more pieces you cut into, the harder the puzzle will be and my kids are under 6, so I kept the pieces on the big side. Use your scrollsaw on this step too. There is no set pattern for this. Check out the picture.

Step 3: Glue Up!

Okay, you want the dolphin to be facing right with this pattern, then you need to first spread the glue on the bottom side of the cut out piece (Remember you had 2 pieces of plywood? You only cut one, so the second one should be intact and it will be the base of the puzzle). Flip it over and stick it to the base.

Once that's done you can apply the clamps and wait for it to dry (You can watch the The Dolphin Show again while you wait. My kids love it when they jump out the water!)

Step 4: Smoothing Things Out and Elbow Grease

Is the glue dry?? Cool! Now, take the clamps off and get your sander or sand paper

Sand the base and pieces lightly. I said lightly, as if you sand it too much the pieces might not fit together anymore, so be careful here. Sand it until all splinters and rough edges are gone.

Step 5: Let Your Imagination Go Wild

It's time to paint!

I had 2 puzzles and they were done to completely different ideas, but each piece was painted and lacquered individually. Let your imagination go wild or even get your kids to help. There are no limits. Have fun!!!!

Thank you for checking out this tutorial and watching the video (Did you not watch it yet?! Do it now then!)

Don't forget to vote for this tutorial too. Thanks again!

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