Introduction: How to Make a Puzzle Out of a Painting

About: Hi! I am a passionate artist and writer! I'd like to share everything I've learnt (and keep learning) with you. Hopefully, my art tutorials will be of some use to you!

Looking for a thoughtful gift for your friends and family? Or do you need a fun way to kill time? Well, I have a fun solution for you. Today, I'll be taking you through every step on how to make your own puzzle painting.

This puzzle set is perfect as a present on birthdays for your loved ones as it's fully customizable.

The best part is you can make it out of things that can be found lying around your house.


Before we get started here are the few materials you'll be needing.

- paper and pen/pencil to brainstorm ideas

- cardboard

- tape

- choice of paint medium (watercolours, gouache etc.)

- puzzle template

- scissors or x-acto knife (parental supervision advised)

Step 1: Brainstorming

Before we can jump into painting on our cardboard, we need to decide what we're going to paint.

If you're creating this for a birthday, then try painting a portrait of the birthday girl/boy or a quote/drawing they like. If you're still stuck and can't think of any ideas, then just grab a paper and pen and let the ink guide you. Just fill a page with doodles until you feel you've found the perfect idea.

My idea was a cottage surrounded by foliage.

If you're doing this for/with a younger audience, try thinking of ideas with big shapes and bold colours. The more detailed your design, the harder the puzzle will be.

Step 2: Planning Your Composition

After you feel you've settled on your main theme/idea for your puzzle, take a couple of seconds to roughly sketch out where each element will be. Plan the composition by thumbnailing your idea. This is your final sketch that you will be transferring onto your cardboard to paint.

Step 3: Transferring the Sketch

There's one last thing to be done before starting to paint! You'll need to move the sketch you did in the last step to your piece of cardboard. You can choose a big piece of cardboard for a big puzzle and a small piece for a small puzzle.

Before starting to paint, make sure you lightly erase your sketch so the pencil lines won't show in the finished painting.

Step 4: Painting and Sealing!

Finally, we are at the long-awaited, fun part!

Now, this step is pretty self-explanatory. Just paint away! Use bright colours for a nice bold puzzle.

TIP: Try to fill in most spaces in the background or else your puzzle will be hard with just plain spaces to put together.

Take your time painting until you truly fill the piece is finished. Don't feel like there are enough details? Go in with a pencil crayon, fineliner or gel pen and add shading and lines until you feel the painting is complete.

If you'd like to use this puzzle long-term, be sure to seal your painting with varnish or mod podge.

Step 5: Before Cutting

This step is crucial before you start cutting your painting into puzzle pieces.

You'll need to find a template. If you're doing this for kids, try finding a template with only four puzzle pieces. The more puzzle pieces, the more complex the puzzle. Be sure to print it out and trim it so it's the size of your painting.

Then, you'll want to tape the template to the backside of your painting (puzzle template facing downwards). You'll only need to tape the sides just so it doesn't move around while you're cutting.

Step 6: Cut Away!

First, flip your puzzle template so that it's facing up. Then, trace the puzzle lines with an x-acto knife. If you don't have x-acto knife, then you'll have to cut out each individual puzzle piece. If you are planning on using scissors, then a tip would be to pick a template with less intricate lines.

Another tip would be to number the backsides of the puzzle pieces as a cheat if you can't figure out where a puzzle piece goes.

Step 7: Last Step!

Tada! You have officially completed your puzzle! Give yourself a pat on the back.

For the finishing touches, store your puzzle pieces in a cute box or a ziplock/Tupperware for future uses.

And there you have it! Your very own custom puzzle.

Let me know what you think!

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