A basic guide to making your very own slide puzzles!
Step 1: Layout Your Pieces to Cut
Here is the file that we worked with. We cut ours out of 1/8" baltic birch plywood. We also used this file with acrylic, but you need to much more precise with acrylic. Wood is more forgiving as you can sand the pieces down to make sure that they slide nicely.
Step 2: Cut It Out
Cut your pieces out. In our version, I added an etched image to the top tiles. You can use an image, some text or even just numbers on each tile.
Once they are all cut, take a fine grit sand paper and sand all pieces. You want to be sure that all pieces are nice and smooth.
Step 3: Partially Assemble the Back
You want to begin by assembling pieces of the backing- this will help you put together the individual tiles.
To the square back, add one of the square frames and the thicker "L" piece with an etched lip. Use wood glue to stick these together and be sure clean up any excess glue as this will get in the way of our tiles.
Step 4: Assemble the Tiles
To assemble each tile, you want to slide one of the square tiles with the "L" etch into the backing you have put together. The etched edge should slide right under the lip you have created.
Add a bit of glue here and stick one of the middle pieces on there. (the middle pieces are the ones with the corners cut off) Do this for all 8 of your tiles.
Step 5: Sand and Oil
At this point we would recommend, giving all the half assembled tiles another quick sand and a once over with some danish oil if you happen to have some around. This will ensure that all the pieces move around nice and easy once it's all assembled. Test them out before moving on.
Tip: If you find they are still catching, you can round off the corners a bit.
Step 6: Paint Your Image
It's at this point that I painted the top of all my tiles. I used acrylic paint, but if you happen to cut your pieces with some masking tape on, you can use spray paint. Or just leave them in wood.
Step 7: Assemble Your Puzzle
There's two ways of finishing up your slide puzzle:
1- Glue the tops of the tiles together, put them in the slide puzzle and then glue in the skinny "L" and the final square piece to the frame. In this way the slide puzzle pieces are locked into place when you glue in the final square piece. I show this technique in the video.
2-The other way of doing it is to finish assembling the frame, add the half assembled tiles, and then glue the tile tops into place. This way requires that you be a bit careful that nothing is off centre, as it could cause some real wonky-ness. This is the technique we went with here. This way of doing it gives me the opportunity to paint the frame all nice.
Tip: If you are feeling fancy and decide to paint the back of your puzzle (the part under the tiles), be sure to sand that baby down again before assembling everything. Even a bit of rough paint can make your tiles stick.
Step 8: Ta-daa!
There you go. It's all done. Now you can mix it all up and try to put the pieces back in order. We can't help you with that part.