I really enjoy doing puzzles, especially with my wife. I often buy puzzles with images and themes pertaining to something we like or something special for us. For example, the Disney movie Bambi is very special to us, so when a set of puzzles featuring Thomas Kinkade's Disney artwork was released, I made sure to surprise my wife with a Bambi one. We took a few days putting it together when we weren't working or in class, and actually had some energy to spare before going to bed. Once we finished it, we decided that we wanted to seal it and put it in a frame so that we could hang it in our bedroom. And that's still where it hangs today.
Sealing a puzzle, most often called Mod Podging due to the fact that most people use Mod Podge to do it, is a very simple process, takes very few items to do it, and yields fantastic results.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
You only need three things to Mod Podge a Puzzle:
- Sealer (The finish type will depend on the texture you want the finished product to have, I like to use Mod Podge Gloss)
- Paint Brush
Step 2: Finish Your Puzzle
If you haven't already, put your puzzle together. You will probably want to put it together on top of a smooth surface that you don't mind tearing up, such as some cardboard, aluminum foil, wax paper, or etc. This will make it easier to pick up the puzzle once the sealer is dry and will keep you from making a mess on whatever surface you are sealing the puzzle on top of.
If you've already finished your puzzle, but didn't do it on a proper surface for sealing, you can very carefully slide something under it without having to start over.
Step 3: Seal the Front of the Puzzle
Once you have finished your puzzle and are ready to seal it, simply paint the Mod Podge onto the front of the puzzle. Make sure to use a generous amount and make sure that it gets into all of the cracks. When I seal my puzzles, I paint the puzzle very sporadically at first and then I paint over the edges to make sure they are gotten too.
Once I am happy with the coverage, I run over the puzzle one more time, from left to right, to make sure that the texture will be in the same direction all over when it is dried.
Step 4: Seal the Back of the Puzzle
After the front has dried (typically I wait at least overnight, but the sealer should be dry after only a few hours, just follow the instructions on the bottle like you would spray paint), you should be able to pick up the puzzle as one piece, if the glue on the edge has sealed the puzzle to your work surface, you can carefully run a sharp knife, such as a hobby knife or a box cutter, along the edges of the puzzle to cut through the glue.
Now flip the puzzle over and paint the sealer onto the back of the puzzle. You shouldn't have to use as much glue on this side and the direction of the brush strokes won't matter either since nobody will be able to see the back.
Once the back dries, follow the same procedure to remove the puzzle from the work area if necessary and you are done sealing the puzzle.
Step 5: (OPTIONAL) Finish the Final Product
At this point, you can lightly sand and/or trim the edges of your sealed puzzle to make it look a little cleaner.
You can also pick out a nice frame to put it in and hang it on the wall.
Spraying some clear-coat over the sealed puzzle will also help smooth out the texture, and wet sanding after that will also help. Depending on your brush, the amount of sealer used, and even simply how you paint the sealer onto the puzzle, clear-coating may not even be necessary. I've put some of my sealed puzzles into frames without it and you can't see the texture under the glass except at certain angles or if you are very close to the framed puzzle.
Mod Podging a puzzle is very simple and can yield some very cool artwork for you to display. It can also be a great way to save something memorable that you may have put together with your family, or maybe just someone special.