by Gail Sanders
Here are the complete instructions to make decoupage puzzle sets from wooden blocks – each set that you make will be a wonderful one-of-a-kind homemade gift with six different pictures on each puzzle!
Shown here is a 2 x 3 puzzle using 2″ blocks and illustrations from a cat picture book.
Photos of a Peter Pan puzzle that uses smaller blocks are shown below, along with instructions on how to do different variations of these decoupaged puzzle block sets.
Six 2″ wooden blocks
six pictures 4″ by 6″ or a larger picture trimmed to 4″x6″
Several years ago I started making decoupage puzzle block sets for friends and family — an instant hit! I have given these at Christmas, for birthdays, wedding gifts, and baby showers. Besides being appreciated as quality hand-made gifts, these can be personalized to fit the recipient – dog prints for the dog lover, Norman Rockwell for the Rockwell collector, teddy bears for the mother-to-be. The possibilities are endless!
Though you will be only using six pictures for the set, in the event of a mistake, it is recommended to have one or two extra pictures handy. Recommended picture sources include greeting cards, post cards, illustrations from children’s books and calendars. You DO NOT want paper that is shiny or very thin (ie. no magazines, photos, or wrapping paper). With this particular craft project thin paper tends to bubble when the decoupage glue dries; this makes working with the paper difficult.
PREPARING THE PICTURES
If your picture is larger than 4″ x 6″, you will need to trim it to 4″x 6″.
Cut the trimmed picture into two 2″ x 6″ strips.
Repeat for the remaining five pictures.
Set the strips aside, being careful to group the pairs of strips together.
FINAL DECOUPAGE SEALING (OPTIONAL)
To help protect the blocks, you can put on two (recommended) coats of decoupage for each picture. Be sure to wait for each coat to dry before putting on a second coat or before turning the block to work on another side.
To complete a 2 x 3 set (that is, to cover 36 block sides) usually takes 1 to 2 hours, depending upon the crafter.
4 x 3 puzzle using 1.5″ blocks and
illustrations salvaged from a battered copy of “Peter Pan”
Using the principles and procedures described above you can easily vary the size and number of blocks for your puzzle. I have made 5 x 6 sets from calendars using 2″ blocks and well as 3 x 4 sets from greeting cards using 1″ blocks. Remember the number of columns (or rows, your choice) will determine the total number of picture strips you will need. With a 5 x 6 set using 2″ blocks you will need five 2″ x 6″ strips; with a 3 x 4 set using 1″ blocks you will need three 1″ x 4″ strips. How long it takes to assemble the block set will be determined by the total number of blocks. Remember with a 5 x 6 set you will be covering 180 block sides!