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How to Make a Custom Photo Puzzle

A custom photo puzzle makes a great gift and it’s SO easy! Use photos of kids, pets or your favorite places for this picture puzzle project.

Skills Required: Beginner. You don’t need much Mod Podging experience to make this puzzle. However, I encourage you to have patience, especially in step 3. Allow for proper drying time so that you avoid wrinkles.

How to make a DIY custom photo puzzle

Meet Stephanie from somewhat simple. She is your host for the day with a custom photo puzzle, while I sit on the beach drinking Mai Tais. Kidding! I only wish.

Stephanie is a fantastic blogger, but I’ll let her tell you about herself below. We swapped today, so come to her blog to see the decoupage project I did. Happy Friday Podgers!


Hey there Mod Podge-ers! My name is Stephanie, and I am the creative mind and creator of somewhat simple.

I am so excited to be taking over this blog today! I started blogging this past summer – it is my little corner of the universe where I share craft tutorials and all things creative.

DIY Puzzle

All 3 of my kids have been sick this week (go ahead, feel sorry for me!). In between cuddling the sickos and disinfecting my house over and over again, I put together this fun DIY picture puzzle tutorial. It’s for anyone who wants a cute, easy project their kids can enjoy (when they aren’t sick, of course!),

I call it “A Family Picture Puzzle” (so original, I know!) Each step of the tutorial has a picture, for those of you visual learners  like me.

Printing Photos for Your DIY Photo Puzzle

Before you actually make your picture puzzle, you’re going to need to print out the image of your choice. I recommend scanning your image into your computer – you won’t want to use original photos or photo paper for this project.

Your best bet is to print out your image on a dry toner or laserjet printer so that there’s no smearing. I’ve found that my HP inkjet works even though it’s not a laserjet, because HP uses what seems to be a very dry ink.

When I print out my images, I let them dry for several hours before using them. You can also go to a Kinko’s or somewhere with a laser printer.

If you don’t have access to a laserjet printer, I recommend spraying both sides of your inkjet image with a clear acrylic sealer before Mod Podging.

This will help prevent your image from smearing. If you’re going to spend the time and effort to make a custom photo puzzle, especially if it’s a gift, you don’t want anything to go wrong!

Once you have your image printed, you are ready to begin. Learn how to make a puzzle below.

Make a Photo Puzzle

Gather These Supplies

  • Picture printed on dry toner or laserjet paper
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Scrapbook Paper – 1 sheet
  • Chipboard (ie, a cereal box) – needs to be larger than your image.
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  • Sponge brush
  • You may also want a Ziploc baggie and a shipping label (those are not pictured, but I will show you what I did with them later in the tutorial)

Instructions

Make a custom photo puzzle with Mod Podge

Step 1. Cut one side of your cereal box. Each box will make two puzzles so save that other side!

Step 2. Also save your Box Top for Education. Send it to school with your kids (this isn’t relevant to the tutorial, but I had to throw it in there!),

Step 3. Apply your picture to the non-patterned (brown) side of the cereal box with Mod Podge. Use a medium layer of Mod Podge, place the picture down, and smooth thoroughly with your fingers or a brayer. If any Mod Podge squeezes out the sides, wipe it away with a brush.

Let dry for 15 – 20 minutes, then apply a layer of Mod Podge over the top. Let dry.

Apply scrapbook paper to the back of your picture puzzle

Step 4. Turn your cardboard over and apply your scrapbook paper to the backside with more Mod Podge. It should be a relatively thick piece of scrapbook paper so that it covers the cereal box pattern.

If your scrapbook paper is thin, you might want to consider painting the cereal box white before applying the paper. Whichever method you choose, allow to dry completely.

Step 5. Cut off excess cardboard and scrapbook paper around the edges.

Make a DIY picture puzzle

Step 6. Using a Sharpie or something you can see, trace an outline of puzzle pieces on your picture. A pencil would work too.

Step 7. Cut out each piece with an X-Acto knife. Scissors are easier, but not as accurate – so if you’re lazy like me, you’ll start with the X-Acto knife but then end up using scissors. I lack patience sometimes . . .

Step 8 (optional). Print out a smaller sized print of the same picture onto a shipping label and apply it to the front of a Ziploc bag.

Step 9. Place all pieces into the Ziploc bag for safe storage. I have a box of these homemade puzzles my kids love to pull out. Each puzzle is in their own bag and it makes for a quiet game!

Variations on your DIY picture puzzle:

  • Cut the pieces bigger or smaller depending on the age of your children. For my 3 year old, I have puzzles that are only 3-4 pieces. Toddlers love to put puzzles together too.
  • Instead of scrapbook paper, you can keep the back of the cereal box uncovered – my kids like using the cereal box as a puzzle in and of itself.
  • Cover the back with felt and use this puzzle on a flannel board.
How to Make a Custom Photo Puzzle

Your DIY photo puzzle is complete! Super simple, hardly worthy to be in company with the other great projects Amy has here. If you want to see what I can do when I am not juggling sick kids, hop on over to somewhat simple. I’d love to see you!

Yield: 1 puzzle

DIY Photo Puzzle

How to make a DIY custom photo puzzle

Learn how to make a puzzle from a picture! This is such an inexpensive method. A custom photo puzzle makes a great gift and it’s SO easy!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Dry Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $0

Materials

  • Picture printed on dry toner or laserjet paper
  • Scrapbook Paper – 1 sheet
  • Chipboard (ie, a cereal box) – needs to be larger than your image
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  • Ziploc baggie
  • Shipping label

Tools

  • Sponge brush
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto Knife

Instructions

  1. Cut one side of your cereal box. Each box will make two puzzles so save that other side.
  2. Apply your picture to the non-patterned (brown) side of the cereal box with Mod Podge. Use a medium layer of Mod Podge, place the picture down, and smooth thoroughly with your fingers or a brayer. If any Mod Podge squeezes out the sides, wipe it away with a brush.
  3. Let dry for 15 – 20 minutes, then apply a layer of Mod Podge over the top. Let dry.
  4. Turn your cardboard over and apply your scrapbook paper to the backside with more Mod Podge. It should be a relatively thick piece of scrapbook paper so that it covers the cereal box pattern. If the scrapbook paper is thin, you might want to consider painting the cereal box white before applying the paper. Whichever method you choose, allow to dry completely.
  5. Cut off excess cardboard and scrapbook paper around the edges.
  6. Using a Sharpie or something you can see, trace an outline of puzzle pieces on the picture. A pencil would work too.
  7. Cut out each piece with an X-Acto knife. Scissors are easier, but not as accurate.
  8. Print out a smaller sized print of the same picture onto a shipping label and apply it to the front of a Ziploc bag.
  9. Place all pieces into the Ziploc bag for safe storage.

Notes

I had all of the materials on hand, so this project did not cost me anything to make.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!


If you or your children enjoyed making this custom photo puzzle, check out these other fun activities:

Margaret Russell

Thursday 14th of October 2021

I need to see a video

Amy

Thursday 14th of October 2021

Hi Margaret! If at some point we are able to I will let you know!

Alison Seuferer

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Hi this is amazing project,once you have the picture glued to the board do you wait for it dry the midge pod again over the top of picture? Thank you

Amy

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Hi Alison! Yes, that's what I would do.

Mj

Thursday 6th of December 2012

Did you draw pulled piece free hand did you trace a puzzle from home?

Homespun Emily

Wednesday 23rd of September 2009

Great tutorial and guest blog! Thanks.

Rachel@oneprettything.com

Monday 21st of September 2009

That is super fun, as are guest bloggers! Thanks so much to both of you for the great project, I'll be linking to this.

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