How to Make Jigsaw Puzzles Out of Cardboard


British teacher John Spilsbury made the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767 as an aid in teaching geography. He attached maps to hardwood and used a saw to cut around the borders. Today, you can buy jigsaw puzzles in stores and online, but you also can add a personal touch and make one yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Brush-on clear glue
  • 8-by-10 photo
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Draw an 8-by-10 rectangle on the cardboard using the ruler and pencil. Cut the rectangle out of the cardboard with the utility knife.

  • Coat the rectangle with the brush-on glue evenly so that there are no bumps. Lay the photo on top. Make sure the sides line up squarely. Set a heavy book on top of the photo so that it sets evenly. Let dry.

  • Put a layer of glue over the photo. This will protect the photo from wear and tear. Make sure it looks even and streak-free, since this is what your finished puzzle will look like. Let it dry.

  • Trace the design for the puzzle on the back of the rectangle, on the cardboard, making sure it is light enough to erase if you make a mistake. You can download standard jigsaw puzzle design patterns (see Resources) or make your own.

  • Trace over the lines to make them darker once you are satisfied with the design. Cut along the lines with the utility knife. Once you have cut out all of the pieces, go over each of them to make sure they have smooth edges.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use recycled cardboard.
  • be sure cardboard puzzle is dry before continuing to next steps.


  • Photo Credit Images
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