December 6, 2012

Easy Puzzle Saver Technique

Last month, when the kids were off school for Election Day, we worked on a 1,000 piece puzzle of the U.S. Presidents.  We enjoyed doing it and with all four of us working together, we actually completed it in just one day.  However, once it was done, it sat on the floor in the corner of my living room for nearly a month.  The kids wanted to save it and hang it up, but I didn't want to deal with the hassle of using the puzzle saver glue.  I'd tried the glue before  ~ it was kind of messy and I didn't think it held the pieces together all that well.  I knew there had to be a better solution, but it took me a month of stepping around the finished puzzle before it finally came to me ...  Use iron-on adhesive!

It turned out awesome and it was super quick and easy to do.  Seriously, like 5 minutes tops!  All you need is some Heat n Bond Iron on Adhesive.  It's meant to be used on fabric (I use it all the time) so you can find it in most fabric stores like JoAnn's or even in the fabric aisle at Walmart.  

Check out how it works on puzzles...

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Here's all you have to do...

1.  Put your completed puzzle on a piece of poster board.  This puzzle was a large one, so I had taped two pieces of poster board together as we were doing it to give us a work surface.  

2.  Put another piece of poster board (here I used two to cover our big puzzle) over your completed puzzle to make a puzzle sandwich ~ poster board, puzzle, poster board.
3.   With your puzzle sandwiched in the middle, carefully flip over your pieces.  Remove the top piece of posterboard and you'll now have the back of the puzzle facing up.

Now get out your iron and Heat n Bond...

4. Cut a piece of the adhesive paper about 1/2" larger than the size of your puzzle.  

5.  With the paper side up, use the medium heat (no steam) setting on your iron the paper onto the back of your puzzle.  Go over it a few times to make sure it sticks to the back of each puzzle piece.

6.  If your puzzle is large like mine was, repeat with another piece of the adhesive paper so the entire back of the puzzle is covered.  (It's okay if it overlaps in places.)  Go over the whole puzzle, making sure the paper is sticking all the way to the edges and to each piece. 

7.  Once it's adhered, you'll be able to easily lift your whole puzzle up.  Flip it over and trim off the excess adhesive paper.  I found that an exacto knife gave a much better and closer trim than scissors.

I originally thought I'd have to mount the puzzle onto a piece of foam board or something after I ironed on the adhesive, but it worked really well without it and I didn't think it was necessary.  As you can see in the picture above, I'm holding the whole puzzle just by one corner.  It was as stiff as a sturdy piece of cardboard and didn't flop around at all (unlike another puzzle we'd done before using the puzzle glue).  All of the pieces were securely attached, but there was no brush strokes from any kind of glue to distort the image.

I just used two small nails to hang our puzzle on our playroom wall.  ( I drove the nail through a spot in the corner where the puzzle pieces joined )

I think it looks awesome.  It was super quick, not messy at all and it made our puzzle nice and sturdy.  The adhesive comes in a large roll for just $10 or so.  It's enough to do several puzzles (or puzzles and other fabric projects) ~ so it's way cheaper than buying frames to display your hard work.

Sharing our puzzle saving idea at:


  1. This year to save money I told my kids instead of buying big presents we were going to do some fun crafts together while they were out of school. They LOVED the idea so I started searching websites today in the hunt for some great ideas. I found your blog and didn't have to go any farther! THANK YOU!!! I have so many ideas to keep my kids happy and busy this coming holiday break from school and also found great ideas to keep the kids I watch after school entertained very inexpensively!

    1. Jen, thanks so much for your sweet comments. I'm so glad you found my blog and I hope you and your kids have a blast with the ideas and projects. Please let me know which ones you try and how they liked them!

  2. Is there a certain strength heat and bond? I tried feather light and it isn't holding together.

  3. I just used the Heat n Bond ultra hold adhesive for a puzzle that is about 18x24 and it seems to be working perfectly. This was so much easier than puzzle glue! Thanks for the great idea. :)

  4. An incredible article you write, very very interesting and informative. I hope you will keep writing articles as good as this, so I gained extensive insight. Thanks a lot!
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  10. Thank you for this post! I've used this method to save several puzzles, and it works perfectly. No mess, no drying time, and it doesn't distort the original image at all. I just finished a 3000 piece puzzle that was bigger than my table, so I used this Heat N Bond method to fuse it together in sections to make it manageable. I tell everyone about your idea! Thank you!

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