Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Jigsaw puzzles ... ...

Some time ago I bought a scroll saw, I've always wanted one so I could make jigsaw puzzles and other things, you can make some amazing bits of artwork using a scroll saw.

Here's a picture of the one I went for (it's very good)

It takes both pin less & pined blades, and it has variable speed, both handy features.
I have used it a few times, but not for making jigsaws, the first thing I made with it was actually a cat flap (long story) 

So the other day I decided it was time to have a practice with it, and luckily I have a good book to help me with ideas and techniques (which my lovely wife got me) with book in hand I set about making a couple of test puzzles, they are both stand up puzzles, not very complex but enough to be going on with, I used an old piece of 18mm plywood I had left over from making new arms for my office chair.

Here's the book, it's old, but that's a good thing, shows how things should be done.

It's a vintage book, and very good.
It covers the basics and goes into such things as making your own scroll saw, and it also includes loads of templates which you can use as is, or customize, which it also shows and encourages.

A few pictures of some of the things you can make using the book as a guide.

Nice and colourful.
These pictures are a small sample of what can be done.
How cool are these ? :-)
Like I said this is just a small section of things, and it also shows more advanced pauzzles, like maps of America with the various states as pieces, and some mind bending type puzzles as well, so there's a wide range of things that would appeal to adults and kids a like.

You don't actually need a scroll saw to make a jigsaw puzzle, you could use a coping saw, but as it's hand powered your going to get sore arms, so a powered saw is better ;-)

A coping saw.

You can do a lot with one of these.
Okay so on to what I made, which were a couple of simple puzzles, learning to walk before I break out into a run ;-)
Using a sheet of printer paper I was able to use the templates in the book to make a transfer, which I then cut out and stuck to the wood I was going to use.

A picture of a template and a transfer.

I haven't made the elephant yet, next on the list :-)
In the end I went for a simple dinosaur and a pig for my test subjects, mainly because my son loves dinosaurs and my daughter loves pigs :-) I left them bare, just plain wood because I don't actually have any paint that would be okay on a kids toy, I will invest in some nice colourful paints for the next ones though (kid friendly of course)

Here's the pig, complete with template. 

Already cut out, but you can see the paper.
Cutting them out is pretty easy, you soon get into the swing of things, I wasn't actually expecting to get smooth cuts on either puzzle as I'm not that good with the saw yet, but I was pleased with how they came out, obviously they have both been sanded all over, even in the joints, splinters aren't good, I've round off the edges as well.

Here are the finished puzzles.

Just simple, but the kids like them.
And some more pictures.

The piggy, would look better painted pink.
The dinosaur, again would look better painted.
Although I've used templates the idea is to get used to how the saw behaves, then attempt some free hand puzzles, using just an out line of the basic shape, I'm a little way off that at present, but practice makes perfect, so I've heard :-)
One nice thing about the wood is that because it's plywood the puzles have a nice stripey edge to them, which has come out quite nicely with a little oil.

The edges.

Stripey :-)
Overall I'm happy with the results, and there is a certain satisfaction to be had when you see your kids eyes light up when they get a new toy, even simple ones like these, even more so when you've made it yourself.
I have plans to make all sorts of things for the kids and such like, and not just puzzles I'd like to try my hand at a piece of my own artwork, but I need a lot more practice first, either way it's good fun :-)

Another picture.

Pleasing puzzles :-)

Thanks for reading.

Inspire Me Beautiful


  1. Thanks, I'm still practicing I have a long way to go before I can attempt some of the harder stuff.

  2. Wow!! Those are fabulous!!! Thanks so much for linking up! Wow!!

  3. Oh how lovely! I agree, I love the effect at the edges. Love handcrafted things in wood, how fab to receive something like this as a gift :)

  4. These are amazing! How cool to be able to make your own puzzles to suit the child.

    I love them!

  5. I love these! I made one when I was at school and I still have it (well half of it...Mum lost the other half, lol). I really enjoyed doing it and I know it is a lot harder to do than you have made it look. Yours are beautiful...I love how you have kept them natural loooking. I bet your kids really love them x

  6. Thank you, I have a pear tree in my shed, that I got from freecycle I'm waiting for it to season a little so I can turn it on my lathe.