Rainy Day Challenge - Puzzle Time!

5 Materials
3 Weeks

I was at HL looking for seasonal closeouts when I ran across a puzzle. I thought it would be a fun time that hubs and I could work on together. We each have our own hobbies and are often off doing our own thing. I hadn't done a puzzle for many, many years.
The subject of the puzzle, Route 66, is one that we have taken small trips on, so the puzzle has extra meaning for us.
I wanted this puzzle to be portable should I need to use the table for something else so I started off by making a mat. I am too cheap to buy a puzzle mat when it's so simple to make one. I bought a yard of white felt for $5.99. The puzzle's finished dimensions are 30" x 24", so I cut off a section of 44" x 36" felt to give 6" to 7" extra space of "margins" for loose pieces.
For the next step (I forgot to take photos) I drew the outline of the puzzle dimension on the felt. You can see the pencil lines on the bottom corners. This way I knew where to start building the outside edge. It saved so much time!
Next it's a matter of putting the 1000 piece puzzle together. And it turns out that hubby has no interest in doing puzzles so it took longer than I expected.
After I got the outside edge done there were still so many pieces to sort through so I gathered up a few flat pans and cutting boards and sorted the puzzle pieces by color.

FYI, the puzzle pieces didn't stay connected very well and it was frustrating. Sometimes I would build some of the subject matter in the margins and need to move them to the inside but they'd fall apart on the way. I started using one of the tools above - paint scraper, kitchen scraper or cookie spatula. These worked great.
Then came the day that guests were coming and the puzzle had to be cleared off the table. There's a tile/carpet store a couple blocks away and I asked them for a couple cardboard tubes that the carpets come on. They had many and were happy to get rid of a couple. I cut one down a few inches larger than the mat and then taped the felt end to it. The puzzle was rolled up in less than a minute and was out of the way. (I have a plan for the other long tube that will be shared later.)
I put rubber bands on the ends to prevent pieces from falling out. Sure beats spending $20-$50 for a puzzle mat!

The guests left, the puzzle came back out and not a piece had shifted. I finished it and found out I was missing two pieces that I searched for everywhere. I don't know where they went.
Here is the completed puzzle. Can you see where the missing pieces are? The theme is so "busy" that it's hard to tell.

Suggested materials:

  • Felt  (Hobby Lobby)
  • Puzzle  (Hobby Lobby)
  • Yard stick, pencil, baking pans, tape, rubber bands  (Already had)
See all materials

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4 of 13 comments
  • Anne
    on Feb 8, 2018

    I love both crafts and puzzles. Thank goodness I have room for both. You did a great job on your mat.Thanks for sharing.
    • Anne
      on Feb 22, 2018

      Hi Mary Ann, yes I have framed a Christmas one ,which I bring out each year. I look for the picture not the manufacturer.

  • Stelmour450
    on Feb 12, 2018

    Love doing puzzles now & then. Just wish there was a site where we could swap puzzles as they are quite expensive.
    • Mary Ann Goldberg
      Mary Ann Goldberg
      on Feb 12, 2018

      Stelmour450, I like your suggestion but this map puzzle is the only one I have and I mounted it. I was surprised how much it cost - even with the coupon from HL. Where do you get your puzzles?

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