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What Is a Jigsaw Puzzle?

A jigsaw puzzle is a simple game that players complete by assembling many small pieces that connect to each other. Each piece contains a small part of a whole picture. You have to attach all pieces together to complete the image.

Playing with jigsaw puzzles is a fun and affordable hobby that helps exercise your brain. Playing with puzzles can improve cognition and visual-spatial reasoning. They may be challenging and complicated depending on the number of pieces and the number of different cuts in the image. A single puzzle can sometimes take many hours to complete.

How do you solve a jigsaw puzzle?

Completing a jigsaw puzzle can be a fun and inexpensive way to spend your leisure time exercising your brain. But, if you have no strategy, you may find yourself struggling to find the correct pieces and where they fit on the board.

To help you get started on your journey to becoming a jigsaw puzzle master, you can use this simple step-by-step guide on how to complete a jigsaw puzzle. After reading this section, you will have no problems completing jigsaw puzzles, regardless of the number of pieces involved in the game.

Step 1: Separation

When starting a jigsaw puzzle, the first thing you should do is to spread out the pieces on a flat surface. Turn all pieces over so the side with the picture is facing upward. Although this step sounds tedious, it can help you put together the puzzle more easily. On im-a-puzzle, this is done for you automatically

After that step, you must separate the middle pieces from the pieces that make the picture’s border. Collect the corner pieces first and start from there.

After separating the pieces, you must have all straight edge pieces in a pile. The next thing to do is sort the remaining pieces by their color. You should also group the pieces that do not fit with any of your piles into a separate pile.

Step 2: First Placements

Your first placements should be the corner pieces. If you have a four-sided picture, which is the most common type of jigsaw puzzle, you will have four corner pieces. These bits will have two straight edges perpendicular to each other and two sides with either a knob or a hole. This means they will be easy to spot from your pile.

After finding the four pieces, you can place them at the corners of the frame. Using these as starting points, you can begin building the border of the image. Look for pieces with one straight edge and three sides with knobs or holes. These pieces will make up the sides of the puzzle.

While doing this step, you will begin to see patterns in the edge pieces. By the time you’re done, you will have a frame.

Step 3: Grouping the Middle Pieces

The middle pieces are the bits with either knobs or holes on all four sides. Most of the puzzle pieces will have this quality, making it challenging for puzzlers to find their rightful place on the board.

But, if you have already grouped the pieces together by their color or design, it will be easy for you to complete the puzzle. Group light-colored and dark-colored pieces together so you will have an idea of where a puzzle piece will go.

If you find pieces that you can’t add to any group, you can place them in a “random pile.”

Look closely at the border and find the color or design that matches a pile. Remember to use the pieces you already placed as a guide.

Step 4: Look at Piece Shapes

To make it easy for you to place the middle pieces on the board, you have to pay attention to the shape of the pieces. Each piece will have a knob or a hole that fits with another piece’s knob or hole.

This means you cannot place a piece with a knob on its right side next to a piece with a knob on its left.

Additionally, these pieces must perfectly fit together for you to get the complete picture right. Do not force a piece to fit with another piece just because they have the same color. If a puzzle piece is in the right place, you will be able to attach it to its neighboring pieces smoothly.

The more experience you have in playing jigsaw puzzles, the easier it will get for you to determine if an individual piece has a chance of fitting where you want it to go.

Step 5: The Random Pile

Now that you have placed the pieces in your grouped piles, you can get started on your random pile. These pieces may be in between objects in the complete picture, which is why it may be tough for you to place them in a group.

Look at your puzzle and check if the random pieces fit in the spaces where you have not placed any pieces yet. Pay close attention to the piece’s shape and make sure it fits perfectly with the other pieces. This way, you can be sure that you have the right piece.

Step 6: Finishing the Puzzle

You have to change your strategy for the final step because you have more pieces in place and fewer unused ones. Instead of looking at the pieces on your table, look at the board instead. Pay attention to the missing pieces and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What shape fits the empty space?

  • Based on the colors of the neighboring pieces, what color should the missing piece have?

  • What is the design you are looking for?

Doing these steps will help you complete the puzzle faster instead of looking at an unused piece and trying it in all open spaces to find the right one.

Frequently Asked Questions on Jigsaw Puzzle

Why is it called a jigsaw puzzle?

The game is called a jigsaw puzzle since makers use a tool called a jigsaw to cut through the wood or cardboard to make the puzzle pieces.

What’s the history of jigsaw puzzles?

The game is so named because the makers of the puzzle cut the completed image with a tool called a jigsaw, which cuts intricate curves and lines.

The puzzle pieces were initially made from wood, and later, makers began to use strong cardboard. Creators used to paint a picture on a flat, rectangular wooden board. After painting, they cut the image into small pieces. Today, of course, jigsaw puzzles can be created digitally.

The puzzles were first made as devices to educate students about geography in 18th-century England. After that, teachers used the game for subjects like history, language, zoology, and botany.

According to The Encyclopedia Britannica, the use of popular pictures in jigsaw puzzles began in the 1860s and 1870s. The game became more well-known in the early 1900s and was repopularized in the 1930s as an inexpensive and reusable hobby. It remained a popular entertainment even after World War II.

Today, typical pictures found on jigsaw puzzles include scenes from nature, repetitive designs, and buildings. Mountains, castles, animals, Disney characters, and famous places around the world are also some of the traditional subjects for the game.

Puzzle makers can now use any kind of picture to create a jigsaw puzzle. These days, it's even possible to turn personal images into your own puzzles, as you can do with im–a-puzzle.

Because of the popularity of puzzles in recent years, players have seen the introduction of various jigsaw puzzle accessories, including cases, boards, frames, and roll-up mats. These additions were designed to encourage jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts to keep playing the game.

Traditional toy shops often sell new puzzles made out of cardboard. They made the change from using wood since the new material is easier and cheaper to mass produce. Known jigsaw puzzle makers today include Americana, SunsOut, Ravensburger, Cobble Hill, and Springbok.

How are jigsaw puzzles made?

The procedure for creating a jigsaw puzzle is similar to making shaped cookies using a cookie cutter. Puzzle makers use an enlarged photograph, a painting, or other two-dimensional artwork and paste them onto the cardboard. They feed the board into a press, which forces a set of steel blades through the material until it is cut.

Is playing a jigsaw puzzle good for the brain?

Daily jigsaw puzzles can help boost cognition and visual-spatial reasoning. Additionally, putting the pieces together requires concentration and can help improve short-term memory and problem-solving skills.

What type of person likes jigsaw puzzles?

People with the Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging (INFJ) personality type of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test may enjoy playing jigsaw puzzles. Individuals with this personality can be both creative and analytical, meaning it can be beneficial and enjoyable for them to play a jigsaw puzzle.

5 Tips to Keep Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces Together

If you are playing on im-a-puzzle, you don’t have to worry about keeping your jigsaw puzzles pieces organized. You can save your games online and pick up your play at any time. However, If you are a big fan of doing jigsaw puzzles with real pieces, you’ll know that solving the puzzle is not the only challenging part. Keeping everything together can also be a pain, especially if you have collected a lot of puzzles over the years.

Spending hours pouring over a puzzle and realizing that you are missing a piece at the end of it can be frustrating and mentally draining. Not only will you not complete the puzzle, but you will also have to spend hours, if not days, looking for the missing piece which could be (the size of a coin). To solve this problem, read on to discover five ways to keep all your puzzle pieces together.

Use Puzzle Racks

Puzzle racks are a popular choice for gaming fans with a collection of wooden jigsaw and peg puzzles. The racks function as puzzle board holders and keep all pieces on the board.

It can be an excellent option for you if you have a lot of wooden jigsaw puzzles since it allows you to stack them in the rack after you are done playing with them.

Try Puzzle Boards

You can use a puzzle board to keep your puzzle pieces together even after playing. The product has four sliding trays that hold the pieces together. It also comes with a removal mat that covers the puzzle, so you can protect it if you are done playing but have not completed the puzzle.

Frame Your Puzzles

If you have a jigsaw puzzle that you rarely play, you should frame it. If you think of the puzzle as a masterpiece you want to show everyone, framing a completed puzzle and hanging it on your wall can be a good solution.

Buy Zippered Pouches

Another excellent way to store your children’s puzzle pieces is by using small bags or pouches. These materials are not bulky and will not take up as much space as storage boxes. You can also easily arrange the bags on a shelf or inside a bigger mesh bag.

You can buy bags or pouches in school supply stores. If you want to save money, you can even recycle your old coin purse or unused pouch so you can keep your jigsaw pieces together. You can make your own pouch using a cloth and a zipper if you have a talent for sewing.

Keep Pieces in Transparent Storage Boxes

You can buy transparent boxes to store your puzzle pieces if you want something unbreakable and if you want to keep your space neat. You can label the boxes so it will be easier for you to identify what toy or puzzle is stored inside.

Make sure to buy the ones with locks so that even if you accidentally knock the puzzle boxes over, the pieces won’t spill out. This option can make your home and your child’s playroom look more organized.

Another way to avoid making a mess is by playing the game online. Visit I’m a Puzzle today and check out our fun and exciting games! We have games with varying levels of difficulty, including challenging puzzles like landmark jigsaw puzzles among others. Regardless of your skill level, you will surely find a puzzle that you’ll enjoy.

Want to Play Thousands of Free Online Jigsaw Puzzles? Check Us Out!

Playing jigsaw puzzles keeps your mind healthy while teaching you the benefits of being patient. It is also a light and fun way to spend your leisure time without straining your mind and body too much after a long day.

If you want to complete more challenging jigsaw puzzles, try our jigsaw puzzles today! We also have a free puzzle maker feature if you want to make your own.