Best & Easiest Way to Save or Preserve a Puzzle Without Using Messy Glue

Welcome to the 626th Metamorphosis Monday, a blog party sharing fabulous Before and Afters!

Over the last few weeks I’ve had several questions about what I do with all the puzzles I complete and if I ever save them. In today’s post, I’m answering that question and also sharing exactly how I preserve a completed puzzle that I wish to keep.

Typically when I complete a puzzle, if it’s one I especially loved and enjoyed doing, I will take it apart and box it back up to do again someday. If it’s one that I found wasn’t the greatest quality or just not that much fun to work, I will donate it to my local Goodwill. In a way, a great puzzle is like a great book–you save the best ones just in case you want to reread it again one day.

This adorable Charles Wysocki puzzle is one of only three puzzles I’ve preserved over the years.

 

I really enjoyed doing it but thought it would be fun to preserve and frame to bring out and hang each year at Christmas. I haven’t actually gotten around to framing it yet–need to do that!

By the way, the puzzles I share in photos here online are so much prettier in person than they photograph. I wish I could really show them well in photos but the finish on most puzzles creates an unavoidable glare, even with the overhead light off. Arggh.

 

This Nancy Drew puzzle below is another one that I decided to preserve/save for sentimental reasons. Nancy Drew was my hero growing up. I used to save my $1 a week allowance just so I could buy a new Nancy Drew book every few weeks. I loved them and they were always a bright spot during some very rough years of my childhood.

 

The first time I decided to save a puzzle, all the tutorials I found online involved using messy glues that ultimately altered the appearance of the puzzle. I kept researching figuring there had to be a better way, and there is! As you can see, once completed, a puzzle holds together beautifully.

 

The super-easy way I preserve or save my puzzles is by using this product that’s available here: Peel & Stick Puzzle Saver. Also, if you have one, a rolling pin comes in handy–more on that in a minute.

 

Peel and Stick comes with directions that are super easy to understand and follow. They are very detailed so at a glance, this may look more complicated than it is, but trust me, it’s not. Whoever invented this product is a genius because it works beautifully AND is so easy to use! Honestly, you can save a puzzle in about 5 minutes!

 

Peel and Stick comes in different sizes for various size puzzles. I always purchase the one designed for 1,000-piece puzzles since those are the only ones I have saved so far.

 

In order to preserve your puzzle, you will need to flip it over. Because I do my puzzles on a puzzle board, that’s a super easy process if I wish to save a puzzle since my puzzle board came with a lid. The lid fits atop the board and allows you to move a partially completed puzzle to a different location in your home. It also really helps with flipping a puzzle you wish to save. (Puzzle board is available here: Puzzle Board.)

Tilting, Slanting Puzzle Board, Easy on the Back

 

If you do not have a puzzle board on which you do your puzzles and you are working on a puzzle that you think you may want to save, I would recommend doing it on a very stiff piece of cardboard (or some type of board) so you can easily flip your puzzle over to preserve it when you’re done. It will need to be a very stiff board, regular cardboard or poster board would probably not work.

Steps to Save a Puzzle for Framing

 

The last time I saved or preserved a puzzle for framing, I applied the peel and stick sheets to the back of the puzzle in this format: starting at the end and applying them vertically.

 

This time I applied them horizontally just to see if there was any difference. The instructions actually show doing it this way for 1,000 piece puzzles. I think I did it the other way the first two times I preserved a puzzle because there seemed to be less overlap of the sheets. I wasn’t sure how well they would stick if they overlapped, but I have discovered that they stick very well regardless of whether they overlap or not. So I never attempt to trim off any of the excess “Peel and Stick” product, I just let the sheets overlap and it works great.

Before you start, make sure all your puzzle pieces are pressed down and firmly into place. When you apply each sheet of Peel and Stick, you need to stay about 1/8th of an inch away from the very edge of the puzzle. All of this information is included in the easy-to-follow instructions.

How to Preserve a Puzzle to Frame

 

In this picture, I have applied two pieces with the second piece overlapping onto the first piece.

Preserve or Save a Puzzle with these easy steps

 

Next, I applied two pieces across the bottom of the puzzle. I finished by applying the last two pieces across the center. This product is very forgiving as you move it around to apply it. It doesn’t suck down to the surface or anything like that, so it’s not a stressful process at all. I’m not sure how they managed to make this product where it’s good and sticky, yet super easy to apply, but they did! Things like this can sometimes stress or panic me, but I’m happy to say there is no panic involved with this process at all.

Frame a Puzzle, Save, Preserve a Puzzle

 

Once you have all the pieces onto the back of your puzzle, (which takes about 3 minutes, if that long) the directions recommend you use a rolling pin to gently roll over the puzzle to ensure all the pieces are well stuck down. Pay close attention to the edges of the puzzle, it’s easy to miss those.

 

Here is my puzzle all completed and preserved. I absolutely love how this process does not involve using any sticky, messy glues that would alter the original appearance of the puzzle. My puzzle looks exactly the same way as it did when I completed it.

Preserve or Save a Puzzle without a Glue

 

If you’ve been reading BNOTP for a while, you may recognize this puzzle. It’s what inspired me to purchase the painting that I bought recently to hang above my bed. I did this puzzle many years ago (and again recently) and it wasn’t until I shared it here on the blog that I discovered via a lovely BNOTP reader that it was available as a painting. What?! I had no idea it was available as a painting but that made perfect sense since often puzzles are inspired by a beautiful painting. (I purchased my painting directly from the artist’s website here: The Governor’s Party.)

By the way, if you saw my previous post where I shared various frames I was considering, I’ve run into a problem. When I went back to the frame shop to let them know my decision, they discovered the frame I had chosen was no longer produced quite the same way. The new sample they had just gotten in had a lot more gold in it, and I didn’t like it at all. So I’m back at square one–looking for a frame again.

I hope you found this post helpful if you have a puzzle that you would like to save in its completed state. You’ll find the Peel and Stick product that I use to preserve my puzzles here: Peel and Stick for Preserving/Saving a Puzzle.

Framing for The Governor's Party, Chuck Pinson

 

 

Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters linked for this week’s Met Monday!

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Comments

  1. Love the amazing puzzles, thanks for sharing with us how you preserve them. Thanks for hosting, have a great week!

  2. That peel and stick stuff is great ! I am now retired ( 4 years this month!) but as a Middle School Librarian I always had a puzzle on a table in the library for students to work on…Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, etc. Students loved coming in and working on it for a period. Problem was, we would sometimes lose pieces, but they usually were found. Then I would use this stuff to keep it together and hang the finished product in the library. They kids loved it!

    • Carolyn Price says

      As a middle school teacher, Ann, I would have loved to have taught at your school and come by to spend some time with a puzzle.
      What a great idea!!

      • Aww…thanks! I loved making the library a warm, welcoming place for everyone. Played 6 Mozart CDs on repeat so there was always soft, classical music playing ( students said it made them feel smart – and it is supposed to help with thinking in math), had puzzles, bean bag chairs, magazines, and 100 red solo cups to build whatever they could. It was not always quiet ( had to say QUIET VOICES, PLEASE when teaching a class on the other side of the big library), but it was great. Love being retired, but miss it, too! I am attaching a few photos so you can see how it looks….the kids were great – we did Food For Fines (don’t pay a fine, bring a canned good for the Food Bank) and Summer Reading – students could take as many books as they wanted for the summer and bring them back in the fall. LOL…some came with suitcases – and over the years we only lost 2!!! Now in our building in the retirement community I am the librarian for the small library here….it’s like the Mafia, you can never get out !!!

  3. Jackie Allen says

    I love that Nancy Drew puzzle – yes that one is a keeper! Thank you for sharing – I will have to try the peel and stick.

  4. Carolyn Price says

    I can’t believe this is your post today, Susan. I woke up thinking … I’ll have to email Susan and see how she preserves her puzzles for framing!!
    When we built our log home that was completed in September, I had a puzzle table made for the loft so I can sit and enjoy the view out to the NC mountains while I work on a puzzle now that I have retired from teaching.
    You always have a solution for us!!
    Thank you, Susan. Much love!

  5. Brenda s. Lawrence says

    I remembered when you used that product the first time Susan and you loved it. Then I decided if I ever decide to frame a puzzle I would use the same thing. I haven’t as of yet. But one day perhaps. Love when someone uses a product that they can sing it’s praises and share with the rest of us. Your puzzles are so beautiful! I hope you find a nice frame for the Governor’s Party one. Thanks for always sharing your great finds Susan! Hugs, Brenda

  6. Anne C Lovell says

    Hi Susan,
    I have that same Nancy Drew puzzle! I really enjoyed putting it together. Did you know there is another one out there that is slightly different? I just ordered the puzzle easel. I have tried putting puzzles together this winter but I have a cat who loves them almost more than me! I think this will be a great solution, he can’t lay on it when it’s up. Thanks for the great idea. (I do know you showed us before I just didn’t jump on it then) 🙂

    • Hi Anne,
      I am forever shooing my 2 cats off my puzzle as I work on it. The easel cover is great, especially at night! I just put the cover on top and it keeps the puzzle safe. Usually I have to wipe the cat hair off the cover… but it’s better than trying to get it off the puzzle pieces. 🙂

  7. Do you have any ideas for cute frames for puzzles? I have seen a lot that don’t compliment the puzzles and detract from the finished piece; they either don’t fit properly or detract from the puzzle. Thank you!

  8. Just a thought. Have you tried doing a canvas transfer? I just cover it with modge-podge to hold it together and then once done, looks like a painting. I’ve done a few and you don’t have to frame them.

  9. Wow – THERE’S a great product! I have several puzzles in mind already! thanks for the fabulous idea and easy tips – I’m glad it’s not stressful! Thanks too for hosting, and Happy Monday!

  10. Loved Nancy Drew when I was little as well. I was so envious that she had a roadster!

  11. Your puzzles are beautiful & thanks for the tip on how to save them other than glue. We have finished 16 puzzles so far during the pandemic and have used Mod Podge on all of them. We only framed one & have the rest in a puzzle file. Puzzles are very entertaining, aren’t they!

  12. Great stories, as usual, Ms. Susan! I also loved Nancy Drew books but never owned one of my own. Somehow I must have missed seeing your previous post about how to preserve puzzles. We did a few, or I should say, my husband did a few this past year with a little assistance from me, and I had no idea this product existed. Wysocki’s cats have always been a source of joy to me.

  13. Damon Morris says

    The best part of Winter is doing puzzles. Tomorrow it’s supposed to snow–
    perfect puzzle weather!!! Also, I just ordered the peel and stick for the back. Thank you so much for the suggestion and for your great blogs!

  14. Thanks so much for hosting each week!! It is greatly appreciated!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  15. I love puzzles anytime of the year.
    The first one is just grand!
    I want to jump right into the picture.

  16. Michele M. says

    Oh, that is soooo neat, Susan! The puzzles you put together are so awesome.

    I can’t blame you one bit for not wanting to save the special ones.

    Nancy Drew – oh indeed, my heroine too. She was awesome – loved those books. I remember in the back of my diaries I would check off each of the ones I was fortunate enough to read. I think I read most. I would love to re-read one again to see how naive and sweet they were compared to the scary things the young deal with today. They stay innocent for a millisecond now, it seems.

    Thanks for the recommendation. Going to share with some puzzle lovers.

  17. Cyndi Raines says

    You score again Susan, thank you! We are due for lots of snow tomorrow, so I will probably start a puzzle. Saved this product to my wish list on Amazon so I have it for the future. Many thanks.

  18. Never would have thought of using anything but messy glue. Thank you for the terrific post!

  19. Franken Frames in Tennessee is my go to place and he always runs great sales. Google to see a great selection.

  20. Thanks so much for hosting each week and for giving us a fun place to hang out. I hope your day has been a special one. Hugs, CoCo

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