Is a Photo Puzzle
Right for You?

Personalized Gift Ideas: All About Custom Jigsaw Puzzles

Photo of my first photo puzzle, made for my husband!

Have you ever designed a photo puzzle? It's super easy and the results are priceless!

One year I made my husband a surprise custom jigsaw puzzle for Christmas (shown above). He had no idea what I was up to!

My photo puzzle came in this velvet bag...When he opened his gift, he simply found a bunch of puzzle pieces in a velvet bag. I happily sat back and watched with a smile as he put together his 25 piece puzzle revealing my surprise...

It felt sweet. It felt romantic. It felt fun!


Choosing Fun Photos


You can create photo puzzles using things like:

  • Baby Photos
  • Photos of Your Children
  • Photos of Your Grandchildren
  • Photos of Favorite Pet
  • Professional Family photos
  • School Pictures
  • Scenic Photos from Your Vacations
  • Artwork by Your Kids or Grandkids
  • Your Own Artwork
  • Your Digital Scrapbook Pages
  • Wedding Photos and Other Romantic Photos
  • Graduation Photos
  • Any Photos You Like

Recently, I made the photo collage below and turned it into a photo puzzle for Christmas! Click here to turn your own photograph into a unique puzzle...

I made this digital scrapbook page and turned it into a photo puzzle for Christmas!

Photo puzzles make excellent personalized Christmas Gifts. Other popular occasions for these unique personalized gift ideas...

  • Birthday Gifts:
    Family photos. Photos of favorite pet. Scenic photos of a favorite place (from a hike, camping, sight seeing, traveling, vacations etc.). Photos of artwork by someone special (child/grandchild etc).
  • Mother's Day Gifts:
    Photos of mom and child, of the kids when they were babies or a cute picture of them when they were little, a memorable photo of the special Mom with her kids. Photo of child's artwork for mom. Photo of hand written message and/or hand prints from children.
  • Father's Day Gifts:
    Photo of Dad and his child or children. Photo of Dad playing with his kid(s). Any memorable photo of Dad when he first became a Dad. Photo of child's artwork for dad. Photo of hand written message and/or hand prints from children.
  • Grandparents Day Gifts:
    Photos of the grandchildren. Photos of the grandparents with the grandchildren. Photos of drawings, hand written messages, hand prints, and/or any type of artwork made by the grandchildren.
  • Anniversary Gifts:
    Wedding photo, romantic photo, photos of the couple when they first met or some other significant time in their relationship. A special scenic photo from the anniversary couple's wedding or honeymoon.
  • Wedding Gifts:
    Photo of the couple in love. Heart shaped puzzle of the couple together.
  • Valentine's Day Gifts:
    You could use a romantic photo and/or choose a heart shaped puzzle. It is possible to add text to some puzzles or create your own photo with text on top.

Making Custom Photo Jigsaw Puzzles


If you need a photo puzzle for an upcoming occasion, I have a good source here: Fun Photo Gifts

Personalization Mall is a fun place to shop for photo puzzles. Choose from the following:

  • Puzzle Size: You can choose between 25 piece puzzles and 252 piece puzzles.
  • Puzzle Shape: Choose between round puzzles, square and rectangular puzzles and heart shaped puzzles.
  • Tins: They offer beautiful photo tins or you can order just the puzzle if you want the picture to be a surprise... only to be unveiled by putting the puzzle together. Puzzles without tins come in a velvet bag.
  • Text: There are some designs that utilize text blocks, and some that don't, so look around until you find the one you want.
  • One Large Photo or a Photo Collage: They also have both collage photo puzzles and puzzles that feature just one high quality photo. One of the benefits of choosing the collage puzzle is that the photos won't be printed as large. With the large centerpiece photo, you need one that will look good blown up to whatever size the puzzle is.

Things to remember when you make a photo puzzle:

  1. Choose a photo with a healthy border around the edges... just in case the photo gets cropped a smidge on one of the sides.
  2. Choose a high quality bright photo for best results.
  3. Photo collages are more forgiving than one huge photo since they are printed smaller.

You may also be interested in: 10 tips for making the best photo collage mugs!

Learn tips and tricks for creating the best photo mugs!


DIY Photo Puzzle Gifts


There are also some really neat ways to make your own photo puzzle gifts at home. Here are a few ideas to get you started...

  1. Plain wooden blocks for creating your own photo puzzles...Blocks. You can find smooth wooden blocks at most craft stores. These are great to decoupage onto. Take a large high quality photograph and cut it into equal squares (each square you cut of the photo should be cut to the same size as a block). Glue one square of the photo onto one side of each block using white craft glue or acrylic medium and allow to dry. Then brush acrylic medium over the photo. Brush the medium over the photo quickly so it doesn't make your photo bleed. Acrylic medium (like this one) is made to go over delicate pieces of art without bleeding problems etc. Once dry, put the blocks together to see your photograph, it's a puzzle. You can then do this with a different photograph or image using another side of each block. You can decoupage a different photo onto each side of the blocks or decorate some sides more simply by painting them solid, covering them in glitter, adding letters using stickers or paint or any other design idea you have. Cover each side with acrylic medium to seal and finish the blocks. Alternatively you can use large, high quality pictures from old calendars, magazines and posters. These are fun for adults and can also make a great kids gift using images tailored just for them!

    Amazon has good deals on Unfinished Blocks. My local Michaels happens to be more expensive.
    10 Natural Unfinished Wooden Blocks: Each is a 1 1/2" Square *use 9 blocks to make a 4 1/2 inch x 4 1/2 inch photo block puzzle or 6 blocks for a 4 1/2 inch by 3 inch rectangle puzzle.

    50 Natural Unfinished Wooden Blocks: Each is 1 x 1 inch *these 1 inch square blocks are smaller and can be put together to form a photo block puzzle in a variety of both square or rectangular sizes.

    72 Unfinished Wood Square Blocks: Each is .75 inch sold in 24pc (3 Packages) *These are very small blocks so this would make a more difficult block puzzle both in terms of creating it and putting it together. If you don't mind this factor, they would make a great puzzle (or a few great puzzles).

  2. Craft sticks can be placed side by side to form the base of a unique homemade photo puzzle...Pop-sickle Sticks and Jumbo Craft Sticks. Lay several of these flat sticks side by side to form a rectangle or square shaped base for your homemade puzzle. I like these jumbo craft sticks from Amazon. Take note of the exact measurement dimensions of your craft stick photo puzzle base. Choose a photo that is either the same size, slightly larger or even slightly smaller than the stick mat. Trim photo to be the exact size of your stick mat. If your craft sticks have curved edges, you may want to paint your base and leave a small border above and below the photo. Next, cut your photo into perfectly sized strips so that each strip will fit onto the flat side of one craft stick. Glue each strip to the flat side of a stick using white craft glue or Acrylic medium (like this one). Once dry, brush Acrylic medium quickly over the surface of each stick, creating a sealed coating over each piece. Put the now decoupaged sticks back together to see your unique personalized puzzle. If desired, you can do an entirely different photo (made the same way) on the back of the sticks. You could also paint it or write a message for the back part of the photo stick puzzle.
  3. Easy Magnetic Puzzle Squares. You can make a very inexpensive personalized magnetic puzzle starting with a cereal box (or other similar paper board, chip board... even card board). Choose a photograph you like or an image from a used calendar, postcard, greeting card or magazine page. Trim picture if needed. Cut a piece of paper board to match the exact size of your chosen photo or image. Cut both the paper board and the photo or picture into matching squares, rectangles, strips (or whatever shapes you want, it's best to stick with simple shapes). Glue the pieces of your pictures/photo to the matching pieces of paper board. White craft glue or Acrylic medium work great for this. Once dry, brush Acrylic medium quickly over your image. Do this quickly and allow to dry to avoid making your picture smear or bleed. Acrylic medium is made for protecting delicate art, so it's great for decoupaging photos and images. Finish by attaching self sticking magnetic strips to the back of each piece or gluing magnetic strips with heavy duty glue.
    Tip: Make this idea even thriftier by collecting and using flat magnetic advertisements for the magnetic backing (like the ones that come attached to phone books).

Learn more about decoupage tips and instructions here...
Decoupage picture frames make great homemade gifts...

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