The Jigsaw Puzzle Hobbyist's Tips 

Here you can find all the little golden nuggets that have been gathered together from jigsaw puzzlers all over the world. If it is related to jigsaw puzzles it will either be listed here or you may request us to locate answers to your questions in the form below.

Layout Your Jigsaw Puzzle

The jigsaw puzzlboard........

  • You may choose to use the felt cloth boards laid onto a table large enough for your puzzle. I suggest to find a way to mount it securely and tightly to the table. I realize that takes away from the 'easy-to-move' idea but I found the loose felt cloth NOT to lay  flat and using light jigsaw puzzle pieces tended to lift the sections
  • I discovered art foam boards at the 'dollar' type stores. They measure 20x30x3/16 inches which is a really good size for most puzzles 1000 pieces and under. Also I took a second foam board and cut to fit the two outside edges increasing the board to 30x50". I used the leftover pieces to double the seam at the back using clear packing tape
  • Plastic teflon, thin wood panelling or plywood are also alternatives
  • One puzzler discovered large pieces of sturdy cardboard from a furniture store for free
  • Some puzzlers use the floor for their 'world's largest jigsaw puzzle
  • One puzzler has designed his own fabulous jigsaw puzzle table
  • One puzzler's father installed a drop-down table from the ceiling giving a massive area for puzzling 

Sorting The Jigsaw Puzzle

Round one of sorting. Leave all the pieces in the bottom of the box and start going through the pile. Taking a small handful at a time, remove all the flat edges first. As you are removing the flat-edged pieces, lay the flat edge pieces (always face up) onto the puzzle board in the general area by following the picture as seen on the jigsaw puzzle cover box that is standing up.

If they don't have a flat edge, set them into a pile in the middle of your puzzle board. This may seem like a tedious task, but as you are viewing through all of the pieces, your mind is also becoming aware of the pictures of the other pieces it sees and this will help you as you further work towards the puzzle’s completion.

Once you have sifted the entire box of puzzle pieces, its time to put all the non-flat-edge pieces back into the bottom part of the box. Now it is time to assemble the flat edge pieces into place using the picture on the box. This is likely to be the easiest part of the entire puzzle, but it can be a challenge in areas where the large sections of the border are the same color or pattern.

Here’s a little tip for that - Make 4 different piles of the pieces that are giving you trouble.

  • both sides with connecting tabs
  • both sides without connecting tabs
  • right side connecting tab with left side not
  • left side connecting tab with right side not

Now take one piece and find how it would connect with one of these piles to find its joining piece and/or the pieces already in place on the border.

Round one of sorting - Option #2

Some puzzlers may find this option to become tedious but depending on the jigsaw puzzle image, I may choose to do extra sorting during the first round.

So, while looking for the flat edge pieces for the border, I will take a good look at the image and determine the main color blends. Often the jigsaw puzzle image will be fairly clear as to the clumps of color blends as you can see in the images above.

Once I have sorted through the entire box of pieces I will place the piles of colour-clumps into the jigsaw puzzle trays and/or containers of any type. That way I may choose to work certain areas at a time. When I sifted through one tray and placed as many pieces as possible onto the puzzle board then I will go to next tray and so on it goes......

Sort the biggest objects first – Round two of sorting.

(Note: this can also be done during Round one.) Take the pieces from the bottom box and proceed to go through each piece, this time looking for ones that contain the pictures of the biggest objects.

Place the ‘big object’ piles into the center of the board and the other pieces into a separate area.  You can assemble your object inside the border and place it near the position where it belongs as you see it on the jigsaw puzzle box picture.

Color and object search – During round two of sorting, you may choose to place similar colors or objects into separate piles and place them into containers for ‘save’ keeping. That way they can remain sorted and ready for use when the time comes. There is no need to be 100% accurate at any time you are sorting, as you know, eventually - all the pieces will literally fall into place.

Continue to sift through the separate containers locating the pieces for the different sections for the 'working-area' and leaving the left-over colour-clumps in the container that are not ready to be placed on the image just yet.

You may choose to leave the large areas of solid colours like blue sky/water or green trees/grass for last. Some puzzlers choose to do them first. Solid dark colours/shades tend to be the trickiest to complete.

Finishing touches. Depending on your photo-picture-image you are working on, by the end of step 4, you are either going to have almost finished the puzzle and have a bunch of odds and ends type pieces left. These pieces are the ‘filler pieces’. 

Usually these are the solid colors behind the objects or the shadows in the background. This is sometimes the most discouraging part of doing the puzzle. But also, the fact that your puzzle is almost complete provides you with enough incentive to complete the puzzle.

Try some of the following tips;

  • Study the picture closely
  • Try to rotate each piece into the empty gaps to get a ‘lucky’ connection
  • Each connection may show you the shape for  the next one that is the correct one
  • Use the ‘4-tab connection’ method above by placing similar-shaped pieces into the same pile
  • For easier comparison, place pieces into rows of 8 -10 pieces with the next row closely under it
  • Use the ‘process of elimination’, trying each piece into one space continuously until it find its home

Completion of jigsaw puzzle. With these 5 steps most 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles can usually be completed in about 6-10 hours which is an enjoyable, relaxing and flexible brain workout.

We hope you have found these tips useful and that you take your jigsaw puzzle enjoyment one step further by recording and journaling about your hobby into the Free eBook.


Since I have turned jigsaw puzzles into my serious hobby I have created a record file detailing my collection.

It is a data entry Excel file titled the Puzzle Hobby Tracker 

Gluing Your Jigsaw Puzzle

One of the most common questions with jigsaw puzzle is, 'How to Glue A Jigsaw Puzzle?

Personally, I do not glue my jigsaw puzzles however the majority of jigsaw puzzlers do. Since I am not your 'go-to-Gal' for gluing jigsaw puzzles I always refer this question to a Youtube video that I recommend because the feedback from those with a jigsaw puzzle hobby have informed me so ;) 

Please take the time to watch this video to get the idea of how to glue your jigsaw puzzle. But a word of caution, if not done correctly, it could be 'unpleasant' so do not try this on your World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle without practising first. 

Click the following link to watch the Youtube Video

SInce I do not glue my jigsaw puzzles you may be wondering how I prepare mine for the wall. I use this 'No-glue' method for the majority of my assembled images. I have preserved puzzles from 30 years ago in perfect condition.

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