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How Do They Make Jigsaw Puzzles?

Source: Freepik

Whether you’re big on puzzles or not, we’ve all solved one (or attempted to) at least once in our lives. But have you ever thought to think about how jigsaw puzzles are made? What processes go on behind the scenes to ensure that families across the globe get to have hours of fun together with such a simple tool – a printed image cut into hundreds, even thousands of pieces?

How Jigsaw Puzzles Are Made: Step by Step

Step 1: Designing the Image

The first step to making a jigsaw puzzle is deciding what picture to use. The choice of image is a crucial part of this process, as it will not only affect the attractiveness of the puzzle for the buyers but also the level of difficulty. The more detailed and intricate an image is, the harder the puzzle will be to solve.

Step 2: Printing

Once the image has been designed or picked, it is time to print it. The initial printing takes place on a piece of paper, which will later be mounted onto a sturdier backing.  

Step 3: Mounting

Now that the puzzle has been printed, it’s time to mount it onto a piece of construction paper. Although puzzles can be made using other materials, such as plastic or rubber (more commonly used for kids’ puzzles), construction paper has the perfect balance between ease of use, affordability, and durability.

Step 4: Cutting

Long gone are the days when an actual jigsaw was used to cut jigsaw puzzles. Nowadays, puzzle makers use puzzle dies – a large cutter made to fit the intended cutting pattern. These are pressed onto the printed and mounted puzzle to cut it into separate pieces instantly. 

Step 5: Quality Control

After the cutting is the right time to conduct some last checks and ensure the puzzle is up to the manufacturer’s standards. Have all the pieces been cut properly? Is the print sticking well to the construction paper?

Step 6: Separation and Sorting

Finally, before packing the product, it is crucial to sort through the pieces and ensure they’re all accounted for. We’re sure a puzzle with missing pieces is on nobody’s Christmas wishlist.

Step 7: Packaging

Puzzle pieces are usually packed into a sealed plastic bag, and then a cardboard box with the image of the solved puzzle on the front. 

Step 8: Distribution

Lastly, when the puzzle has been designed, produced, and packaged, its next destination is a shelf in a store where it will hopefully be picked up by an eager puzzle whizz.


So there you have it – the fun, yet intricate process responsible for granting us a timeless, trans-generational hobby that the whole family can enjoy together. Next time you find yourself solving a puzzle, pay attention to the details – the matte finish of the paint, the laser-precise cut, and all the different and unique shapes of puzzle pieces.

How Do They Make Jigsaw Puzzles: FAQ

What is the process of making a jigsaw puzzle?

The process of making a jigsaw puzzle includes choosing and/or designing an image, printing it, and mounting it on a cardboard backing, cutting it using a die, and finally, packaging the pieces into a box.

How are jigsaw puzzle dies made?

Jigsaw puzzle dies are usually made of plywood and they hold metal knives which cut into the puzzle. The die itself has slots where the knives are fitted. The knives also often have rubber pieces which eject the puzzle once cut.

How long does it take to make a jigsaw puzzle?

In mass production, making a jigsaw puzzle is, for the most part, an automated process that requires little time and effort. However, if you want to build a custom, hand-made jigsaw puzzle, be prepared for hours of work.