I've always enjoyed a good jigsaw puzzle -- in real life or online. I was taught the strategy by my Mom and other family members, and have hopes of passing down this enjoyment to my own family one day!
It's Got To Be Interesting
I tend to lean towards natural photographic landscapes. Could be due to those were the ones most readily available at my grandparent or parent's home or my love of landscape photography. There are many different kinds now -- some of which I have found I do not enjoy (3-D), and some which are a decent substitute for the real thing (online).
I have seen some really cool puzzles in my lifetime--and some are too great to comprehend! (Check out this 40,320 piece puzzle!) One of my college roommates bought a 500 piece bottlecap puzzle as a Christmas gift for her boyfriend and wow, was it ever a challenge! I remember she encouraged us all to stop by for a visit AND we were welcome to take a few moments (hours) and find a piece or two! I think she finally completed it at the end of a year.
Having the appropriate amount of space in which to work a jigsaw puzzle is a must! There are a few things more frustrating than learning your puzzle table is too narrow! Take the time to measure your designated area. Each puzzle comes with finished size specifications.
While my Mom has her own strategy of putting all the pieces face up, my starting strategy is to dump out all the pieces and separate the end pieces. Once all the end pieces have been found, I put all the middle pieces back into the bottom box, leaving the top picture as a guide. (This does not always work, as I have recently put together 12 jigsaw puzzles which had two inches missing from the guide picture!) I select an area, which I believe may be easier to distinguish, and start rooting around in the bottom box. I remove pieces I believe to related to the area I have selected. Many times, this strategy fails, and I end up finding a random piece in a completely different area of the puzzle field. This generates hope and I will immediately change the area I am working in.
Depending on how much time you have available, who will be working with you, and your skill level with jigsaw puzzles determines the size of the puzzle you should try. Another words, if you are an amateur and working alone, you may not want to start off with a 1000 piece puzzle. This may result in frustration, disappointment, and piling all the pieces back in the box! Start simple with 100 piece or 150 piece puzzles with large pieces and work your way up.
If you are just starting out, finding a puzzle with a larger image or a large area of one color may be less challenging than one with many like images. Remember the bottlecap puzzle?
Puzzle piece shapes do make a difference! My husband knew I loved jigsaw puzzles and he had one made from one of his photographs. It was a beautiful fall scene of Upper and Lower Whitewater Falls in the fall. (If you scroll down the page from the link, you will find it!) I was thrilled at the gift that is, until I started putting it together. There were only four puzzle piece shapes -- and they fit in many different places--many, many incorrect places! Talk about frustrated? I finally gave up and he no longer offers to give me puzzles of photos he takes. We laugh and joke about it, but no....shape matters!
I have found working a good old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle (not online) brings a calming sensation over me. I like hunting for the right piece and when I find it and it fits....serious excitement! I do not work on it for hours at a time, well, unless I am really close to completing the puzzle, and then it's on! More often than not, I dabble with it. It's on a table that I do not use everyday; it can be put away with the puzzle on it.
Placing that last puzzle piece in its place is satisfying -- a job well done! There is just something about seeing a completed jigsaw puzzle that drives me to start on the next one!
Give It A Try
Jigsaw puzzles are used for teaching, learning and even just simple enjoyment. Hard to believe they have been around since 1760's. When you have some time on your hands -- even if it is just a few minutes -- pull up a puzzle and stimulate your brain!