Cardboard or Wooden Puzzles? Pros and Cons

Jigsaw puzzles come in different sizes, shapes, colors and, of course, different materials. Materials are the greatest divide there is when it comes to jigsaw puzzles, an epic battle between wood and cardboard. If we take a closer look at the statistics, we will probably find out that the divide does not only have a technical nature, but also a sociological one, and that puzzle lovers can be divided among these same lines.

If we look at it from a historical perspective, wood is the older, more traditional material. If wooden puzzles are handmade, it becomes even more “traditional,” and the craftsmanship adds more value. Cardboard puzzles are modern, manufactured by thousands, designed and cut with the latest technologies. They are products of modernity.

From an ecological perspective, things change a little bit. Neither cardboard nor wood are truly eco-friendly, but there are jigsaw puzzles made out of recycled cardboard, and soy-based inks.

As far as the price is concerned, wood loses the race. It’s the more expensive material, but also the one where quality can take a much better shape.

Cardboard jigsaw puzzles, besides the attractive price, have some more appealing features. They require less storage space, can be framed and hanged on your wall, and there’s no real limit concerning the image displayed, the size or the number of pieces. For those who really like challenges and constructing puzzles frequently, these are the puzzles to get.

Wooden puzzles are more for traditional jigsaw puzzle lovers, and those who simply like puzzles for their beauty and the effort put into them by the designer, artist or puzzle maker.

One thought on “Cardboard or Wooden Puzzles? Pros and Cons

  1. Whereas most wood jigsaw puzzles are made from plywood, which is not very eco-friendly, there are some hardwood jigsaw puzzles that are very eco-friendly. For instance, the “FIRST JIGSAW PUZZLE-SQUARE” by Young Minds At Play. It won the 2011 DR. TOY BEST GREEN PRODUCT AWARD.

    There are several other advantages to wood puzzles for toddlers:

    -Cardboard puzzles are easily bent and ruined, whereas wood can last for generations

    -Cardboard puzzles easily come apart accidentally while a toddler is trying to connect the next piece, making it very frustrating for toddlers. Thick wood puzzles stay connected and take an effort to disconnect. The First Jigsaw Puzzle – Square, for instance, has pieces that are almost 1″ thick and will not come apart if jostled.

    -Toddlers like to do puzzles (and pretty much everything else) over and over and over again. Older children and adults generally just do a jigsaw puzzle once. This makes it more important to have a puzzle that can handle the repeated and rough play of toddlers. Cardboard puzzles are quickly discarded because they are ruined, not because a toddler has tired of them. The additional cost of a high-quality wood puzzle generally pays for itself as it can last not only through one child, but multiple children, and even multiple generations.

    -Toddlers put toys in their mouths. Natural woods are a safer choice than cardboard and painted puzzles.

Ask us a question about puzzles and we'll write back!