Jigsaw Puzzle Swap

We recently had a customer tell us that it can be difficult to afford their jigsaw puzzle hobby because they finish their puzzles so quickly. That put us to thinking: besides re-doing previous puzzles or upping the piece count, how can you satisfy your hobby without spending more than you’ve budgeted for it?

First, we have several sales going on all the time, from items under $10 to discontinued items discounted 10% and items discounted because the box has been damaged (the puzzle inside is perfectly unaffected though!)

Goldenline Fairies – Water Faery 750 piece jigsaw puzzle from Lafayette Puzzle Factory. $8.99

Heavy Drinkers 500 piece (Discontinued puzzle)  from SunsOut. $10.99

Venice in the Summer – Scratch and Dent 1000 piece puzzle from Cobble Hill. Sale price: $13.99

 

But if you want to go even cheaper and you want to avoid thrift store puzzles that might be missing a piece or two and the digital puzzle route isn’t your style, then consider jigsaw puzzle swaps.

There are many ways to swap jigsaw puzzles. You can check out the Jigsaw Puzzle Swap Facebook page or sign up to be a member of Jigsaw Puzzle Swap Exchange, an online website where you will send and receive packages filled with quality jigsaw puzzles in good condition with other puzzle lovers.

If you’re thinking more locally, you can host an event yourself.

To host a jigsaw puzzle swap with friends and family, or a larger community swap by using websites such as Meet Up, just set a minimum number of puzzles that have no missing pieces to bring and then let your guests browse and swap!

You might agree upon rules or you might not, opting for a more casual, lighthearted event. Either way, you’ll just want to ensure that everyone leaves happy with a new puzzle to complete that they consider a fair exchange.

Popular rules would be along the lines of:

  • You can only swap puzzles that have a similar or equal piece count, i.e. if you bring two 2000 piece jigsaw puzzles, it’s not fair to go home with three 150 piece jigsaw puzzles
  • Swaps should be similar in quality, i.e. no swapping a dollar store puzzle for a high-quality Cobble Hill jigsaw puzzle
  • You don’t have to swap an equal number of puzzles, just an equal challenge, i.e. swapping two 500 piece puzzles is fair game for one 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle
  • Find some way to accommodate people that have specific preferences, such as XL pieces or shaped puzzles only (or not at all) so that no one feels like they are stuck with a puzzle they have no desire or ability to complete
  • Puzzles are exchanged forever, or puzzles must be returned to the original owner within a set time span (returning puzzles is better suited for a swap limited to family and friends, parting with a puzzle forever would be more apt for a larger swap with members of your community)

This swap could be hosted once a year or once a season, depending on how frequently you and your puzzle-loving friends buy and complete new puzzles!

New Jigsaw Puzzle App from Ravensburger Digital

Got an empty schedule this Saturday and finished all your jigsaw puzzles lying around? Well, now there’s something out there that will let you keep puzzling while you wait for a new order in the mail or until you’re ready to trek over to the store. The new Ravensburger Puzzle App is $2.99 on the iTunes store. Designed specifically for the iPad, this app lets you do jigsaw puzzles from the comfort of your couch. You won’t have to bend over the craft table, worry about the glare on the pieces, or shoo the cat away so he doesn’t ruin your hard-sorted puzzle pieces. You can complete this puzzles from anywhere with a WiFi connection–that’s great for those people that want to wind down in the coziness of their bed just before going to sleep!

With your $2.99 purchase you’ll get six puzzles to choose from, three tutorials, relaxing background music, and eight table themes. You’ll get to keep track of your achievements and leaderboards via Game Center, and the best part of all–you get the freedom of choosing your piece count!

From 20 to 500 pieces, you get to make the choice that’s best for you. No longer do you have to eye a puzzle with a great image but wish it came in the right piece count! Now you can make it happen with the click of a button.

The in-app puzzling should come naturally to those that love jigsaw puzzles. The pieces will be scattered randomly over the screen, and there will be a drop-bar tray for safekeeping of those pieces you want to save for later (you’ll never be able to lose a piece again!). There will be a snap sound alert when you’ve fit a piece into the correct spot by moving and rotating, and a handy image as a reference that you can place for your convenience.

Don’t like the six puzzles offered with the initial purchase price or itching to the perfect puzzle for your iPad? The app also comes with a built-in library where you can purchase more puzzles for an additional fee and search by theme or release date.

This is the perfect solution for people without a lot of space to do their puzzles or people that just love their iPad!

Springbok’s Annual Image Contest

Hey Puzzle Lovers! Think you have what it takes to create a great puzzle, with the keen eye to catch the details that will be fun for everyone to piece together? We’ve got great news for you! Our friends at Springbok hold an annual puzzle image contest that lets your creativity shine – plus you could win a $500 cash prize and get your image turned into a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle!

You can enter for FREE starting on National Puzzle Day (January 29th) and the contest is open all the way until March 31st! That means you have plenty of time to take and submit as many pictures as you want!

Check out the winners from the past three years below, and read all the rules and regulations before you get started. Either way, submit and have fun! There’s nothing to lose!

2013 Winner: Ava Montalvo. Title: Sew Crafty. 500 pieces.

2012 Winner: John Razza. Title: Spicy, Hot! 500 pieces.

 

2011 Winner: Hannah Jones. Title: Colorful Canopy. 500 pieces.

 

Puzzles are the Perfect Family Bonding Activity

Last week my family lost my grandmother to lung cancer. She passed in her home with her family around her, eating, laughing, and sharing stories for days straight. Although it was emotionally difficult for all of us, we kept her spirits up with our smiles and offered her the comfort of being surrounded by those that loved her the most.

For several of those days, we had 10 or more people in her home spending the night to be with her. To keep us all occupied, I pulled out some puzzles. Everyone, the young, the old, and the middle-aged, stopped for some moments to help put the puzzles together.

During this stressful and challenging time, a puzzle was the perfect activity. It kept the children busy (and quiet, so my grandmother could rest) and gave all of our minds a calming distraction. Instead of being consumed with anxiety, stress, and sadness the puzzle allowed a few moments to lose ourselves in sorting and helping each other—whether it was helping find a piece for someone else, or confirming whether a piece really fit in a spot. We each had our own methods for putting the puzzle together (my cousin Randy and I had a preference for sorting by shape, my cousin Zach insisting on color) but together we were able to recreate 2 Ceaco sea-themed puzzles.

Puzzle Warehouse is first and foremost a family company, owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Brian and Susan Way (and the help their 7 children!)

As a company, all of us working at PW are all committed to providing our customers with a great activity for all ages, a way for the littlest of kids and oldest of adults in a family to connect in a common interest and project. But Puzzle Warehouse is also a family company in that it allowed me the flexibility to go and spend that time with my grandmother when she needed me most, of which I am extremely grateful.

It has been a pleasure to work here. Multiple family members told me that a puzzle was the perfect choice for an activity and thanked me for suggesting it during that time. It wouldn’t have happened if my job at Puzzle Warehouse hadn’t cultivated my interest in this great hobby that brings people together and unifies them, making them work as a team. I am thankful for the peace and serenity a puzzle provided in that time.

Here are some pictures of the puzzles we did.

A sea of blue! After the border we had a lot of sorting to do!

My mother, Dawn, my Great Uncle Jerry and Uncle Jeff working on the first puzzle.

Finished product!

Finished product!

The second puzzle we worked on a lot more color.

A missing edge piece drove us crazy for the beginning of the experience.

Further along, but still no edge piece!

Nearly there! By this point, I had won my battle of sorting the pieces by shape, making the last section whiz by.

Finished product. The edge piece was found in the box by my cousin Randy—the only one of us to have enough sense to look there!

Special thanks and credit goes to to Jerry, Jeff, Dawn, Bella, Randy, Grant, Addie, Max, Zach, and all of my other family members that worked on these puzzles.

Also, thank you to all of our Puzzle Warehouse fans—we left you without any new blog updates or Facebook posts for quite a while—but we’re back to keep talking about the thing we all love so much: puzzles!

Tomorrow we will feature our fairy puzzles as a special post dedicated to my grandmother and her love of sprites and magical creatures.

Expert Puzzle Sorters and Builders

There are several ways to organize your pieces as you puzzle. The bigger the puzzle, the more organizing is required.

Here are two videos from Youtube of people putting together some of the largest puzzles around. First there’s the Creation of Adam, a Clementoni Puzzle topping out at 13,224 pieces! The puzzle comes divided up in sections to make your challenge a little more doable (although each of those sections is over 2,000 pieces!)

Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 11.19.41 AM

Click here to watch the first of 6 videos of the completion of this massive puzzle!

In the first video, you can see how meticulous the sorting is. First, they build the details of the picture, meaning anything with color is organized and sorted and put together. After, they’re left with hundreds of pieces of the same color. Whew! Imagine.

From there, they sort those pieces by shape, a recommendation we give in our strategy guide. This helps because the ribbon cut of the puzzle makes it easy for them to figure out exactly what shape they’re looking for when they need another piece, so they know exactly which pieces to try.

The Creation of Adam puzzle-building spans over 6 videos. Check them all out: 123456Final Compilation Video

We currently do not carry this puzzle in stock, but there is a 750 piece Creation of Adam puzzle offered by Eurographics.

Creation of Adam by Eurographics. 750 pieces. Finished size: 36″ x 12″

In another video, two people put together the 5,000 piece Ravensburger puzzle “Beneath the Sea.” Here you can see them organize all of their pieces into bowls (much better than the plastic baggies I currently use to sort mine!)

Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 11.16.24 AM

Click here to watch them put together this giant puzzle!

In just 14 days, these women seem to put this puzzle together mostly by color and trial-and-error. Impressive, huh? Does seeing it completed before your eyes inspire you to believe you can do the same? We hope so!

Beneath the Sea by Ravensburger. 5000 pieces. Finished size: 48″ x 32″