Did you know the largest puzzle ever constructed contained 551,232 pieces?
The puzzle of a lotus flower measured an incredible 48 feet in height and 76 feet in length. It took 1,600 university students a total of 17 hours to piece together their creation.
You may never personally complete a puzzle of that size (unless you're trying to break the World Record). Still, as a puzzle enthusiast, you may finish a special puzzle that's worthy of hanging on your wall.
Are you wondering exactly how to frame a puzzle? How do you properly measure it and mount it into a frame? And where can you find the best puzzle frames to showcase your creation?
In this post, we'll discuss the answers to those questions. Read on to learn more!
How to Measure a Puzzle Correctly
Before you start shopping for custom picture frames, it's important to consider the exact size of your puzzle. Here are 3 tips to help you get the measurement right.
1. Don't Rely on Listed Measurements
It's easy to glance at the measurements listed on the puzzle box and assume they're exactly accurate. In reality, they may or may not be.
It's common for puzzles to measure up to 1/4" larger or smaller than the numbers listed on the box. While this might not seem like a problem, it can make all the difference when it comes to whether the puzzle will fit inside the frame.
Rather than ordering a frame based on the listed measurements, wait until your puzzle is complete. Then measure the finished dimensions so you'll know exactly what size frame you need to order.
2. Consider the Thickness of the Puzzle
Another common mistake people make with puzzle picture frames is forgetting that puzzles aren't paper.
Many picture frames are designed to hold a photograph or print on a flat sheet of paper, which averages around 1/10th of a millimeter, or 3/1000th of an inch. In contrast, some puzzles can be as thick as 1/4 inch, and some premium brands can be even thicker.
As you're searching for puzzle frames, make sure the frame can accommodate the thickness of your puzzle.
3. Make Sure Your Puzzle Is Flat
Before you consider how you're going to keep your puzzle together, make sure it's completely flat.
It's common to have one piece start to "pop up" out of place. When you press it in, adjacent pieces may then start to rise up.
To avoid any flaws in your finished product, roll your puzzle completely flat with a rolling pin. It's a simple but effective way to level the pieces and prepare it for framing.
Hold Your Puzzle Together
Your puzzle is complete and perfectly flat. Before you slide it into a frame, you first have to figure out how to permanently hold it together.
1. Choose the Right Glue
Glue is a traditional option for securing your puzzle together, but you need to make sure you get the right kind.
Look for glue with low water content to prevent the pieces from swelling or peeling. Ideally, the glue should also have low acid content (or be acid-free) to preserve your puzzle for years to come.
Use the smallest amount of glue necessary, as too much could make your pieces peel or swell. Apply gently with a foam brush or something else that contains a straight edge, like an expired credit card.
2. Try a Tape Backing
What if you don't want to risk warping your puzzle or altering its appearance with glue? Another option is to use specially formulated acid-free tape.
Using two pieces of sturdy cardboard or poster board, carefully sandwich your completed puzzle and turn it over. Apply the tape in strips across the back of the puzzle, creating a bit of overlap to ensure everything sticks.
3. Mount Your Puzzle on Wax Paper
Even if you already glued or taped your puzzle together, you may want to reinforce it with a backing of acid-free wax paper (or foam core backing).
Apply it with the same glue you used on the puzzle. Keep in mind that the addition of tape or wax paper will increase the overall thickness, so consider that when you start shopping for a frame.
Select the Right Puzzle Frame
Your puzzle is complete and permanently bonded. Now comes the fun part—selecting a custom puzzle frame!
The type of frame you'll choose depends on the subject of the puzzle. Is it a colorful image that would look best in a sleek, modern frame? Or is it an old-fashioned painting or portrait that would be enhanced with a decorative wooden frame?
Another consideration is whether to include matting with your frame. Aside from aesthetics, the size and thickness of your puzzle should factor in. Well-chosen matting can enhance the finished look, but you need to make sure your frame can accommodate the extra layer.
A final factor to consider is whether to use glass or plastic to cover your puzzle. This final covering will protect it from scratches, fingerprints, or other damage over time. It will also prevent the puzzle from sagging or bowing.
If possible, consider using conservation glass with built-in UV protection. This will keep your puzzle looking bright and new for many years to come.
Where to Find the Best Puzzle Frames
You spent a lot of time putting that special puzzle together. Selecting the right puzzle frame requires an equal amount of consideration and care.
Be sure to measure the exact dimensions of your puzzle, including its thickness. Weigh your options when considering how to keep it together, whether with glue, tape, or a back mounting.
Once your puzzle is assembled and permanently bonded, it's time to shop for a frame! We offer a line of beautiful ready-made presentation frames that are perfect for showcasing puzzles.
Browse our selection of puzzle frames and find the one that's perfect for your project.