DIY Projects | Home Decor

Don’t be puzzled, that’s just a puzzle on the wall.

September 7, 2017

This first DIY project I’m sharing with you could not be easier and can add such a sweet and unique touch to any nursery, kid room, playroom…really anywhere in your home, classroom, work space, etc.

A quick note: If you read my first post, you know I’ve been drafting these ideas for the past year or so, which means my picture quality may not be the best. Most of the time, I snapped a quick picture or two on my phone to “document” what I was doing before I had really committed to blogging. I promise you, now that I’m running with this blog and any future ideas I come up with, I’m much more aware of the picture quality and taking pictures for the sake of blogging. Stick with me…it’ll get better. 

Chances are you have a puzzle sitting around that you’ve either finished then “ruined” (in the words of my daughter – after she finishes one, she says “time to ruin it!”) just for it to sit in the box in a closet somewhere. Or maybe you just have never completed it and it’s still sitting in that closet somewhere collecting dust.

Well, folks, I’m here to tell you puzzles make excellent wall art. And since we’ve moved to the Bay Area, I’ve become a little more aware of the types of things I hang on our walls (hello earthquakes…). This project eliminates the need for any large, expensive or heavy frames. You don’t even need to any special nails or anchors for hanging.

The idea for this project all started when we received this cute storybook puzzle as a gift…

puzzle 3
Who doesn’t love children’s books?? ‘Curious George’ and ‘Corduroy’ are the current favorites in our house. Mila also loves ‘The Snowy Day’ and as we read it she’s always sure to tell me “I never see snow, Mommy!”. That’s Bay Area living for you…

Being the book lover I am (I have a very special place in my heart for children’s books), I immediately knew I wanted to display this somehow. Having a reading area in our kids’ rooms has been something very important to me, so I knew this would be the perfect “art” in Tyler’s room.

I actually searched over Pinterest and had a hard time finding a specific tutorial for something like this, so I just used the knowledge I already had for Mod Podge and decided to test out my theory. Well, I can safely say this exact puzzle is still hanging on the wall after a year now and is still in the same condition as it was when it was completed. I’d call that a win for a project I literally just took a shot in the dark at completing.

Alright, enough talking, let’s get to it. Find a puzzle that you love or could easily see as wall art (warning: you will now automatically see puzzles in every store you go to after reading this and imagining them on your wall as art…you’re welcome). You can easily do this project with any puzzle of any size or shape, just adjust the amount of Mod Podge needed.

You will need:

  • A cool puzzle of your choice that is already assembled (the “storybook” puzzle I used was 24″x30″)
  • Mod Podge (I ended up using an entire 8 oz container for my puzzle)
  • Foam craft hobby paint brush (mine was 1.5″ but size doesn’t really matter here)
  • flat cardboard to work on (I just cut up an old box to lie flat…I found the cardboard didn’t stick to the puzzle like newspaper would)
  • 4 nails for hanging
puzzle 1
I took this picture when I finished my last coat on the second side…again, working on the picture thing…

Steps for creating your puzzle wall art masterpiece: 

  1. Assemble your puzzle. Even if it’s 1,000 pieces like ours was. Grab your partner and make a date night out of it. Have your kids do it for you. Either way, get that puzzle assembled. *pro tip: assemble it on the cardboard you plan to use…so you don’t have to break it up into larger pieces to transfer it like I did…
  2. With your assembled puzzle on the cardboard – it does not matter which “side” of the puzzle you start with – use your foam brush to apply 3 generous but even coats of Mod Podge to the first side. Allow about 20-30 minutes in between coats to dry. Be sure to apply the Mod Podge to the entire surface of the puzzle, even running off the edges a bit – just make sure the puzzle doesn’t stick to your surface as it dries.
  3. Once you’ve completed your final coat on the first side, allow it to dry completely before attempting to flip your puzzle. Depending on the size of your puzzle, you may want an extra set of hands to help you flip it but it should be pretty sturdy at this point. If it’s easily breaking on you, I’d recommend applying an additional coat or two before flipping (some puzzles might be thicker and require more coats).
  4. Once you’ve successfully flipped your puzzle, add at least another 2 coats of the Mod Podge to the other side, again, allowing to dry in between each coat.
  5. Allow it to dry completely before attempting to hang – I ended up letting mine dry overnight.
  6. Hang your puzzle in your desired location. I just used “common” or “finishing” nails from an assorted pack I had on hand. I considered getting poster strips or using 3M tape originally, but I already had these nails in my tool kit. I also didn’t mind making holes in the walls or nailing right into each corner of the actual puzzle (plus, I completed this project about a week before Tyler was born, so I was looking for speedy hanging solutions).
reading corner
The perfect addition to Tyler’s reading corner.

And that’s it! Admire your masterpiece. It’s such a creative and different touch in any room. You can also find so many puzzles in any theme. This can be a really affordable way to customize your child’s room with their favorite character or theme (especially since the chances are pretty high that they will “change their mind” shortly after…).

I only wish I thought of this project when I was teaching geography…I now see map puzzles everywhere I go! I’d love to hear from you if you try this project or have any questions. I’d also love for you to share pictures of your final masterpieces. If you want to share on Instagram, you can tag me and/or use the #mypuzzlewallart hashtag. Happy “puzzle wall art” making!

New to using Mod Podge? Here’s a few of my tips:

Tip 1: My go-to place for purchasing this stuff is at Michael’s or Joann’s…either when it’s already on sale or with a 40% or 50% off coupon (I never walk into either of the stores without a coupon…). Recently, I’ve also noticed Amazon (who doesn’t love Amazon…) has pretty competitive prices too. If you’re frugal like I am, shop around for the best deal. 

Tip 2: They make several “finishes” and if you walk into the store or look online, you’ll see a ton of options. I used the “matte” option for this project because I didn’t want a really glossy or reflective finish. They do specifically make a “puzzle saver” version, but it was more expensive and I personally didn’t think the specialty of that specific finish was worth the extra price tag.  There are also a ton of homemade tutorials out there for making your own…I have yet to try these so if anyone does, let me know how it turns out! 

Want to save this project for later? “Pin” it on Pinterest! 

Puzzle Wall Art Pin

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