Altered Puzzles seem to be taking off in the stamping world and you can see why! They are so addictive to make and because your canvas is so small they take next to no time at all!

We recently had a Puzzle Swap on our sister swap group and are soon to be hosting another! For the benefit of those who have never altered a puzzle piece (or anything for that matter) before here is a quick guide on how to!

First of all you need your puzzles! The best types of puzzles to buy are the large children’s ones as they have large pieces, floor puzzles are perfect! There are many different sizes of puzzles, you don’t want a large adult’s puzzle with 300000 pieces in it, you want a nice chunky size puzzle with manageable sized puzzle pieces. For the most part puzzles tend to be brightly coloured and printed on board, see below for an example of a puzzle piece (prior to altering):

The most important thing when altering a puzzle is preparing it for stamping or collaging on, there are a number of ways to do this, this guide will walk you through them all and hopefully give you some ideas to try yourself!

Option One: Sanding The Puzzle

Use sand paper to rub gently onto the puzzle piece, as you do this you will remove the printed coating and reveal a matt blank puzzle piece which is all ready to stamp upon!

Option Two: Prime With Gesso

Gesso is an artists primer available from art shops, it prepares a surface for painting or in our case for stamping on by removing the shiny surface and replacing it with one with a tooth which will allow the inks to adhere to. Gesso comes in white, clear and black, paint on like you would do with paint and allow to dry before stamping.

Option Three: Painting The Puzzle

You can paint directly onto the puzzle pieces using craft acrylic paints; these come in many different colours. Once the paint is dry you can stamp or collage your pieces.

Option Four: Covering With Paper

Use white glue such as pva, elmers or any school glue, apply a generous layer to the puzzle piece and cover with a sheet of either plain or printed paper. This is one of the easiest ways of preparing your puzzle piece.

Option Five: Cover With Masking Tape

Use the very sticky masking tape you can buy from DIY shops, simply tear and cover the puzzle piece until you can no longer see the printed design, then stamp the surface!

Option Six: Cover With Krylon Pen

Using a Krylon pen in any colour, first sand the puzzle piece to remove the gloss, and then scribble over the entire surface with a Krylon pen!

Option Seven: Cover With White Labels

Another easy option – peel off a large white label and place over the top of your puzzle piece and you’re ready to go!

Option Eight: Flip It Over!

The easiest option of the bunch; the back side of your puzzles are PLAIN! Flip it over and alter that side instead!

Once you’ve prepared your puzzles you are ready for stamping or collaging them. I like to collage mine, I stamp my images in advance on paper and add my colour, then I tear or cut out the images and layer them onto the puzzle pieces with other papers and embellishments using white glue. Allow the glue to dry, then when dry apply a layer of white glue over the top of the collage to seal it (the white glue dries clear) This gives the collage a smooth edge. When the glue has dried turn the puzzle pieces over and use a craft knife to cut away any excess collage papers to give the puzzle its shape back again! In the more awkward corners you can use the blade of your craft knife to shave off any excess papers.

You can also stamp direct to the puzzles and stipple ink on to add colours just like you would on ordinary card stock; there are no rules!

The most important thing to remember is to have FUN!

Here’s a couple of puzzles I prepared earlier using other methods (haven’t altered them yet):

Punchinella And Silver Tape:

The 2 pieces below are the before and after pixs, the one on the left I glued on a strip of sequin waste (punchinella) to the puzzle piece, allowed it to dry, then when dry I stuck over a strip of silver tape and rubbed along the edge with my finger tip to burnish it. I added colour to the one of the right using my favourite…Alcohol Inks!

Textured Inks Backgrounds:

I decided to cover some of my puzzles with the textured background technique I did for alcohol inks, the results are below. The one on the left I scribbled onto the puzzle using gold, silver and copper Krylon pen before adding alcohol inks to colourise it:

More Textured Backgrounds this time I didn’t use any Krylon pens:

The trick is to enjoy and have fun and don’t stress! Your working on a small canvas which means you have to throw all the rules out of the window and THINK SMALL…but it’s a lotta fun and before you know it YOU too will be addicted!

Altered Puzzle Gallery:

Below are some of the puzzles I’ve been altering recently….