Preserving Puzzles: Duct Tape Or Mod Podge

I like doing puzzles. It’s something I’ve enjoyed ever since I was a kid, and it seems that assembling puzzles is becoming more popular again, so there’s a good selection of them at the stores. Eric and I went and picked out a few some months back, and we’ve been working on putting them together. Now, a lot of people will finish a puzzle, look at it for a bit, then break it up and put it back in the box. I’ve done that in the past with puzzles that weren’t mine, but with my own, I’d much rather keep them after I put all that work into assembling them.

It’s been ages since I was around any puzzles, so I was pretty rusty on remembering how to preserve them. Of course, I grew up really poor too, so we did things the cheap-slap way. Elmer’s glue was something my grandma used to use. When Eric and I finished our first puzzle together, I remembered the glue trick, but we didn’t have enough and didn’t want to go buy any. Then I remembered another method. It’s pretty hillbilly, but it still works. Duct tape. We had a big roll of cheap stuff from the dollar store, and that’s really all you need.

Once you finish your puzzle you’ll need two pieces of poster board or cardboard larger than the puzzle. Slip one underneath the puzzle. It can take some work if the pieces don’t link tightly, but you can work it under there. Put the other piece on top of the puzzle. Now you’re going to need someone to help you. You take your puzzle sandwich and flip it over so the back is on top. take off the cardboard. Now you cut off strips of duct tape that are as wide as the puzzle and start laying them on. You can leave a gap between strips depending on the size of the puzzle pieces. After you get done going in one direction, lay strips down in the other direction so you have a crosshatch pattern. That’s really all there is too it. That’s how we did this puzzle:

Hanging puzzle - Image: © Briana Blair

After that you can pick up the puzzle and hang it. Either poke holes in the corners and hang it with tacks or nails, or while you have it face down you can tape some wire on it to make a hanger. It’s all cheap and easy, but it works. Of course, if you can get knock-off white glue at the dollar store, you can coat the front of the puzzle with that and it will work almost as well as the commercial sealer. You just have to be sure not to make it too thick or it’ll get milky and the puzzle will be ugly.

When I got my Christmas money I ordered myself some craft supplies, and I got some Mod Podge. I’ve never used it before, but that puzzle at the top is a glow-in-the-dark puzzle with tigers, and I really want to preserve that well. We have another with wolves too, but I think Eric may have been out of his mind when he picked that one. Anyway, according to what I’ve read, Mod Podge is safe for using on glow puzzles. I hope it’s true. I’ve never had a glow puzzle and I really want to hang this in the bedroom. That’s one of the reasons I like keeping the puzzles, it’s wall art. Why buy posters when you can assemble a puzzle then hang it? I suppose you could even frame them if you were so inclined.


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