Jigsaw Puzzle – The Definitive Beginner’s Guide

jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw puzzles are an enjoyable and engaging pastime that has captured the fascination of people of all ages for centuries. Whether you’re a child, a teenager, an adult, or a senior, working on a jigsaw puzzle can be a gratifying and meditative experience. Not only are jigsaw puzzles entertaining, but they also offer numerous cognitive and emotional benefits. In this beginner’s guide to jigsaw puzzles, we’ll delve into the history of these intriguing puzzles, their benefits, tips for beginners, and more.

A Brief History of Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles have a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 18th century. The first jigsaw puzzle was created in the 1760s by John Spilsbury, a London cartographer and engraver. He mounted a map on a wooden board and cut it into pieces using a marquetry saw, intending it to be a tool for teaching geography to children. The idea of interlocking pieces was born, and the term “jigsaw puzzle” became popular due to the saw’s resemblance to a jigsaw.

Initially, jigsaw puzzles were expensive and mainly used for educational purposes or by the wealthy as a form of entertainment. However, with advancements in manufacturing techniques, they became more affordable and accessible to people of all backgrounds.

The Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles

Working on jigsaw puzzles offers various cognitive and emotional benefits, making them more than just a fun pastime. Here are some of the advantages:

Jigsaw puzzles stimulate various cognitive functions, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination. As you piece together the puzzle, your brain works to recognize patterns, colors, and shapes, enhancing your cognitive abilities over time.

Engaging in puzzle-solving can be a form of meditation, providing stress relief and promoting relaxation. The focused attention required to fit the pieces together can help calm the mind and alleviate anxiety.

Completing a jigsaw puzzle involves remembering which pieces fit together and where they belong. This constant exercise of memory helps improve retention and recall abilities.

Completing a jigsaw puzzle gives a sense of achievement and satisfaction, boosting self-confidence and encouraging perseverance.

Jigsaw puzzles can be a fantastic group activity, fostering social interaction, teamwork, and communication. Working together with family or friends can lead to enjoyable bonding experiences.

Types of Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles come in various types and themes, catering to diverse interests and skill levels. Here are some common types:

The standard puzzles are the classic jigsaw puzzles, typically featuring a picture or illustration cut into various interlocking pieces. They come in different sizes and complexity levels, making them suitable for beginners and experienced puzzlers alike.

3D puzzles add an extra dimension of challenge and fun. These puzzles create a three-dimensional structure, such as famous landmarks, animals, or buildings.

Wooden puzzles provide a vintage and premium feel. They are often laser-cut with intricate designs and offer a unique tactile experience.

Mystery puzzles add an exciting twist to traditional jigsaw puzzles. The image on the box cover is not the same as the actual puzzle picture, adding an element of surprise and mystery to the solving process.

Photo puzzles are customized puzzles created from your own photographs, allowing you to preserve cherished memories in a unique and interactive way.

Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to jigsaw puzzles, here are some helpful tips to get started and make your puzzling experience enjoyable:

Begin with a puzzle that has a low piece count and a straightforward image. A 500-piece puzzle with clearly defined colors and patterns is an excellent starting point.

Sort the puzzle pieces by color, edge pieces, and patterns. This will make it easier to find and assemble sections of the puzzle.

Assembling the edge pieces to form the frame of the puzzle provides a solid foundation to build upon.

Instead of trying to complete the whole puzzle at once, focus on smaller sections or distinct objects within the puzzle. This approach can make the task feel more achievable and less overwhelming.

Puzzling can be time-consuming, so don’t hesitate to take breaks when needed. Stepping away and returning later with fresh eyes can help you spot pieces more effectively.

Puzzle-solving is more enjoyable when shared with loved ones. Consider involving friends or family members in the process for added fun and collaboration.

How to Preserve and Display Completed Puzzles

Once you’ve completed a puzzle, you may want to keep it as a memento or showcase your accomplishment. Here’s how you can preserve and display your finished puzzle:

Using puzzle glue and sealant will help secure the pieces together and protect the puzzle from damage. Follow the instructions on the glue bottle to ensure a smooth application.

Mounting your completed puzzle on a backing board adds stability and makes it easier to frame or display. You can use a foam board or a specialized puzzle board for this purpose.

Consider framing your completed puzzle as a beautiful piece of art. Custom framing will protect the puzzle and allow you to hang it on the wall as a decoration.

If you prefer not to frame the puzzle, you can purchase puzzle display frames or display it inside a glass coffee table. This way, you can admire your work while protecting it from dust and damage.


Jigsaw puzzles provide a delightful and rewarding experience for beginners and seasoned puzzlers alike. Their historical significance, cognitive benefits, and therapeutic qualities make them a fantastic choice for entertainment and relaxation. As a beginner, start with a manageable puzzle, sort and organize the pieces, and focus on small sections to build your confidence and skill. So, gather your family and friends, and embark on the captivating journey of jigsaw puzzle-solving, creating cherished memories along the way. Happy puzzling!

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