Made to Fit

So, this wasn’t working:


As soon as Emily’s party was over I eagerly pulled out my last birthday gift from my grandma – a 6,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.  It’s the largest puzzle I’ve ever attempted, and unfortunately, our table was about 2 inches too short (widthwise).  I started the puzzle anyway though, and as you can see, between the Burger King, Julia’s homework, Emily’s puzzle, and Julia’s puzzles, it was getting a bit crowded on the table.  I not only needed to find a way to add a few inches to the table’s width, but I also needed to better define my project’s territory.

After going over multiple possibilities with Jay, I decided that creating a new surface for the table would be the best bet.  I headed over to the local dollar store and picked up 8 pieces of black foamboard.


The puzzle measures 42.25″ x 62.25″, and I decided to add an extra .75″ to the width of my foamboard so that my new surface area would measure 43″ wide.  I also gave a few extra inches to the length so that the puzzle wouldn’t be up against the edges on all 4 sides.

First, I taped two pieces of foamboard together on the back with duct tape.


Then I measured and marked the board at 43″ in a few places and connected my lines with a ruler.  Once I had my line I used a box cutter to score the line, making sure I kept my line as straight as possible.

I continued the same way – taping, measuring, and cutting until I had my new “tabletop.” Some of the black paper on the foamboard had peeled off of the front while I cut the first piece on the back, so afterward I cut along the front of the boards instead of the backs, and any more tearing occurred on the backs of the boards.


Here is the front of the board with a puzzle piece on it:

IMG_9793The next step was to clear the table of all the junk and then slowly move the completed sections onto the new foamboard surface.


It took a little while (Julia kept trying to “help” me 🙂 ), but eventually I managed to get it all on the board.  I really love working on the black background because it makes the colors pop and the dark color doesn’t compete with the image.

IMG_9798As a rule I never start with the edges in a puzzle (just call me a jigsaw rebel), but it would have been impossible to do them on the table anyway since it was too small. Once my foamboard tabletop went on I was able to put the edges together and get a better sense of the final size of this puzzle.  It’s a whopper!


I think this method will work well for future large puzzles too, and if I need to I can cut these foamboard pieces along the taped lines and save them for later.

As far as where we eat dinner now, well, that’s another problem… 🙂

6 thoughts on “Made to Fit

  1. This looks great! Great way to figure out what you needed and you made it happen. If, at some point you need something a little more sturdy, for about $10, you can get a piece of eucaboard at Home Depot, it comes standard in a 8′ x 4′ sheet, and have them cut it for you to whatever size you want. It’s only about 1/4″ thick, and works great. I got mine cut into 10 24 x 18″ sheets to use as working boards. I love them! Anyway, great progress on the puzzle! :o)

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