Jen's Completed Puzzles

I do lots of puzzles. To date, I have completed 135 puzzles, totalling about 185,325 puzzle pieces. I own several unopened puzzles as well -- if there's one thing I've learned, it's that not all puzzles are always findable. I once passed on buying an 8,000 piece puzzle (The Shootings of May Third, by Goya) because I figured I could always buy it later, when I had more money. I haven't seen it since.

Ro got me started on the 3D foam puzzles, although he primarily does those and I primarily do the 2D puzzles. However, I am including a list of the completed Puzz3D puzzles we have.

Most of my puzzles are "art puzzles", although I have several others which were presents that aren't art-related -- they're usually the kind of puzzles which other people think will be hard for me to do! Amazingly enough, one year between my birthday and Christmas, I was given three of the photomosaic puzzles -- none the same! Talk about lucky. However, while I like the photomosaics, I'm really not interested in doing the puzzles which are just supposed to be difficult -- I like the ones that have a nice picture on them when they're done. I glue them together and hang them on the walls of the apartment, and you just can't do that with those silly double-sided puzzles.

My older puzzles are glued onto cardboard, because the glue I was using then would go right through the puzzle and onto whatever the puzzle was sitting on! After gluing one puzzle to a table, and prying it off, I just built the puzzles onto large pieces of cardboard. Later, I found a glue which is not nearly that thin, and just coats the front. This makes the puzzle coherent enough to withstand the forces involved in flipping it over, so I can glue the back. The puzzle absorbs a lot more glue through the back, of course, and that is where most of the strength of the glue is used. The glue used to be marketed under the PSI Puzzle Preserver label, from St. Charles, IL. In September 1999, after finishing the Y2K puzzle, I suddenly discovered that Game Keeper (since aquired by Wizards of the Coast didn't have this glue anymore. Neither did anyone else I could find. Game Keeper also couldn't tell me who they used to purchase it from, not a phone number or a name or an address. *sigh*. One of the regional managers finally tracked some down -- or so the message said when I got it; a case was waiting for me at the Cupertino mall. Well, I picked it up, and the packaging had changed (no nice pre-cut cardboard spreaders, waaaah), and the label was changed (it now read Game Keeper puzzle glue), the price was 1/2 what it was, but as it turned out, it was the same glue. Happy Day. Of course, it was too good to be true. I went back to Game Keeper a couple weeks ago (Jan. 2001), and found they'd changed their glue again, only this time it's a very thin, very glue-your-puzzle-to-the-table, glue! So, it was time to start hunting down an appropriate replacement glue. My husband poked around the web and discovered the web pages for the Charles Wysocki gallery, which was selling puzzle glue from a company named Shamrock. It turned out to be a repackaged version of the original PSI glue!! Happy Jen.

I don't frame all the puzzles -- that would be way too expensive. However, the big ones I do frame, because they just don't have enough internal support to not bow out when nailed to the walls. I've done four large frames already, and each time I learn a bit more about tension and compression when dealing with thin, flexible cardboard. I don't cover them with glass, because it looks much cooler without it. My backing material then evolved from 1-foot wide strips of strategically placed plywood to double foil-backed rigid 1/4" insulation panels. Apparently these are extremely easy to find in Quebec; from the Bay Area (California) I had to call about 9 roofing companies before I found one that had some on a site which they were going to be returning to the manufacturer the next day, because they didn't need as many as previously thought. At that, it wasn't even the rigid insulation -- it was classified as "semi-rigid". It seems to work all right, but it is a bit warped from flat. Hopefully I will evenutally find the rigid type of these insulation panels. The puzzle is attached to the panels by 3M spray-on adhesive, which smells just like an aerosol rubber cement. A bit of advice: only do this on nice days when you can open *all* the windows in your house.

My current framing technology uses the foam core again, but this time I am using the 1/2" thick version -- not the wimpy, warpable 3/16" type found everywhere easily. The puzzle is attached using strips of double-sided sticky paper (that's the technical term, as far as I know). Cutting the paper from the roll format into strips allows more careful puzzle placement, since there's no drying time to use for adjustment. I've used this on a 5,000 piece puzzle and it's holding up quite nicely.


Completed Puzzles

Alas, I do not remember the names of all of the puzzles, nor all of the artists. However, here's a list (with related links) of the ones I do know!

Owned, but not Completed, Puzzles

While I was putting this together, I came across various museums' web sites: