Here are some tools I can heartily recommend to any jigsaw puzzler.
Puzzle Boards by Jigthings
Some people may not do jigsaws often because they worry that once they’re set up, what if they don’t want to work on them for awhile? What if guests come over and they need the table? What if the cat gets into it and pieces are lost? Starting a 1000 piece puzzle can feel like a big commitment.
I’ve used different things over the years to address this. I have a 4000 piece Roll-O-Puzz that I have in case I decide to tackle one of my huge Heyes. I’ve had a wooden puzzle case and a plastic one. I’ve tried posterboard. The best thing I’ve found, though, are the Puzzle Boards from Jigthings.
A Puzzle Board is very lightweight, so you can easily pick it up and move it around the house if you need the table (just keep it held flat so the pieces don’t slide). It has a lightly sueded gray texture on top so that pieces are gripped a little bit, but still can be slid around. All around the edge of the board there’s a lip so that loose pieces are less able to fall off. It comes with a sheet of the material with black plastic on one side and the sueded gray on the other, that you can place over the board when you’re not using it to keep out the dust and cats.
This is a light, easy, functional solution that works the best of any I’ve found. Honestly, I have a more expensive puzzle case that zips up, but that’s not necessary unless you really plan to travel with a puzzle. I own a Puzzle Board in 1500 and 2000 piece size and they’re what I use daily.
If you get one, consider going up a size from your normal puzzle range, so that you have extra space on the sides to put loose pieces. The Puzzle Board 1000, for example, accomodates a 1000 piece puzzle without much border left around the edges, but the Puzzle Board 1500 has room for the 1000 piece puzzle and space around it for loose pieces, as shown in the image above with the cottage puzzle (that is a 1000 piece Ravensburger puzzle on a Puzzle Board 1500).
Puzzle Safe by Jigthings
I only recently got this, and I’m already in love with it!
I previous have used Ravensburger’s blue little ‘puzz sort’ trays, but they are small enough that you can’t really put pieces face up in them — they’re only good for a preliminary sorting. And when you take pieces out of the trays, you have to dump the trays upside down or pick up each piece individually.
I decided to try the Puzzle Safe for two reasons–one, it will hold all the pieces in a 1000 piece puzzle turned face up. Secondly, the boxes come with an insert so that when you’re ready to transfer the pieces to your puzzle table, you can just lift up the insert and slide the pieces right onto your table and keep them face up and oganized. It’s nice to only have to turn pieces face up one time!
For a long time, my standard MO was to separate out just the edge pieces, do the edge, and then keep the rest of the pieces in a jumble in the box and just sort through by hand and pick out pieces with the color/pattern I was working on next. I’ve found, though, that it’s not that much more work to layout the pieces face up at the start, separating them into the boxes based on broad color groups or textures. After that, it’s painless to move through the entire puzzle without any more digging around or turning pieces over — EVER!
So! This Puzzle Safe is very much recommended. I also like the fact that it stacks neatly and has a lid, so when I’m done with a puzzle for the night, I can quickly pack up the loose pieces to make sure none get lost or stolen by precocious pets.
NOTE: I’ve pimped two Jigthings products here, because they’re the best. I don’t work for Jigthings nor do I get any commission. They’re a company made by long time jigsaw fans and they really know what works!