Tuesday, March 12, 2013

6 Tips for Decorating with Puzzles

Chalisbury All Soul's Fair, heading up the
stairs in our house.
I have been working pretty diligently on decorating my home. I've bounced around from house to apartment, east coast to west coast so much in the last few years, that now that I finally have a home, I'm making it ours. My budget isn't extravagant, which means thinking outside the box for many decorating ideas and many trips to yard sales, Goodwill and thrift stores.

Hubby and I love doing puzzles, and got into a habit of gluing each puzzle when we were done, leaving us with a huge stack of glued puzzles. He pitched the idea to me that we frame the completed puzzles and hang them up on the walls.

Immediately, 2 thoughts rushed into my head.

  1. This was an amazing idea. Beautiful art adorning the walls of our home, and when you look closely you see that they are puzzles, which means we put time and effort into them and just didn't pick them off of a shelf of an art store somewhere. Inexpensive, too, as we have already bought the puzzle, now we just needed frames.
  2. This idea was absolutely horrible, and people would look at the puzzles on the wall and think, "Hmmm... they didn't want to put forth the money to actually decorate their home, so they put puzzles up everywhere."

I was seriously scared to go along with the plan. Michael's craft store edged me forward when they put all of their poster frames on sale, Buy 1 Get 1 Free. We stocked up and put our plan into action.

The result so far has been amazing. When people come into our home and see them up, they are reacting in a way of, "Holy crap, those are puzzles. That's awesome!" rather than "Wow. Puzzles. Interesting." And it motivates Hubby and I to get puzzles done, glued and framed, and we even turn it into a family event.

6 Tips for Decorating with Puzzles

There are several tips you should keep in mind when wanting to decorate with puzzles:

1. Don't buy cheap frames. I'm talking about the 'poster' frames where all 4 sides come off and you have
to snap them onto the sides of the picture. Those are cheap, and they look cheap. I think we were able to achieve puzzle-to-art status in our home because we bought frames that didn't look like crap. We have been sticking to the ones from Michael's that run about $25 each, but they always have them on at least a 40% off sale. They are plastic frames, but they are what fit into our budget, don't look cheap, and are available in abundance for us.  

2. Don't frame every puzzle you own. There are puzzles you frame and puzzles you don't. Hubby and I had to weed through all of the puzzles we had completed and glued to figure out which were appropriate decor for our home, which would go in the kids' rooms and which were going into the garage to decorate our home gym. The Darth Vader puzzle we did was fun to put together, but let's face it- do you want him hanging above your sofa? Most of us would say no. If you start to put every single puzzle you've put together on the walls of your home, and there is no theme, it will look like you put up puzzles all over your house with no theme. Our front room has fantasy puzzles, our kitchen has kitchen-themed puzzles, up the stairs we have imagination puzzles and in the future Disney Fine Art puzzles, and our bathroom has puzzles where the scenes are made up of miniature items (see picture). Darth Vader, the puppies who tipped over the paint can, the underwater ocean scene and the huge weird-shaped dragon all found homes in the kids' rooms.

Close Up of miniature items puzzles in our bathroom.

3. Don't use actual puzzle glue. If you are going to go all the way with decorating with puzzles, then don't bother with the puzzle glue found near the puzzles. Head straight for Modge Podge (or another brand of decoupaging glue). It's more economical to just buy a big container of that, and it's better than that little tube of puzzle glue. And be sure to glue the front and the back of the puzzle for extra sturdiness.

4. Keep these general measurements in mind for ease of frame buying: A 500 piece puzzle is usually 18"x24" in size, and a 1000 piece puzzle is usually 20"x28" in size. Now, these are general sizes. Please check your puzzle box or measure your puzzle before buying a frame.

Puzzles above doors and windows.
5. Think outside the box when it comes to where to place your puzzles. We started to run out of traditional wall space when it finally came time to hang our puzzles, so we had to think outside of the box. We tried putting puzzles above doors and windows, and LOVED the way it looked. We don't adorn every single door and window in the house, but so far it looks amazing when we do place one that high. We also never thought of actually decorating our bathroom, but upon acquiring a cabinet from a thrift store at an amazing cost and having nowhere to put it but the bathroom, we realized that the bathroom was an untapped resource for hanging artsy puzzles that we hadn't originally thought of. Don't forget about stairwells, above the cabinets or stove in the kitchen or even in a screened-in back porch. 

Lynn Lupetti collection
6. Buy sets of puzzles for more dramatic effect. Many artists submit multiple like-themed art pieces to be made into puzzles. The 2 puzzles currently hanging in our stairwell are a part of a 3 puzzle series by artist Lynn Lupetti. We fell in love with the artwork, so we bought the entire set. At the time this picture was taken, we were working on the Chalisbury All Soul's Fair (seen above), so we hadn't yet put together the third puzzle in the series, but as you can see, we left a spot for it just above the bottom puzzle and to the right of the sandcastle one in the top left corner (click the image to make it larger). 

For us, decorating with puzzles turned out to be an amazing home decor trick. The puzzles we generally buy run about $10 each (unless you buy a German-made Chalisbury All Soul's Fair for $50 off of Amazon... Hubby...), and the frames (on sale) run about $15, so for $25 you have a piece of art that you put time, effort and maybe even some family time into. It's a win-win for us!



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16 comments:

  1. Tag your it! I just tagged you in my latest post, and the blogger game Who Are You? Check it out at http://wildwonderfulgingerssnaps.blogspot.com/2013/03/who-are-you-gametag-im-it.html -Ginger

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  2. Awesome! I have tons of Mod podge too!

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    1. Woo Hoo! Glue some puzzles, or glue things to canvas like I do. I consider that art, lol. ;)

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  3. I was a little leary when I saw the title of this post, but your puzzles actually look really fuckin cool. High five, sista!

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  4. Please please tell me hooked rugs are cool too because I have sh@t ton of them that I made during my last pregnancy and no idea what to do with them. You are seriously my idol when it comes to home decor since our tastes seem to run the same lines!

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    1. Hooked rugs are awesome! LOL. Thank you, girlie. I'll be doing another decorating post here soon, of all of my thrift store and budget decorating I've done in the last few months! ;)

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  5. Well. You have OFFICIALLY sparked my interest! I have been looking for something for my husband and I to do together and I do believe this is it! So, now that I know I can decorate with them, all I have to do is find super cool artsy puzzles!!! FUN! I am actually waaaaaay too excited about this ;)

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    1. Yay!! I definitely recommend the Lynn Lupetti line, and there are some others made by that company that are gorgeous as well. Good luck! I'm glad I inspired!

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  6. Oh those are all wonderful! I really love the All Souls Fair! I enjoy putting together puzzles too, and think they make great artwork. I loved this post!

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    1. Thank you! While I cussed Hubby for actually having bought that one from Germany, it has turned out to be my favorite, so all is good. =)

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  7. I'm glad to see I am not the only one who has put puzzles on their walls. I have about 5 scenic ones I put up in frames. (the 6th one has not been completed yet) They were an odd size 20x20 but I found frames at Walmart and they happen to be on sale when I went.

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  8. I want to do this. I have lots of puzzles, small and large. Looks like this will be my next project. Thanks for the heads-up about the puzzle glue.

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  9. This is great! Thank you for writing this. This is exactly what my store on Etsy, Premium Puzzles, is all about! I mainly do 3000 piece puzzles. I got 3 of them professional framed and they came out spectacularly! So amazing in fact I didn't want to hoard such amazing art, keeping it to myself. That is why I decided to sell them, thus Premium Puzzles was born. I hope more people take your advice and decorate their homes and offices with puzzles too. ^^

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  10. How do the bathroom puzzles do with the humidity? I have a beautiful dolphin puzzle with sentimental value I want to put up in our ocean themed bathroom.

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    1. We only have puzzles in our half bath, with no tub or shower, so I'm not sure. =( A good frame should help, though, right? Lol.

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