Where Do You Puzzle?

Do you have a special place to work on your puzzles? Do you have a puzzle board that’s exclusively for you or do you have to take over the dining room table from time to time? Do you work only in one place or do you roam the house and puzzle all over?

I’m always interested in how others get their jig on, so to speak.

When this post starting forming in my brain it had me thinking about how my Grama (who instilled in me my love for jigsaw puzzles) used to work on her puzzles, and I’m amazed at where she chose to puzzle. She always sat in “her” chair in the living room and used a huge piece of cardboard that she placed on the big footstool in front of the chair. Thinking about how much leaning over that required, I’m stunned she didn’t develop back problems. When my sisters and I would spend the night at her house there were many times when we went to bed and Gram was working on a puzzle; when we got up in the morning she was still sitting there in her pajamas in front of the board and the puzzle was much closer to completion. I used to think to myself that I couldn’t wait to be a grownup so I could stay up all night if I wanted to and work on puzzles. (I have done so on several occasions, and it is very nice not to have to answer to anyone about my bedtime, that’s for sure.😉)

Mom used a big sheet of white board paneling, cut down to a manageable size, that my dad bought from the hardware store. When she was working on a puzzle she’d put it on top of her big table in the office (it had plenty of room for us to sit side by side and puzzle together when I visited), and when she needed the table for other things she’d just pick up the board and set it on the day bed. She also worked late into the night on puzzles, especially if we hadn’t finished a puzzle on one of our Friday visit days. She’d text me a picture of the finished image and say something like “worked on this one till 3 am, but we finally got it done!”.

I have several boards and have both a dedicated room where I work on my puzzles, and extra boards and trays so that if need be I can work on larger and smaller puzzles in other rooms of the house. My main boards were made by hubby, my mom, and me – it was definitely a team effort.

My fantastic husband helped me to make a board to work the giant 40,320 piece Disney puzzle, measuring 5 feet by 4 feet, plenty of room for each section to be completed.  Mom and I found some gorgeous suede-like fabric on clearance at Joann Fabrics that was perfect for the cover.  I purchased enough material to cover a smaller board (4′ x 3′) and 2 large boards (5’x 4′) for about $12.  We bought a 4′ x 8′ sheet of sub-flooring (luan) for about $13, and cut it into the 2 sizes I wanted.  Mom and I then glued the material on the boards and for about $25 total I have two beautiful jigsaw boards, and they are extremely nice for working puzzles. The fabric makes it so the pieces don’t slip around easily and the color makes a nice background contrast so the pieces are easier to see.

The smaller board fits puzzles up to approximately 3000 pieces and is the main one in use.  The larger one was primarily for my Disney monster, but is also needed for some bigger piece count puzzles I still have to get to. Plus I have a white board (dry erase) that I use when working on larger puzzles in bed, and various other boards that can be put to good puzzle use if need be. And let’s not forget my paper-lined cookie sheets that I use for our bathroom puzzles and for working on small puzzles in bed. 🛌🧩

Well, that’s where and how three generations of women in my family got/get their jig on. I’m certain most people’s homes aren’t as crazy with so many boards and places to work on jigsaw puzzles as mine is, but I’d love to hear where and how you puzzle.

29 thoughts on “Where Do You Puzzle?

  1. What a fantastic post, Stacey! I loved reading it. I dont actually know how to take a pic and insert it in my comment to show some of my various boards so I will have to stick with just telling you.

    1. I have a bunch of white and black foam boards that are 24×30 from the Dollar Store. I don’t use these a lot, but I have worked 500 – 1000 piece puzzles on them. I also sometimes use them as piece holding boards, but the material on top is slick enough that I cant put pieces too close to the edge or they might fall off.

    2. I have about 50 corregated sheets that are 24×34 I think. These I bought specifically to do the 42k Around the World puzzle on as each board is large enough to hold one 1,000 piece subsection of each 6,000 piece bagged section. So I have 42 of those stacked and ready to go when I start working that puzzle again soon. They are super thin so dont take a lot of space.

    3. I have my biggest board upstairs in my office. I have been using it for last three years as a desk until my office got rennovated. So after this weekend, I will have my big MDF puzzle board again. I cannot wait! That one is large enough to hold a 6000 piece puzzle or section for the mega puzzles.

    4. You gave me the idea for my two fabric covered boards. So I have two blue faux suede boards that hold 2000 pieces each. And the piece of luan I got gave me one more board as well, but it is not covered. I use these quite a bit too.

    5. When I first started sorting Around the World, I thought I would get some lightweight cork boards to do each subsection in. Well the cork boards while light, took up more space than I thought and they did not fit well on my storage shelving unit where I wanted to place them when not working. Besides, I would have needed 42 of them and spending $420 on boards seemed a bit ridonkulous since they were 2 inches thick each. LOL. So i ended up stopping at 4 of them, but plan to use them to lay out pieces for Around the World once office / puzzle room is ready to go. They are great since they have a lipped edge and pieces won’t fall off.

    6. I also have a few various sized eucaboards for puzzling. They are super thin and really smooth on one side. Pieces do slide easily, but I have a couple of large boards that I think will hold at least 4 – 5k puzzles. And then some small 1,000 piece max sized boards of this same material that I can use for holding pieces.

    7. Last, but not least — I have a bunch of cafeteria trays and vencer sorting trays that I use for sorting and holding pieces. Also, some plastic 5-compartment chip n dip trays from the dollar store. I use all of these a lot.

    Whew, I just wore my fingers out from all this typing! Oh wait….did you want the short version?!! ROTFL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Penny, thank you for what must surely be the longest comment in the history of My Jigsaw Journal!

      And here I thought all my different boards and places to puzzle was a little bit out of control, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one that obsessed with puzzling!

      Now, what is a “eucaboard”? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it.

      I know we only live an hour or so away from each other, and now I may have to take a day trip to your neck of the woods and come see all your puzzles and boards in person!

      Thanks so much for replying, I love hearing how other people work on their puzzles – I guess I just love ALL things puzzle! 😍🧩


      1. Thanks Stacey! And absolutely you are welcome to come over any time after I get the puzzle room set up! In fact, I would absolutely LOVE that! LOL. It should be within the next couple of weeks hopefully.

        Okay — eucaboard. That is what they call it at Home Dept. Have not seen it at Lowe’s though. But it is may 1/8th inch thick and super smooth on the top side so no splibtering or anything. It also comes in 4 x 8 ft sheets, but then lumber dept will cut down to whatever size you want.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So eucaboard is basically like our luan boards, just thinner? Very cool!

        I will definitely take you up on your offer for a visit – hopefully very soon. We could make a day of it and work on a puzzle or two! 🚗


  2. Tayo G

    Enjoyed reading how you and your family have puzzled over the years.

    Well I’m a first generation puzzler😉
    I dont have a dedicated room for puzzling. I hope to some day.
    I have a puzzle board that a local carpenter made for me awhile back. It’s made of wood and can hold a 1000 pcs ravensburger puzzle comfortably with some little room by the sides. So I move it to the dining table when I work on a puzzle and when I’m done I cover it up and slide it under the couch. Its a bit on the heavy side so I dont use it often.

    I mainly use cardboard sheets now since they are lightweight.
    I went to the local market and got a huge cardboard box and cut it along the edges. One just about holds a 1000pcs Ravensburger and the other is much bigger and can hold a 1500 piece puzzle.
    The only snag about the cardboard sheets is storage.When I’m working on a puzzle and I have to put it away it goes on top of the refrigerator (which is not an aesthetic look I must say 😪). So it stays there in progress and sometimes for weeks till I have the heart to tear it apart and also after hubby has taken cool jigsaw pictures.
    I still have my crazy cats jigsaw ontop of the refrigerator and it’s been a few weeks I completed it.

    I also have a wobbly MDF sheet board. It’s not so sturdy and its gotten a bit warped over time.

    I use ravensburger sorting trays for sorting and also plastic food trays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I’m working on my white board in the bedroom I store it under the bed when it’s not in use, luckily it isn’t too heavy though.

      Do you have the sorting trays that are shaped like puzzle pieces? They always looked to me like it was wasting space in those little bits poking out. Just an observation, I’ve never used them before.

      Thanks Tayo!


      1. Tayo G

        Yes thats the one I have .
        The Ravensburger Sort and go.
        Well for a 1000 pc puzzle it’s a bit crowded at first but when the puzzle takes off a bit and you have lesser pieces it gets a bit roomy to search for pieces .I think they should have made them slightly larger.
        I don’t mind the shape🧩. I probably would like anything shaped like a puzzle piece.😊

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Tayo, have you tried one of these boards? They are very lightweight and portable. Holds up to 1500 pieces and can go under a sofa or bed easily. I bought one of these for one of my besties when she was having to stay i. The hospital for quote some time with her son. She loves it.

      Limited-time deal: Rekcopu 1500 Pieces Jigsaw Puzzle Board, Portable Puzzle Board, Jigsaw Puzzle Table Board, Puzzle Keeper Puzzle Caddy with Sorting Trays & Detachable Board,Non-Slip Surface, Medium https://a.co/d/51hplNT

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tayo G

        Im sorry I’m just replying you.Just got to checking the blog today.
        Thanks Penny for your suggestion.
        It’s a really lovely puzzle board. Maybe one day.
        I did a lot of research online before I finally opted for the options I use today.
        Cost was a major factor.
        Unfortunately due to my location shipping would be almost double or triple the cost of getting it and the exchange rate this days is crazy.
        Thank you all the same.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Tayo, there are cheap plastic cafeteria trays on Amazon that are bigger than the sort and go trays and they also stack well. I can usually lay out a 1000 piece puzzle using 3 trays and have pieces all facing up. They seel them in a 12 pack on Amazon. I love mine!

      Carlisle FoodService Products Cafe Plastic Fast Food Tray, 14″ x 18″, Black, (Pack of 12) https://a.co/d/aKssCsR

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Penny, it’s so sweet of you to suggest things to help; though I’m not sure what all is available to Tayo in Nigeria. And if they are something she can get, the shipping might be prohibitive.

        Still you’re a sweetie!


      2. Tayo G

        Those trays look pretty cool. I like them.
        It would just cost so so much to ship them over.
        You are so kind suggesting things to help.
        I really appreciate that.
        Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. kazzatheblankone

    When I was growing up our family did them on a card table and pieces always had to be found by rummaging in the box. It blew my mind about 15 years ago to see people spreading all the pieces out all over a table. So now my favourite place to do them is our big dining table. Sometimes with cardboard to lay out pieces by shape if it’s a larger or more complicated puzzle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy

    This is such an interesting post and I love all the clever responses!! I do all my puzzles on a wooden tray. It’s 17”x11.5”. Space is an issue for me because I’m planning to sell my home and move into a camper to travel for a while after I retire. So this tray helps me limit my puzzle accumulation because I can only purchase puzzles that fit on the tray. I can spread out all the pieces and assemble tiny puzzles on this tray. I do that “rummage through the box” method for puzzles that fill up more of the tray space. My largest puzzle is just 300 pieces. I do the same few puzzles over and over again… then I come here to see all of the amazing and clever puzzles out there! I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s responses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve enjoyed everyone’s responses as well. We’re all so different, but the same in that we love jigsaw puzzles of all shapes and sizes. 💚

      I’m stunned by your willpower to only buy puzzles of a certain size – that’s amazing! I have no willpower and if I love the image I buy first and figure out where to assemble later. LOL

      p.s. Are you healing up alright Nancy? I’m worrying about you.


      1. Nancy

        Oh you are so dear to ask after me when you are still freshly recovering yourself. I have graduated from cast on my whole hand and arm to a brace just on my hand, and I’ve started hand physical therapy. Hardware holds the bones in place so that I can remove the brace occasionally to try to get some hand movement back. I’m puzzling a lot these days to augment my therapy. My hand is clumsy but the puzzling feels so good for me. The emotional trauma is still intense, and puzzling helps both my body and my mind. I do plan to purchase a few new puzzles as a personal reward and for inspiration. I keep sending good thoughts for your healing, too, you are so special!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad puzzling is helpful for your hand therapy! I think you need to purchase more than “a few” new puzzles as a reward – but that’s just the PADS talking I suppose. I can imagine the emotional trauma will take quite a while to abate, it must have been terrible to be attacked like that. 😢

        Thanks for the good thoughts, they are very much appreciated. 💜


  5. I used to do puzzles on the floor, and I used old flowerpots for sorting big puzzles 🙂 About 20 years ago I started using sheets of cardboard and stopped sorting, instead just spreading out all the pieces. This way, I could puzzle anywhere, and I did quite a lot of puzzling in bed. Now I puzzle on the dining table, and for big puzzles, I still use sheets of cardboard to spread out the pieces on. I also have sheets of acrylic glass to put on top of the puzzle if I want to actually use the table for a meal.

    Liked by 1 person

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