Free Pattern for Making Jigsaw Puzzles

By Linda Donahue
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Jigsaw puzzles have been a part of family entertainment for centuries. People enjoy working on puzzles alone or as part of a group. And in these modern times, you can still buy puzzles or you can do your puzzles on the computer. Computer-screen jigsaw puzzles work by moving images with the mouse. Free patterns and programs exist where you can turn computer images into puzzles or you can make a real puzzle.

Patterns for Jigsaw Puzzles

If you are making your own homemade jigsaw puzzle, you can find free clipart puzzle patterns to transfer, or print onto your puzzle image. You can print this on the back side if you do not want the lines to show up on the image. Of course, you can also draw your own puzzle shapes on the back side of your image, totally for free. To make your own design, start with a simple grid, drawn in pencil. Then, along each of the sides of a grid (except along the edges which remain flat) you'll add in a bump or rounded protrusion. For the grid that gets a protrusion, the adjacent grid will get a matching notch where the pieces fit. While drawing on the extension bumps, erase that part of the grid line to make it clearer when cutting out which line to follow.

You can also, for free, use software to take computer images and turn them into puzzles for solving on your computer. Be sure to check all the information as some downloaded puzzles are not free. But shareware and freeware puzzles exist. There is Jigsaw Car 6 and Everyday Jigsaw 1.3.6 to name a couple available online. Puzzle programs provide you with puzzles and can turn your digital photographs into puzzles. You can use any of these free puzzles as visual patterns for copying and making your own puzzles. Or you can take one of your puzzles at home and study its pieces for a pattern.

Most jigsaw puzzles have fairly regular pattern designs, almost like a math tessellation. That's why starting with a grid will help in creating your own free patterns. Technically, the pieces do not have to be of an even, overall size. You could make some columns or rows in the grid wider than others. You can make the various bumps in varying sizes. Furthermore, the bumps do not have to all be centered along an edge of the grid. Some can be higher than others or lower. Of course, the more irregular the pieces, the easier the puzzle. Likewise, the more similar the pieces, the harder the puzzle. Have fun and remember the point of the puzzle is to have fun. In making your own, you can have fun making the puzzle and then later in putting it together. Or perhaps your fun will come in the joy of giving your homemade puzzle as a gift.

About the Author

I teach belly dance classes and perform with a dance troupe. I also teach tai chi classes. I practice empty hand forms as well as weapon forms and have competed in tai chi competitions, earning a gold and three silver medals. I have also judged at tai chi tournaments. As an Air Force Brat, I grew up traveling and have lived overseas in Okinawa. I taught AP and IB computer science for 18 years and designed a CS III course that was the first (and to my knowledge) the only CS III course to receive Texas State accreditation.