How To Frame a Puzzle Without Glue

How To Frame a Puzzle Without Glue

Last week, I glued a 500-piece puzzle, placed it into a frame, and hung it on my bedroom’s wall as a decoration. After finishing the said puzzle, all that satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment put me in such a great mood. But a few days after, a sense of regret suddenly hit me; I realized that the 500-piece puzzle would remain glued forever.

What if I wanted to break it down so I could rebuild it again? What if I wanted to let others play with the puzzle too? Is there even a way to frame a puzzle without using glue?

How to frame a puzzle without glue

Yes, you can frame a puzzle without using glue or any adhesives at all. Simply place down a large cardboard and build your puzzle on it. After completing the puzzle, take its dimensions and search for the perfect frame.

Carefully place it into the frame you bought, and now you have framed your puzzle successfully! Of course, some pieces will fall off along the way, and things won’t go as smooth as when using any fixative, but at least you don’t get glue onto your precious puzzle.

If you are okay with using adhesives as long as it is not glue, then you can make use of Puzzle Presto’s Puzzle Saver or your preferred roll of tape. Just flip your puzzle backside up, apply your adhesive of choice, flip it again, and take note of its measurements.

Then you should find the correctly-sized frame, gently place it in, and voila, your puzzle is framed and ready to be displayed for all to see!

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How should I start working on a puzzle?

Before you do anything else, make room for your work area that’s large enough to accommodate the puzzle pieces. A helpful tip would be to place something underneath your puzzle to lift it away from the surface.

The cover can extend a few inches beyond the finished puzzle’s size. Cardboard and poster board are excellent for the role because both are not hard to find and are also relatively cheap. Moreover, their rigidity will be important later when you flip the puzzle.

You’ll most likely need to flip the puzzle whether you’re using tape, peels, or nothing at all.

However, if you’re reading this with your puzzle lying on the floor, already completed, don’t fret! There are still ways on how to place a board below your puzzle safely. You’ll probably lose a couple of pieces, but that’s fine.

Firstly, if it’s on a table or something elevated, you can try to slide the whole puzzle carefully onto a piece of board larger than the puzzle itself. If it’s on the floor or there’s no way to slide it onto a different surface, then you can try sliding a thin cover — such as wax paper or parchment paper — underneath while lifting the puzzle very slightly and gently. 

When the puzzle is on the paper, you can then place a board on top of it, flip all of them together as fast yet gently as you can, and replace the paper with a sturdier board of your choice. Flip it back up, and you now have a board underneath the puzzle. 

Make sure that the puzzle’s surface is free from any dust and dirt; this will ensure that you don’t frame a spotted and smudged puzzle. Then, start making the puzzle as flat as you can. You can use a rolling pin or anything round, such as a can, to flatten the puzzle.

Do not skip this step if you don’t want your puzzle to look curved and warped later on. You could individually press down the pieces sticking out, but that often causes previously flat adjacent pieces to stick back out. 

How do I keep my puzzle together without using glue?

There are a lot of guides on the internet that teach you how to frame a puzzle, but most of them involve using glue. But what if you don’t want to use glue? There can be a lot of reasons for avoiding glue — maybe you hate how messy it can get, you don’t want to keep the puzzle pieced forever, or you just don’t want to add a finishing layer to it.

Whatever your reasoning is, here are the other options you can explore for framing your beloved puzzle.

If you don’t want to use anything on the puzzle, you should start measuring the length, width, and thickness of your puzzle. These dimensions will be your guide to picking the right frame.

If you don’t want glue but are okay with other adhesives, then you can opt for either a roll of your favorite tape or Puzzle Presto’s Peel and Stick Puzzle Saver. If you’re using tape, keep in mind that some tapes are acidic, causing degradation and yellowing as time passes. Japanese paper tape, or any archival tape, would be the best tape to use for this project.

Because the adhesive should be applied to the backside of your puzzle, begin by carefully flipping it over. Assuming you have a cover below your puzzle already, simply place another piece of cardboard or poster board on top of it. Next, flip the puzzle over and remove the piece of board currently on top of the puzzle’s backside. 

Before flipping your puzzle over, you can clip the boards together and hold the puzzle in place if you want more security. You can also ask for your friend’s or family member’s help if your puzzle is on the larger side.

Next, if you’re using Puzzle Saver, it’s a good idea to try laying out the placement for your sheets before applying them. Large overlaps won’t cause any problems; it actually helps with the integrity of your puzzle. In the directions, you’ll also see that extending the adhesive sheets beyond the puzzle’s edge is not advisable. Rather, you should place the adhesive sheets’ edges about an eighth of an inch away from the edges of the puzzle.

If you’re using tape, make sure that it’s at least 2 inches wide or wider. Slightly overlapping the strips when using tape is also a wise decision as it makes the structure more secure.

How do I mount a puzzle onto a frame?

Placing the puzzle into your frame will be pretty tricky if you didn’t use any adhesive. If you’re using a frame with detachable sides, simply transfer the puzzle on top of the backing board, place the transparent plastic on top, remove the protective sheet, and carefully slide the frames in. 

You’ll need some strength when sliding the frames because of the thickness, but you also have to be careful not to use too much force. You may also have to adjust the puzzle and plastic from time to time.

There are also frames where you can just place the puzzle on the backing board and press down the frame part onto it. Then you can secure the backing board’s back by straightening the flexible locks attached to the frame part

If you used peels or tape, it would be easier to slip the puzzle into the frame. Simply repeat the steps above if you’re using the slide-on frames. If you can’t get it to fit within the said frames, you can try using a box frame. A box frame can accommodate more thickness, and it removes the struggle of sliding in detachable frames. You may also use a shadow box frame, but note that it will cast a moody shadow on your puzzle, as its name suggests.

This guide’s existence proves the fact that there is a way to frame a puzzle without glue. Either you can use other forms of adhesives or nothing at all. Now that you can frame a puzzle without keeping it complete forever, you can now enjoy your piece of art whenever you want to. 

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