white puzzle piece on red textile

Playing jigsaw puzzles is a pastime that should be soothing, relaxing, and enjoyable, however, there are times that it makes us go nuts, irritated, and annoyed because of how difficult it is to put together. Why on Earth is it difficult to complete in the first place?

What makes a jigsaw puzzle difficult?

A jigsaw puzzle is difficult because of the factors on how it is made in the first place. The image printed on it, different colors and shades used, size, number of pieces, and even its shapes and cut all contribute to its level of difficulty.

I believe in the saying that, “Everything is hard before it gets easy”. It’s true in many aspects of life we look into, especially at the beginning of whatever we’re doing at the moment.

In jigsaw puzzling, the first part is always difficult. To add to the given point I said earlier, questions like how we should start, what to start with, how to go about it, and so on also play a role in making our playing time difficult.

I have an article about how you’ll finish a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle if you’re up to the challenge. I’ve given a realistic guide type of approach to make it enjoyable.

why are jigsaw puzzles difficult

1. Complex image

The more complex the image is, the more difficult it is to match each piece.

A complex image is a mixture of inter-connected but highly independent patterns in one whole image. When this picture is cut and disassemble, it’ll be difficult to connect it once again for there is no specific arrangement to where each piece should be put on.

The most complex images have many features containing different orientations of line strokes.

If you look closely at the image on the box, you’ll notice that the drawn image is literally in diverse one. Minimal consistencies are seen making it difficult to find the next one.

2. Color

Sometimes our basis in completing our puzzle is based on their color however, it’s not always the best practice for every puzzle you’ll buy.

The color of the image gives a challenging vibe in completing a puzzle as well. The shade, contrast, and even the color transition will give our eyes multiple blinks to reset our vision before we could figure out which piece should be put together.

Color shade and contract most often go hand-in-hand with the complex image. These two factors should evenly complement or blend with each other to make it more visually appealing, and at the same time, mind wrecking puzzle.

3. Size

They say, “one size fits all” but I respectfully disagree with that especially when it comes to playing jigsaw puzzles.

Any jigsaw puzzle size that goes beyond the standard size, gets difficult and challenging. May it be a little bit bigger or a little bit smaller than the normal ones, it will create a significant change in our playing experience because we adjust the way we handle each piece.

The size will dictate how agile you’ll be able to finish your work. If the puzzle you’re working on is too small, efforts should be exerted in your eyes to see the matching pieces. If it is too large, efforts should be on your hands and arms, literally to lift and combine them altogether appropriately.

4. Number of pieces

As the number of pieces increases, the level of difficulty follows.

When completing a jigsaw puzzle, the main source of the challenge comes from how many of it we need to match up. The more items we need to check on, the more time we need to look for its counterpart, the more effort we should give as well.

Another problem in this part is the missing pieces.

We’re already given a challenging task to complete a thousand pieces of it, but what is more frustrating than that is having missing parts of it without knowing about that in the first place.

You know, looking for that “missing part” somewhere in the pile of disassembled jigsaw puzzles already creates difficulty that is non-existent in the first place. Well, this part is inevitable because of some packaging errors in the factory.

5. Shapes and cut

Shapes and cuts of jigsaw puzzles always come side by side. The shape depends on whatever cut it made.

Oftentimes, we prefer not to look for the design on the box to challenge ourselves. We just do our own ways to solve it however, we tend to match incorrect pieces along the way because of misfitting pieces.

When different jigsaw puzzle pieces fit together, that’s when our challenge starts in puzzling. These “fitted” pieces that are totally different from each other in terms of other factors create confusion. This usually happens when you forcibly snap each of them while playing.


Any jigsaw puzzle is difficult depending on how complex the image is, its color combination, size, number of pieces, shapes, and cut. All of these factors contribute to how it is going to be easy or hard for any puzzlers.

These “difficult” factors may be irritating and annoying one way or the other but we can’t deny the fact that these are also the ones that bring a lot of satisfaction and joy once we learned how to beat them.

It’s only hard to begin with. The first trial is always the hardest. Beat it once then you’ll know you’re strong.

Ann, the late bloomer Puzzler.


Are you up to the puzzling challenge?

If so, check these puzzles on Amazon. I personally choose them for those puzzlers who wanted to exert some brain exercises at home. I hope you’ll enjoy playing one! Don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments below. Take care!

It’s Nutz and Bolts and Hardware

Candy Jigsaw Puzzle

Hubble Image of Carina Nebula


Hometown Gallery 1000

Lake Oeschinen, Alps, Switzerland

One Piece (Mosaic Art)

Coffee Beans/Grounds | Original Double-Sided Puzzle

Stamp Collector’s Collage

Puzzle Moon Cabin Retreat

DC Comics Puzzle Cast

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