If you are a jigsaw puzzle fan for sometime, I guess you have already asked yourself about the question below:
How does a jigsaw puzzle is made anyway?
In this blog article, I will show you what are the things I have learned about how does jigsaw puzzles are made. A general step-by-step procedure used by jigsaw puzzle companies is listed and described below to satisfy your curious mind.
STEPS IN JIGSAW PUZZLE MAKING
Here are the following steps in making a jigsaw puzzle.
STEP 01: DESIGN/LAYOUT
Choosing the image shown on the jigsaw puzzle is the first step in the process.
Now let me divide this step into two parts: the Artist work and the editing.
You may think that it is as easy as it sounds like but the reality it is not. In fact, some manufacturers hire their own artists to make designs for them.
Why do you think that is the case?
Well, because it does not only takes a creative person to make one but also a detail-oriented person, too!
According to what I have researched online, artists for jigsaw puzzles must always take into consideration which part of their artwork will be cut in the process.
Tiny details should be always put in mind if that would be awful or brilliant to look at after it is cut in process.
And that is not an easy task to do! They need to adjust their designs so that the tiny important details are precisely and accurately designed.
Next, after the artist has already decided on what artwork he or she would put on the jigsaw puzzle, scanning and editing of the image will take place.
We are now in the technological age, that is why it is not that hard to edit images in software on a laptop or a desktop computer. All it takes is the right knowledge, skills, and talent in computer image editing.
Some companies hire a different person who will do that for them. We can call them experts in image editing. But it would be better if the artist himself or herself would also be the same person to edit his or her artwork to know which is better.
But have you imagined what it is like way back then?
Well, in my opinion, it is not as accurate and precise as it was today. Technology really helped a lot in this for it increases the image quality of our jigsaw puzzles.
STEP 02: PRINTING
The second step in jigsaw puzzle is printing on the chosen canvas.
In this step, there are two important things that we need to know. Those are papers and printing techniques. Let us discuss each of it.
Prior to printing, manufacturers will carefully choose what paper should be used. The reason for that varies among company’s advocacy such as to ensure the quality of their products, or to promote an eco-friendly approach.
Now, there are several papers used by jigsaw puzzle companies to where they want to print their designs. Well, every paper is different in terms of its quality but the thing is, all of them are still paper, right?
Here, I have given two examples of papers used by some Jigsaw Puzzle companies.
- FSC paper – Gibsons
FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. FSC is a non-profit organization that aims to certify and ensure forest-based products are used in a well-managed environment. Meaning, the paper used by Gibsons is from forests that are well maintained and not harmfully used by humans.
- Linen-embossed paper – Ravensburger
Linen-embossed paper is a type of paper that resembles a cloth texture. This one is a sturdy, crisp type paper material that is not easily torn.
By the way, if you are interested in looking for what companies are making jigsaw puzzles for us, you may want to check on my other article for your reference. I have also included my chosen brands in that article based on the reviews I have gotten from my research across the internet to help you decide as well.
After choosing the right paper for the jigsaw puzzle, printing the design on it is next.
Now, I have research about two printing techniques that have been used for that. Those are lithographic printing and digital printing
- Lithographic printing
Back in the days where computers and other “advanced” technologies were not yet invented, lithographic printing was used to create multiple copies of artworks.
That is also the same printing technique used in creating copies of images in jigsaw puzzle making way back then.
This type of technique uses oil-based paint on the image drawn by an artist. Then, the image will be duplicated on paper by rolling an oil-based ink. This process involves a little bit of “science” in terms of how would that transferring of the image will work.
It is what they call “like dissolves like” in chemistry. This principle only indicates that the oil-based paint used by the artist will be attracted to the oil-based ink that will be used to produce a duplicate copy of the artwork.
On a plate (maybe a stone such as a limestone), an artist will draw an image of his or her artwork using oil-based paint. After that, chemicals will be poured on the material to make the drawn image stick on it properly. Then, water is added to the block plate used to ensure that the oil on the oil-based paint really sticks on it.
Lastly, duplication of the image will be done. This step needs rolling an oil-based ink on the block where the artwork was drawn and then putting a sheet of paper on the said image and then it will be placed under a huge pressing machine to produce a copy.
- Digital printing
Now, in the era of technology, some manufacturers use digital printing instead of lithographic one. This printing type requires software and computers to digitally print the artwork or image to be used in the jigsaw puzzle.
STEP 03: CUTTING
Once the image is properly printed on the chosen type of paper, cutting it into jigsaw puzzles pieces is next.
To elaborate things better, I have included three cutting techniques to make a jigsaw puzzle below:
Scroll Saw / jigsaw cutting method
Jigsaw is the cutting instrument that was used before when jigsaw puzzles are all made of wood. Because wood is a hard object, it needs sharp and sturdy cutting material for making jigsaw puzzle pieces as well. Nowadays, this instrument is not routinely used anymore for wood-type jigsaw puzzles are rare and are more expensive than paper ones.
Die cutting method
The die-cutting method is the most commonly used one in jigsaw puzzle manufacturing because of its cost-efficiency nowadays. It uses a razor-sharp steel rule die that is shaped into a jigsaw puzzle piece. Once the die (sharp cutting tool) is already shaped accordingly, it will then be put on a sturdy wooden board. After which, all images of the same sizes will be put under that and a die-cutting press will do the work on cutting all of them at once.
Laser cutting method is the advanced one among the three. It uses a computer-assisted machine to laser cut the image into different jigsaw puzzle pieces. Having said that, this method is quite expensive compared to the others I have mentioned but it gives more accuracy and precision in cutting each piece.
STEP 04: PACKAGING
The last step in jigsaw puzzle making is of course the packaging. Once the jigsaw puzzles are properly cut by the machine the next three steps below will be done. These are:
- Disassembling of jigsaw puzzle pieces
- Packing in plastic packages and putting inside a cardboard boxes
- Distribution to shops for selling
One unique feature of the packaging of jigsaw puzzles nowadays is that it includes the original image on the box itself. Before no guide pictures are given thus, it gives more thrill and challenge in completing one.
In conclusion, there are generally 4 steps in making jigsaw puzzles.
- Step 1 is Designing
- Step 2 is Printing
- Step 3 is Cutting
- Step 4 is Packaging.
It may seem easy on the first look but if we really check on each step, it needs precision and accuracy. Failure to do that in any steps will result in substandard product output.
Jigsaw puzzle making is an art as itself from the designing process up to the packaging process.
You know what, I am quite amazed that I have searched this topic out of curiosity when writing about the article on jigsaw puzzle companies.
If I have not wakened up my curiosity in this long-lost childhood hobby, I would not realize that not only the artists who make artworks and other designs for jigsaw puzzles take a big role in this but also those people who are involved in the cutting process as well!
You see, as I have mentioned above, the cutting tool for jigsaw puzzles known as die is also shaped accordingly.
Yes, you read it right my dear Puzzlers, this sharp cutting tool (die) is shaped! In short, it is customized as well. Meaning, not only the image on the jigsaw puzzle is the artwork itself but also the way it should be cut too! It is like sculpting a piece of art in a different manner.
All of the people in the manufacturing sites are demonstrating their “artistic” and creative sides. Indeed, this game is an art from the very beginning.
You know what, if I were gifted with a creative hand to draw and design things, maybe I would draw my own artwork to be printed on the jigsaw puzzle too! It would make me so proud to see myself achieve that. But I have no talent for creating “good” drawings. Maybe I can do an abstract if I would really be on to it? What do you think?
So, that is how a jigsaw puzzle are made, Puzzlers!
I hope you enjoy reading this one! You may share your thoughts on this one by commenting down below. I will gladly read and respond to you soon!