Free Fun at Home: DIY 16-Piece Puzzle


I’m so glad that my little man loves puzzles. When we quietly work on one together, there is peace in our world. Puzzle-time is the next best thing to nap-time. Consequently, we have dozens of puzzles all over the house, waiting for a calm and collected child to enjoy them. We also have quite a few printed photos and postcards tucked in various envelopes, waiting to be neatly organized or framed. Typically, the calm child and the organized mom do not co-exist. But when they do, we try a new craft.

Making a popsicle stick puzzle took some time and patience. I will also admit, I went back over my son’s work and re-glued everything. Learn from our mistakes and you will be fine.

DIY 16-Piece Puzzle

* Collect your materials: 16 popsicle sticks, one photo, foam brush, utility knife, cutting surface, white glue, water, and a jar for homemade “Mod Podge”.

* Combine 1 part water and 1 part glue in a jar. Shake. Now you have mod podge.

* Line up 16 popsicle sticks. Brush the mod podge to the back of the photo and apply to the sticks. (This is the step where we failed miserably. We discovered later that we didn’t use enough mod podge and the sticks started coming off the photo. So use liberally.) 

* Decoupage (if we want to sound super fancy) the front of the photo with a liberal amount of mod podge. Before you cut, make sure it is dry dry dry. Again, if it’s still wet, your photo will move around and you will be frustrated. Turn over your puzzle and cut between the sticks. Make sure you cut on a surface designed for cutting. I used my fabric cutting board, but an old cardboard box or cutting board will do. 

* Now you have a 16-piece puzzle! But wait, there’s one more optional step. You can write the number “1”, the word “one” and draw one dot on the back of each stick. This will help with number and word recognition and will also keep your pieces organized if you make more puzzles. 

By Jeanne Schwarz.