How To Make A Replacement Puzzle Piece If One Goes Missing  The Missing Piece Puzzle Company
June 13, 2023

How To: A Guide to Crafting a Replacement Puzzle Piece

Imagine yourself at a swap meet or thrift store when suddenly you see what you consider to be The Holy Grail of puzzling.  What an amazing, fun, and invigorating feeling and you know that you just have to have it.  You speedwalk home and go to your puzzling area where this work of art will begin. 

With building anticipation, you take it out of the box, flip all of the pieces over, sort, and do all of your puzzle rituals, all the while savoring the time that you have while you assemble your masterpiece. 

 

Time escapes you, as you've made so much progress assembling this masterpiece that you've lost sleep knowing that you are only another hour away from completing this baby.  There's no stopping you now.

Suddenly, it hits you.... there are missing pieces to your favorite puzzle!  Disappointment, frustration, anger possibly, and just losing faith in completing the puzzle you've longed for half of your life are your current feelings.  With a perplexed look, you wonder what is to become of this elusive masterpiece.

Do you take it apart and discard it?  Do you toss it into the box haphazardly and never look at it again?  Or do you frame the puzzle with the missing pieces showing for all to see? 

This is a common problem in the world of puzzling, one that can make or break the puzzling experience.  We can help.

What to do when you have a missing piece to your puzzle.  How to make a replacement jigsaw puzzle piece.

Completing a jigsaw puzzle can be an incredibly satisfying experience, but it can be frustrating when a piece goes missing. The good news is that with a little creativity and some basic materials, you can make a replacement puzzle piece and restore your puzzle to its former glory. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of crafting a replacement piece, allowing you to enjoy the satisfaction of finishing your puzzle.

Cutting Puzzle Board To Make A Missing Piece For A Puzzle

  • Finding materials that match the puzzle materials is important.  Take note of the thickness of the puzzle board and try to find some that match the thickness of the puzzle that you have.  We offer a replacement piece materials on our site that may help.  While our puzzles are generally thicker than most companies, you can slice the pieces to size with a craft knife.  If you have purchased a puzzle that was produced overseas, chances are that you will need thin materials.  Please make a note with your order if this is the case so that we can source thinner materials for you.
  • When replacing the missing piece, assemble the surrounding pieces so that you can outline the shape of the missing piece.  Once assembled, you can easily trace the area of the missing piece carefully with a pencil. 
  • Conserve your materials just in case the piece is too small.  You want a tight fit.
  • Cut the piece with a craft knife (carefully, as they are sharp) or with scissors.  

Adding A Photo To Your Missing Piece Replacement

Now comes the fun part - recreating the design of the missing puzzle piece. Examine the adjacent pieces to identify the colors and patterns that should be present on your replacement piece. You can use acrylic paint or markers to recreate the design. Take it slowly and make sure to match the colors as closely as possible. If necessary, you can mix different colors to achieve the desired shade. This part is critical for success, so please take your time.   Some PRO TIPS to help you before you begin.   

PRO TIP #1:  Printing on photo paper or cardstock will give you a better quality of the image. 

PRO TIP #2:  It's helpful to print a few copies just in case your scissor skills aren't sharp.

  • If the piece that you are missing is not a key piece in the puzzle, i.e. sky or grass, you are in luck!  You can either draw the piece or scan the image from the box into your computer and enlarge the area to print. This should give you a similar color and texture to match your puzzle. 
  • If you cannot print the image, draw with colored pencils and match the colors to the surrounding pieces as best as possible.  
  • If your missing piece is a key piece, such as a face or center section, having the piece drawn either professionally or semi-professionally might be your best bet.  I've had customers use the services of local schools, whether art schools or your local high-school or college art department, as they are usually incredibly helpful and may have the proper materials to get you going.  
  • Hiring a graphic designer might be necessary if your piece is a key piece.  Assembling the pieces surrounding your missing piece will be helpful to the graphic artist in recreating the piece.  You can easily hire a graphic artist through sites like Fiverr.com at very affordable costs.  (I am an affiliate and this is my affiliate link.)  I love them...
  • Trace the image to the size of your cut cardboard.  It's helpful to first trace the cardboard piece onto the image making sure that the cardboard piece is facing in the proper direction before starting.
  • Contact a local college or high school art department!  I've found that they are more than willing to help.  You will need to provide the materials and the surrounding pieces for an exact fit, but if it is a key piece that is missing, this is a very viable option.

Adhering The Image To The Cardboard:  Finishing Touches

You've weathered the tough parts of the project and now it's time to adhere the image to the cardboard.  Using a glue stick to control the amount of glue can be a lifesaver at this point. 

  • Allow the paint to dry completely before proceeding. Once the paint is dry, compare the replacement piece to the adjacent puzzle pieces and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a seamless fit. You may need to trim or shape the edges of the replacement piece to achieve a perfect match.
  • Lightly add glue to the cardboard while making sure that the piece is covered completely.  It's helpful not to add a large amount of glue but to ensure that all parts of the image have adhered to the cardboard.  Using tweezers to adjust the image to where you need it will help in this process.  Be quick, as the glue tends to dry fast!


Attaching Your Piece

Once you are satisfied with the replacement piece, carefully place it in the vacant spot in the puzzle. Test the fit to ensure it aligns correctly with the surrounding pieces. If needed, use clear adhesive tape or glue to secure the replacement piece in place. Be sure to use a minimal amount of adhesive to avoid altering the appearance of the puzzle.

Enjoy Your Restored Puzzle

Congratulations! You have successfully crafted a replacement puzzle piece and restored your puzzle to completeness. Take a step back, admire your handiwork, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing your puzzle.

You've completed your first project and can now enjoy your masterpiece.  Who knows, you might just become a Puzzle Doctor of sorts for any missing piece puzzles you come across.   Local libraries are always searching for volunteers to help with donated puzzles, as they sell them to help with their budget.

There are just a few companies that focus solely on making missing pieces for puzzles but they are very costly, oftentimes more expensive than the original purchase price for just one piece. Having the knowledge to make your own replacement piece for a puzzle opens up a whole new world of buying puzzles at Thrift Shops.

Losing a puzzle piece can be disheartening, but with a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can create a replacement piece and salvage your puzzle. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll be able to craft a replacement piece that blends seamlessly with the existing puzzle. Remember, the key is to be patient, pay attention to detail, and have fun throughout the process. Happy puzzling!

We'd love to hear your creative answers to making a missing puzzle piece.  Drop us a comment with your tips and tricks. 

#puzzleonpuzzlers

Donna Brown, Puzzle Queen

The Missing Piece Puzzle Company

www.themissingpiecepuzzle.com