Unsurprisingly the various lockdowns, shut downs, and various stay at home orders have caused craft sales to skyrocket, none more than puzzles with some companies doubling their yearly output!
Like others, I’ve been looking for soothing crafts and puzzles to fill the time. Though I love diamond paintings I also wanted something else to do in between each one. While the Instagram update has turned it into a store, I can’t mind when it did recommend a very cool puzzle shaped like an owl where each piece was a completely different shape!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the company again later and that set me on a search for a company that I could order one of these puzzles from quickly! Though not new in concept, I had never seen a puzzle like this. Sometimes called unique shaped puzzles, irregular shaped puzzles, or whimsy puzzles, each puzzle is made up of pieces that are all different shapes.
Whimsy puzzles are a link to Victorian puzzles where each piece was hand cut into whatever shape the Victorian puzzle cutter felt in the mood for and now companies will sometimes theme the puzzle pieces themselves to the puzzles. So a floral puzzle would include lots of leaves and flowers! Some companies go the extra mile and offer puzzles where a large portion of the pieces are the exact same shape making it more difficult to figure out which piece goes where.
My search led to me to two puzzle companies, and I’m reviewing Purfect Puzzles here, which so kindly sent me a kit to try for free.
Purfect Puzzles offers regular shaped puzzles in square and rectangle finishes as well as a number of animal shapes! I received a dragon kit which I was over the moon about because I love dragons. This one is in the larger size, approximately 15.4 by 11 inches which retails for $69.99.
The puzzle comes in a beautiful lasercut box with a reference image on the front and a piece of netted fabric to keep the pieces together inside. Since Purfect Puzzles uses birch plywood, the pieces smell lovely because they’re immediately packaged after the laser cutting machine is through with the pieces. They also don’t over package which is one of my pet peeves with online orders. The box came in a bubble wrap package and that was it!
At first I started separating pieces by color because there are no “corner” pieces. I have to admit it took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to remember that the dark black was the outline and I could create the exterior border first! Once I finished that, it was much easier to finish organizing the rest of the pieces and then work my way around the dragon section by section.
I didn’t time myself doing this puzzle since it was a multi day project but I would estimate it was ten hours total? I did binge a ton of Call the Midwife while I was doing it so was distracted quite a bit, hah.
Once the puzzle was done, I grabbed my Mod Podge gloss and brushed the gloss over the pieces section by section, making sure to hold the pieces together so they wouldn’t dry with any weird gaps.
Alas, I made a rookie mistake and forgot to move the piece of paper underneath so you can see where it got stuck. I also brushed mod podge over the backside and now it is ready to either hang up as is or in a frame once I decide how I’d like to show this beautiful work of art!
I completely understand why puzzles become popular when folks are stuck at home and during moments of instability, because like most soothing activities, it is something one can control and focus on instead of [waves hands at literally the whole world]. I’m super excited to embark on ordering more of these puzzles whether for myself or to make as gifts since framing them is super easy once they’re done.
The price may seem a bit high, but for the craftmanship and size, it’s a great price and compared to some other companies that I found, actually a bit on the lower end. Purfect Puzzles does offer puzzles at other prices, like this beautiful 3D puzzle of Cinderella’s famous pumpkin ride. Maybe it will be my next project…
Thank you again to Purfect Puzzles for the puzzle and images.
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