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Monday, January 19, 2015

Picture Puzzles

I came up with an easy and fun craft for Christmas presents this year. I even think the recipients really liked them! I admit to having made things that I loved making, only to realize that not everyone actually wanted them - oops.

I saw a backsplash made with 4 in ceramic tiles that had art work sealed onto them and that got me thinking about what else could go on tiles. Here is what I came up with:

Picture Puzzles! 

Look at those adorable kids!

We were at Lowe's a while back and I saw these tiles:

and they kind of struck me as something crafty, but I didn't really have any project in mind. Then I saw the backsplash project and something clicked.

  • Step 1: Get the backing and all the glue off the tiles.

There were two different types of glue on the back of the tiles, one was Elmers-y and came right off by rubbing or with the nail brush after a few minutes soaking in warm water. The other was more hot glue-y and was a pain in the butt to remove, a knife, patience, and very soggy fingers finally got it off. The packages of tiles looked identical so I couldn't find a way to tell which glue was used.

  • Step 2: Facebook stalk your recipients or find photos in a more conventional way. Print the pictures on regular paper, not photo paper or it won't adhere well. 
  • Step 3: Measure your tiles and crop your photos. My 1" tiles were actually 7/8" each. This is super important to get exact or your tile will show and the puzzle will look weird when assembled. Mine were mostly 4.4" square which is 25 tiles.
  • Step 4: After you measure, mark a piece of tape with the measurements to act as a guide on your paper cutter or on a piece of paper. We tried several ways of doing this, but I think the marks on the paper cutter worked best.


  •  Step 5: Mod Podge and then Mod Podge and then Mod Podge some more. If you hate brush strokes then lightly sand between each coat, but I don't mind them, so no sanding here. Use the Mod Podge to glue the individual squares to the tiles and then let it dry about an hour. Then start top coating. Let each layer dry most of a day (12-24 hours). I decided the magic number was 4 top coats and two on the sides.

  •  Step 6: If you are making 15 of these things, plan to have your table become craft central for a week or so. (The cups in the middle are bath salt scrubs for my Book/Wine club - epsom salt, baking soda, sea salt, coconut oil, lavender oil and a couple drops of food coloring)

  • Step 7: To be kind, make a copy of the photo to be used as a guide and number the back of each tile so they can be put back easily if you aren't in a puzzle doing mood.

Overall, this is an inexpensive and pretty low skill level project, the only hard part is being patient between coats.

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