Once you finish your puzzles, you might want to show them off. If you are looking to display your puzzles as art, mounting them is a great way to show them off. While you can mount a puzzle that isn’t already glued together, it will make the mounting process a lot harder. The preferred method is to glue your puzzle first and then mount it to a backer. To learn how to glue your puzzle check out this post.
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1. Backing material. Make sure your backer is slightly larger than your puzzle. I like foam board, but you could use cardboard, wood or MDF if you so choose.
2. Spray Adhesive. Using liquid glue for this process is not recommended as it may cause bubbles or warping.
3. Craft Knife. I suggest using an x-acto type knife for this process as scissors or a dull knife could give you an unattractive edge.
4. Straight Edge/Square (optional). I strongly suggest using a straight edge for this project, but if you have a steady hand and some experience cutting straight lines you might be able to do without.
Step 1: Outline Your Puzzle.
Lay your puzzle on the backer board and make an outline around it. If you don’t mind seeing the backer board around your puzzle you can simply use this outline to make your cuts. I like to go about 1/8th of an inch in from this line so that the puzzle will be slightly larger than the backer. This way the backer is completely hidden.
Step 2: Make your cuts.
Make sure that you have something underneath your backer so that you don’t ruin your table. This step is pretty simple: using your straight edge, carefully cut along the outlines you drew in step 1.
Step 3: Prep your puzzle.
There are two schools of thought; you either glue the puzzle to the board, or the board to the puzzle. Personally, I prefer to glue the board to the puzzle because the board is sturdy and easy to line up with the corners of the puzzle. Lay out two pieces of cardboard, one for your puzzle and one for your backer. Lay your puzzle face down on one piece of the cardboard and place the backer on top of the back. If your backer board is slightly smaller than your puzzle(as suggested above), make a small mark on the back of your puzzle where the corners of the board line up. This will help you to center the board properly in the next step.
Step 4: Glue your board to the puzzle.
This step is the most complicated but don’t be nervous, if you are following along you will get it right every time. If you have a spouse/neighbor/friendly stranger to help you, this would be a good time to phone a friend. Make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area before you start using your spray glue. I lay out cardboard in the garage and do my gluing there (just watch out for dust).
You will want to start with your puzzle face down on one piece of the cardboard and your backer board on the other piece. You will spray the glue onto the backer board. Follow the directions on your glue bottle, but generally you will want to hold the can at a 45-degree angle and use short sprays (2-3 seconds each). Spray an even coat all over the backer board ensuring it is completely covered.
Once the board is covered you are going to flip it over and line two of the corners up with the marks you made on the back of the puzzle. Slowly lower the backer onto your puzzle ensuring the corners stay lined up.
Step 5. Flatten the puzzle/backer.
Using adequate pressure, push down the entire board onto the back of the puzzle. You can use a rolling pin or a piece of wood for this step but ensure you press down completely. If you have a piece of plywood that fits over the entire puzzle you could add weights and allow it to dry with pressure on it. You can also use books or anything else that is flat and weighs a lot. The glue will dry pretty fast, but I would suggest giving it a couple hours before you move anything.
You're done. Now you just have to find a spot to display it!