A great gift for a jigsaw puzzler is a one-of-a-kind puzzle. I know this because I’ve given a few of these gifts and they are always a hit.
I’ve found 2 different companies that do a wonderful job at this, depending upon the price point and level of quality that you’re seeking.
Traditional Jigsaw Puzzles from Ravensburger
Ravensburger makes some of the nicest traditional jigsaw puzzles on the market. They vary their piece shapes, use good card stock, and have less puzzle dust than most of the jigsaw puzzles that have crossed my table. Also, I really like their trademark blue backings.
If you’d like to have Ravensburger make a custom puzzle for you, it’s easy.
They call them Custom Photo Puzzles. All that you have to do is:
- Take a good photo that is jigsaw puzzle-worthy. (I’ll talk about that at the bottom of this post.)
- Upload a photograph that’s at least 150 dpi to their website
- Select a size
- $27.92: 100-300 pieces, 19.5″ x 14.25″
- $31.92: 500 pieces, 19.5″ x 14.25″
- $35.92: 1000 pieces, 27″ x 20″
- $39.92: 1500 pieces, 31.5″ x 23.6″
- Pay and wait 1 to 2 weeks
The final product arrives in a beautiful tin with a sticker of the image on the outside.
Laser Cut Wood Puzzles from Liberty Puzzles
If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, Liberty Puzzles, the makers of fine laser-cut wood puzzles, also offers custom jigsaw puzzles… and they are gorgeous.
Like Ravensburger, Liberty Puzzles is easy to work with. All you have to do is:
- Take a quality, jigsaw puzzle worthy image
- Upload it as a jpg or gif (and I’d suggest 150 dpi as a minimum starting place for quality)
- Select a size:
- $130: Small – 9 x 13in., 225-250 pieces
- $160: Large – 13 x 17in., 425-500 pieces
- Pay and wait for delivery. Remember that Liberty Puzzles is a small business and they can become overrun during busy seasons. (This year they stopped selling custom puzzles in the middle of November, which is why this wasn’t on our 2019 holiday buyer’s guide.)
The final product looks just like any other puzzle from Liberty Puzzles. It will arrive in an elegant navy blue box with a sticker of the image. Within, you’ll find the wooden pieces neatly wrapped in tissue paper and smelling of burnt wood.
What Makes a Good Jigsaw Puzzle Image?
A few things come to mind:
- A good variety of colors and textures
- Sharp imagery. Blurriness isn’t great in a puzzle.
- Depth is really cool (if you can get it without too much blurriness). A pronounced foreground, middle, and background makes the puzzling experience far more interesting
- You own the image. The companies will send you packing if you submit an obviously copyrighted image. (The Jewel City art was in the public domain.)
- The image matters to the person who’s receiving it as a gift.
I usually use my own photography to create a custom puzzle. In one instance I used an illustration that’s in the public domain.