DIY Foam Puzzle

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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In my head, I call this puzzle the "nap time" puzzle. For a few days after it was done, Ro would insist on taking it to bed with him. And with the colors, the theme, and the softness of the materials, I tell myself that it's a relaxing toy to take to bed. I could just imagine him slowly putting all of the pieces in, his eyes drooping closed.  In reality, he just runs over the puzzle pieces with cars. But I can dream, right?

Sticky Back Foam Sheet x3
Old Cereal Box (or another thin cardboard box)
Exacto Knife
Scrap Paper

This puzzle is incredibly easy to make. It is three layers thick, with two layers making up the puzzle frame and pieces, and the final layer is the back.

1. Take the sticky side of the color of foam you want to be your top piece and lay it directly on top of the foam you want to be your middle piece, sticky side down. It is okay if you don't get it exactly lined up, it will be trimmed at the end. These are the layers that will make up your frame and your puzzle pieces.

2. Decided what you want your design to be. Shapes with straight edges are the easiest to cut. Make stencils out of scrap paper and arrange them the way you want them. Keep in mind, designs will be reflected because you will be drawing this on the back of the foam. If you are making letters, write them backward! Flip your puzzle piece layer over and draw out your design on the paper part of the foam.

3. Cut your design out. this can be done with scissors but your puzzle pieces will be much more snug of a fit with an Exacto knife. Slide the blade over the same spots multiple times with a gentle cut for the best results. You will use both the shapes inside and the outside as the frame, so be careful to stay on the lines!

4. Pop all of the pieces out and flip the foam over. Test that everything can be put back in place easily. If it does not fit smoothly, trim the edges until it fits.

5. Peel the back off of your puzzle pieces and stick them to the side of the cardboard that has been printed on. Flip it over and press, making sure the pieces are stuck tight. Cut the pieces out, making sure the cardboard does not stick out past the edges of the foam.

7. Stick your bottom piece of foam onto the printed side of the cardboard. Carefully peel the foam off of the frame of the puzzle. Match up the corners to the bottom foam piece and carefully lay it directly on top. When you are happy with the placement, turn the whole thing over and press to seal as well as possible.

8. Cut off the edges. One of the fun things about foam is when you cut it with scissors it kind of fuzes the pieces together. Make sure everything fits one last time, and then you're done!

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