Mike's parents had a set of puzzle blocks in their toy chest. I have wanted to make a set for years, but never got around to finishing this project. For Easter, I wanted to add something new to our church bag for the boys to play quietly with. I came up with the idea to make a set of puzzle blocks with pictures of Christ. I tried to pick pictures that told a story. Christ's birth, sitting with his mother Mary as a child, his baptism, blessing the children, Christ as the good shepherd, Christ calming the sea. I figured, if they were going to play with something in church, I could at least make it something that would remind them of why we are at church in the first place...
Here's what I used:
one set of 1 inch wooden blocks (you can find them at most big craft stores)
Mod Podge and sponge brush
6 small cardstock prints (I found mine at Deseret Book and they were about 4"x3" each)
ruler and pencil
paper cutter, or scissors
First, the pictures I found were slightly larger than 3" by 4", so we trimmed each picture to those dimensions.
Mark lines on the back of one picture 1 inch apart to indicate where to cut. You will end up with 12 1" squares. Use paper cutter or scissors to cut squares.
Mod Podge the squares onto the 12 blocks. Work on one picture at a time, gluing one piece of the picture onto each of the 12 blocks. (That way you won't glue two pieces of the same picture onto one block.)
Repeat process with remaining 5 pictures. When you are done, you will have one set of puzzle blocks to build six different pictures.
Let dry completely.
Mod Podge a thin layer over each block the to seal your puzzle. (Make sure that the side you are placing down is completely dry before setting down. I speak from experience. I have nearly ruined many a project because of impatience...)
A few tips for a better puzzle:
Choose pictures that have different coloring and/or backgrounds from each other. The more unique each picture is, the easier it will be for kids to find the correct pieces. One picture had a light sky background, another had a dark sea, another a dark interior background.
If you have two pictures with very similar colors, try and mix pieces on individual blocks to make it easier to identify which picture each side goes with.
Here are pictures of each side of one block to help you better understand what I mean (sorry for the blurry picture quality).
The busier the scene, the easier the puzzle will be to put together. Find pictures with lots of color, lots of details to the scenery (people in the background, animals, brick walls, instead of just dark color). If you choose pictures with lots of solid background color and little detail, it will be much more difficult to assemble.
Now you will have a great small activity to put in your bag for your kids to enjoy. Have fun putting your puzzle together!