How to Upcycle a Jigsaw Puzzle

Recycle Old Jigsaw Puzzles into Crafts

A jigsaw puzzle
hannahargyle / Getty Image

Have an old jigsaw puzzle laying around? Already solved it and gotten bored? Make a new one! Here's how one reader and her son 'upcycled' (recycled) an old jigsaw puzzle into a new, personalized jigsaw puzzle. It's appropriate for kids age 5 and up and only takes 30 minutes!

Materials Needed

  • Old, Unwanted Jigsaw Puzzle
  • Corrugated Cardboard Box (big enough to hold the assembled puzzle)
  • Fine Sandpaper (200 to 300-grit)
  • White Spray Paint
  • Permanent Marker
  • Damp Cloth


  1. Start out by assembling the jigsaw puzzle on the cardboard. It's okay if pieces are missing, that can be part of your final design. Once it is assembled, sand the puzzle lightly. This is to help the paint stick better. Wipe off the dust from sanding using a damp cloth.
  2. Leave the assembled puzzle on the cardboard and carefully carry it outside or to a well-ventilated area where you can spray paint it. Spray the puzzle white using several thin coats of spray paint. The paint should completely cover the picture on the puzzle. Let the puzzle dry. (Kelly suggests using white paint but any color will work, as long as you have markers that will show up!)
  3. Once dry, carefully bring the puzzle back inside. Use the markers and draw on the puzzle to your heart's content. Make sure every piece has at least a little color in it. If a young child is going to draw on it, an adult might want to add small details in paler colors behind the pictures to fill in some color in blank areas.
  1. When you are done personalizing the puzzle, break it apart and re-assemble it, put it in the box to save for later, or give as a gift! If you like, you can take a picture of the complete puzzle, get a copy of it, and glue it to the top of the box the puzzle came in.