I don’t know about you, but I think puzzles are fantastic. I love sitting down and working on a good jigsaw puzzle or challenging myself with a logic puzzle. But do you know what can be even more fun? Doing it with friends.
Since it is so fun, I put together a comprehensive list of ways to enjoy puzzles with friends.
The easiest way to enjoy jigsaw puzzles with friends is to simply do puzzles with them. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down with my friends or family members and worked on a jigsaw puzzle. It provided hours of entertainment while we talked or simply enjoyed each other’s company. That said, there are dozens of different types of jigsaw puzzles to try.
From classic paintings to funny illustrations, there are thousands of images printed on jigsaw puzzles, providing hours of entertainment. A general search of “jigsaw puzzles” at Amazon.com will give you an exhaustive list of over 50,000 pages filled with jigsaw puzzles, picturing everything from classic paintings to cartoons.
Have you ever seen a 3D jigsaw puzzle? Most of them feature a famous piece of architecture, a building from a much-loved TV show or even a random item, like a shoe. Your challenge is to build it, piece by piece, until it is a scale model of the original. It’s not easy, but the result is worth it. Just look at this 3D puzzle of Notre Dame and this globe puzzle.
Another type of puzzle to enjoy with friends is wooden jigsaw puzzles. Intricately carved and stunningly painted, these puzzles are ones you would want to save and frame because they are so beautiful. Just remember to buy two of them so that you and your friend don’t fight over who gets to take the finished piece home. Just check out this gorgeous wooden lion puzzle, and you’ll see what I mean.
It doesn’t take much imagining to see why one company calls this item “The Clearly Impossible Puzzle.” Every piece in these puzzles is made of crystal-clear plastic which you must somehow fit together to make the whole. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to do this puzzle on my own. I would love a friend’s help because it is so difficult.
These jigsaw puzzles are uniquely challenging because the pieces are double sided … and when the pieces are shuffled together in the box, you don’t always know which side goes to which puzzle. If you and your friends think you are up to the challenge, why not try this double-sided classic art puzzle or search “double-sided jigsaw puzzle” on Amazon.com.
Another type of jigsaw puzzle is color gradient puzzles. Instead of featuring an image of scenery or a classic painting, the images on these difficult puzzles are merely colors blending into other colors. Made in Germany, the “Clemens Habicht 1000 Colors Wheel Puzzle” is one of the most difficult ones as each of its 1000 pieces is a unique color that is barely different from the ones next to it.
If you and your friends want a different type of challenge, consider trying large or extra-large puzzles. Most puzzles for adults range between 500 and 1,500 pieces, but larger puzzles can contain many more pieces. If you want an only slightly bigger puzzle to try, 3,000 pieces is a good starting point, but there are puzzles out there with as many as 24,000 pieces. I can’t imagine how long those would take! Take a look at this one with 18,000 pieces.
Most jigsaw puzzles are rectangular, but that’s not the case with all of them. Some of them take the shape of the item being portrayed, such as an animal or a building, while others fit into classic shapes like circles and hearts. They are challenging because the pieces, especially the edge pieces, have funny shapes that can be difficult to place. But when they are finished, the results are fantastic! Consider this jigsaw puzzle of the earth or this “Queen of the Stacks” cat puzzle.
Each Wasgij puzzle is a mystery. The photo on the box is not the puzzle you will be creating. Instead, it is a chaotic scene that contains a clue to what the puzzle will be a picture of, such as what will happen next in the scene or what happened to cause the chaos in the scene. It can be loads of fun for you and your friends to puzzle out the mystery as you put the pieces together. Here’s one puzzle to get you started — Wasgij Mystery.
Like Wasgij puzzles, these puzzles are mysteries, but they’re a little different. These puzzles come with a pamphlet that describes the crime committed, the suspects and anything else you, the detective, needs to know. And as you put the puzzle together, you can try to spy out clues in the scene in order to solve the crime. This Sherlock Holmes puzzle is a wonderful example. And the best part of doing a puzzle like this with your friends is competing to see who can solve the crime first.
Educational puzzles are puzzles meant to teach you something about whatever is pictured on the puzzle. After all, whoever is doing the puzzle is staring at the picture and pieces for hours in order to put it together, and so if the subject matter of the puzzle is educational, they might learn something from it. While these puzzles are often thought to be made for children, there are also educational puzzles for adults to enjoy and learn from. For example, check out this puzzle about minerals, this one about the solar system, and this one about the United States national parks. And with your friends, you can compete to see who memorizes more from what is on the puzzle.
As the name suggests, you can send a favorite photo to a service like this one and so that they can make a custom printed puzzle with your own picture. These jigsaw puzzles are a lot of fun to do with friends because you can do a puzzle of your friends with your friends.
Another fun type of puzzles to enjoy with your friends are glow in the dark puzzles. These puzzles are partially covered with glow-in-the-dark paint so that when you turn the lights out, you can still see the design of the picture. If you really want to challenge yourself, you could try putting the entire puzzle together in the dark. But the daylight is fine too! Look at this beautiful puzzle of outer space in which the stars and planets still shine in the dark.
If you and your friends like antique and vintage items, try old cardboard puzzles. First invented in the 1930s, these puzzles have that vintage feeling to them. Some of them have unusually shaped pieces, and they can be fun to make. You can still find them at yard sales, antique stores and auction websites like eBay, although, in the way of used puzzles, they could be missing a few pieces.
Although cardboard puzzles were invented in the 30s, jigsaw puzzles themselves have been around since the 1700s, and they came in the form of handmade wooden puzzles. The creators would carve each puzzle by hand, and no two puzzles were exactly the same even if the picture was the same because the pieces were shaped differently. It would be a fun challenge to try to find an antique wooden jigsaw puzzle to put together with your friends. Although, it would be advisable to do more research on these puzzles before committing to an expensive one.
Watch a Movie or Listen to an Audibook while Doing a Puzzle
Something I have often done with my family and friends is to watch a movie or to listen to an audiobook while doing a jigsaw puzzle. Instead of sitting in silence while doing a puzzle or trying to concentrate on the puzzle while talking, it can be fun to turn on some entertainment while enjoying the puzzle with friends. I doubt I need to tell you where to find tv shows and movies, but if you don’t know, you can get audiobooks for free at your local or online library or buy them from Amazon’s Audible.com. It should be the new fad — Netflix and puzzles.
Challenge Your Friends
Another way you can enjoy puzzles with friends is to challenge them to a race: Who can complete the puzzle the fastest? Physical jigsaw puzzles are not the best puzzles for this type of competition because they take too much time (though if you’re that dedicated, you can certainly try!). Instead, you could try shorter puzzles such as logic puzzles, brain teasers, puzzle apps and the like. Here are a few types we would suggest that would :
There are dozens of jigsaw puzzle apps to use on your phone, tablet, computer or whatever device you are using to read this. The great thing about these is that they don’t have nearly as many pieces as physical jigsaw puzzles do, making them perfect for competing with friends. Just set the picture and the number of pieces to be the same, turn on a timer, and bingo — jigsaw puzzle competition. To get you started, Kristanix Studios has a highly rated puzzle app that is on most major online retailers.
These popular puzzles involve matching words to clues, filling in the pattern of criss-crossing lines in just the right order. You’ve probably done these puzzles before or seen them in the newspaper. There are several types of crossword puzzles, depending on how the puzzle is set up and how the clues are presented, but the overall concept is the same. You and your friends could print free copies of an online crossword puzzle, purchase crossword puzzle books or download dozens of apps in order to play these simple yet challenging puzzles.
Word search puzzles are when you have a square of garbled letters that you must search through to find real words. Usually, a list of words to find are provided, but sometimes only clues to the words are given (e.g. find 3 animals). They can be a lot of fun to do and have varying levels of difficulty, making them great for both kids and adults. And since they are so popular, you can find them online or in print for little to no cost.
Another type of word puzzle is a cryptogram. In it, you are presented with a series of letters or numbers in a coded message. Each letter or number represents a letter in a coded message, and your job is to figure out which letter or number represents which real one so that you can read the message. They are challenging puzzles that can make you feel like you are a spy trying to uncover an enemy’s message. I’m certain you and your friends will enjoy trying to solve these puzzles. You can find them online or in book format, such as this book of humorous cryptograms.
Elimination grid logic puzzles are challenging puzzles that involve using clues to solve a problem. In a lot of these puzzles, you are given 4 names, 4 items and 4 secondary items. You have to use the clues to match each name with one item and secondary item without repeating anything. When you figure out one match, you mark it on the grid and use the process of elimination to mark off what is and isn’t a match. It can be challenging and fun, and if logic puzzles are your thing, I’m sure you and your friends will enjoy these. If you’re interested in trying some, why not check out this book of elimination grid puzzles?
Sudoku is a popular form of logic puzzle that you’ve probably seen or played. The game is made up of a 9 x 9 grid split into nine 3 x 3 squares. You have to write numbers 1-9 in each row, column and 3 x 3 square without repeating or leaving out any numbers. To help, you are given several clues in the form of specifically placed numbers on the grid. It’s up to you
Nonogram puzzles are a type of grid logic puzzle in which you create a picture by solving the puzzle. When first starting the puzzle, you are presented with an empty grid that has a series of numbers for each row and column. Your goal is to fill in consecutive spaces on the grid to match the numbers along the row or column. But what do you do when you have 15 spaces in a row and only 8 are to be filled in? That’s when you have to use logic as well as the numbers in the columns above to see where in the row the eight colored spaces go. These puzzles are challenging but rewarding because the finished products are usually more beautiful the larger (and more challenging) the grid is. They are also called Paint by Numbers, Picross, Griddlers and Pic-a-Pix, and you and your friends can find both black and white and color versions of them to play as apps or as print books.
Have you ever heard of escape rooms? They are comparable to live video game puzzles. You and your friends are locked in a special room for an hour and must solve puzzles and riddles in order to escape. The rooms are usually given a theme; for example, the room could be decorated like a pirate ship, and you have to puzzle through the hidden clues to find the treasure in order to escape. The rooms have gained popularity in recent years, and facilities hosting them have popped up around the country. Here’s a fun list of the “10 Craziest Escape Rooms in America.” If you want to try them yourself, you can search for escape rooms in your region or even try to make one yourself.
DIY Puzzle Ideas
DIY projects have become increasingly popular in recent years, and if you are into that, there are many puzzle-themed projects to make. You can enjoy making them with your friends or make them as gifts for your friends. Either way, I’m sure you’ll find at least one of these puzzle ideas to be fun.
It’s easy to make your own puzzle. You can purchase a blank, pre-cut cardboard puzzle, such as this one, and draw or paint on it. Or you can create a work of art on a piece of poster-board, cardboard or cardstock and then cut it into puzzle pieces. Another option is to line up six or more popsicle sticks together and draw a cute picture on them, shuffling them later to create the puzzle. Making your own puzzle, however you choose to do it, is a perfect project to do with children, but even adults can have fun doing it together.
If you and your friends have completed a puzzle, and you absolutely adore the picture, a great thing to do is to preserve the puzzle. Instead of taking it apart, you would cover it with glue sheets or paint it the top, and then, once the top is dry, the bottom, with puzzle glue. After that you can hang it on the wall, framed or unframed, or give it to a friend. Puzzles that feature classic pieces of art, gorgeous wooden puzzles, glow-in-the-dark puzzles, custom printed puzzles and most others make beautiful wall hangings. Besides that, you can show off to your friends the beautiful puzzle that you completed — or celebrate a project completed with a friend.
If you have an old puzzle that is missing a lot of pieces, you could consider re-using the puzzle pieces to make something new. First, you would paint or spray paint your old puzzle in the colors you need. Then you would have to choose a project
You could make a Christmas or Valentine’s Day wreath by layering and gluing puzzle pieces together in a wreath shape. Or you could glue them around the border of a picture frame. Another idea is to glue pieces together in the shape of a mini wreath, a snowflake or a snowman and then attach a string to them to create Christmas ornaments. Adding ribbons, beads, glitter and other items can make them look even prettier. You could even make jewelry and keychains using puzzle pieces as dangling beads.
All of these ideas can communicate your love of puzzles. I’m certain your puzzle-loving friends will enjoy a selfie of them and you in a puzzle-covered picture frame or puzzle-piece-jewelry to wear. But if these ideas don’t strike your fancy, Pinterest has a ton of other ideas about how to reuse old puzzles.
Have you ever found yourself addicted to watching those videos of pouring resin into molds or making tables, bowls or knick knacks out of resin? If you have, perhaps you’ll be interested in making puzzle-piece-shaped resin jewelry or keychains. You would have to purchase a resin mold in the shape of a puzzle piece and follow a professional’s instructions on where to purchase and how to create the resin jewelry. Epoxy resin is such a popular DIY project right now that you can probably find instructions and materials at your local craft store, but you can also find some great instructions at this website. And once you have done that, you will have a beautiful puzzle-themed jewelry to enjoy with your friends.
Another puzzle item for you to enjoy making with your friends is puzzle wall art. You would purchase an unfinished wooden puzzle piece, which can be found here in several sizes, and cover it however you desire. You could paint it in whatever design you desire or cover it in bits of paper or photographs, sealed with Mod Podge. You could write you or your friend’s initials or use stencils to write an inspiring puzzle quote. The options are limitless, and it would be a fun project to do with a friend.
Puzzle-themed food is another way to enjoy puzzles with friends. You and your friends could get together to make and eat these fun puzzle-inspired food items.
With puzzle-shaped cookie cutters, you could make and decorate puzzle-shaped sugar cookies. You could also use smaller cookie cutters on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, on watermelon, cheese, softened chocolate and much more. If it’s thin enough and soft enough to cut with a cookie cutter, you can use the cutters to make fun, puzzle-themed food items.
Very similar to the epoxy molds, these puzzle-shaped molds can be used with food. You can use them to make puzzle-shaped jello, ice cubes, chocolate pieces, cheesecake .. the options are endless. They are perfect for a puzzle-themed party!
There are so many beautiful and tasty variations of puzzle-inspired cakes that they deserve their own point. People have used puzzle-shaped cookie cutters to cover the cakes with beautiful fondant puzzle pieces. Or they have cut a cake into the shape of a puzzle piece before covering it in frosting. There are thousands of puzzle cake inspirations to be found on Pinterest, and I’m certain you and your friends will enjoy both making and eating the finished product.
Puzzle Apparel and Household Items
Because puzzles are much-loved, it should come as no surprise that people have created puzzle-themed apparel and household items. For example, you could wear one of these awesome jigsaw-puzzle-themed shirts. There are also dozens of puzzle-themed necklaces, bracelets and keychains for you to try; you and your good friends or your significant other could each have matching puzzle necklaces that fit together as perfectly as you do.
For household items, there are also many options. For instance, you could buy one of these puzzle mugs. Or you could show off your love of puzzles to your friends by using a puzzle kitchen towel, puzzle-shaped candle holders, a puzzle throw blanket or even puzzle-shaped soap. Any of these items make wonderful gifts so that your friends can enjoy puzzles with you.
Celebrate Puzzle Day
January 29 is Puzzle Day. This unofficial holiday is dedicated to celebrating puzzles. You can enjoy it with your friends by putting together a jigsaw puzzle, challenging each other with riddles, attempting logic puzzles or doing any other puzzle-related activities. Or you could wear a jigsaw puzzle shirt, make a puzzle cake, visit an escape room or buy a puzzle blanket. Truly, you could celebrate by doing anything on this list — or come up with your own. The options are limitless!
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