5 quality factors to look for in a Jigsaw Picture Puzzle
by Colin Southwell (c) Jigsaw2order.com
At Jigsaw2order.com, we believe that the assumption of quality should be the same when you order a mass manufactured store jigsaw puzzle or a individual picture puzzle made to order from your own photograph. Unfortunately that isn’t a view held by all manufacturers of photo jigsaw puzzles. Many companies offering low priced products do not compare where quality or durability is concerned resulting customer disappointment with the photo puzzle you receive.
A personalized picture puzzle should be something that not only can be used today, but also last without fear of damage or fading (normal wear and tear notwithstanding). Personalized picture puzzles are often given as gifts or souvenirs and it would be very disappointing to consider that within a short space of time the puzzle looked old, tired and even damaged – even without it having been used.
So what are the important factors to consider when choosing a manufacturer to create your personalized picture puzzle? What does Jigsaw2order.com incorporate into the manufacturing process to ensure that these high standards and expectations are met?
5 things to look for in a
quality Jigsaw Picture Puzzle
Essentially there are five separate factors which contribute to the eventual quality and durability of a Picture Puzzle. Of these five factors, four of them are within the control of the manufacturer, with the fifth being down to you! Jigsaw2order takes pride in offering the very best possible quality in all areas within its control.
1. Good Quality Image
Your own contribution to the success of the puzzle is in providing a good quality digital photo. The photo you choose will depend on the puzzle difficulty you want and personal taste. You might decide to be deadly and supply a photograph of recurring paters such as a flower bed consisting of hundreds of identical flowers! Most people however opt for a romantic photograph of your partner and yourself or a family shot. Either way, lighting, focus and overall picture quality will all be important.
Technically, your image needs to be large enough (high enough resolution) for the size of puzzle you want to order. The larger the puzzle size, the bigger the image needs to be. With today’s digital cameras, image resolution is less of a problem. Even the cheapest cameras produce 4 or 5 megapixel images – enough for a nice quality 500 piece puzzle. When uploading your image with your order at Jigsaw2order.com, the system automatically checks the image size is suitable for the puzzle size ordered.
The Jigsaw2order.com website automatically checks each image you upload to make sure that it is suitable for the puzzle size you ordered. Once we have the image, our graphics design team digitally resizes, adjusts and enhances every photo uploaded. We also remove red eye, imprinted dates and other photo imperfections to make your photos look their best as puzzles.
2. Printing Method
The printing method used to produce the jigsaw puzzle image is critical to a good quality product. A quality puzzle will have accurate colors and printed on paper that will resist moisture and not fade easily. Cheap jigsaw puzzles are often created using nothing more than a standard ink jet or laser printers with results that fade rapidly, or smudge easily from moisture on your hands.
Jigsaw2order.com produces all their photo puzzles using professional photographic enlargements digitally produced using the latest photo lab technology. The resulting print has a beautiful silk finish and excellent color representation with colors that will last for many years. An added benefit of using photographic paper is that the puzzle picture surface is protected with a coated surface resistant to water drops.
3. Cardboard Quality
Most personalized photo puzzles are made from cardboard (sometimes called chipboard) which comes is a wide range of thicknesses and qualities. Poor quality cardboard is usually characterized as being soft and floppy due to a high moisture content. Good quality cardboard is stiff and hard and has a low moisture content resulting in a good quality puzzle. Low cost puzzles area usually made from low quality cardboard so thin that each piece will be very flexible, and the whole puzzle will not so much click together as flop together. Of course, cardboard that absorbs moisture easily will soon warp, meaning that the pieces will be very ill-fitting.
At Jigsaw2order.com we use only Grade 'A' cardboard that has a minimum thickness of 1.2 mm producing quality stiff puzzle pieces. We also only use environmental friendly cardboard that is recycled from waste paper doing our part to protect the environment.
4. Puzzle Adhesive
Another factor to consider is the quality of the glue used to fix the image to the cardboard. The water content within the adhesive is a key factor in producing a quality puzzle that does not bend or warp. Low cost puzzles generally use an everyday paper glue resulting in a warped puzzles and a product that will almost certainly peel away from the cardboard backing over time. Remember – if the puzzle is going to be used, all of the edges of the pieces will be handled, and rubbed against each other.
Jigsaw2order.com uses a professional standard latex based adhesive with an extremely low water content. This results in a flat cardboard sheet that when cut produces a better quality puzzle. It’s also non toxic, an important criterion for kids puzzles.
Jigsaw2order.com uses a professional standard latex based adhesive with an extremely low water content. This results in a flat cardboard sheet that when cut produces a better quality puzzle. It's also non toxic, an important criterion for kids puzzles.
5. Puzzle Cutting
A jigsaw needs to be cut, and the method and quality of cutting is an important factor in a quality puzzle. Most manufacturers use a steel die, much like a cookie cutter, that cuts through the cardboard sheet dividing the puzzle into the individual pieces. The quality and design of the puzzle die will affect the quality and fit of the puzzle pieces.
A good puzzle die is expensive to purchase and in many ways is the hiden secret to a quality puzzle. The die needs to be very sharp otherwise tearing is possible, or pieces may not be separated effectively and remain partially joined. Attached pieces, fuzzy or torn edges all suggest the die needs to be replaced (dies cannot be sharpened). Due to their cost, many manufacturers may not do this as often as necessary resulting in poorly cut puzzles.
Jigsaw2order.com designs all its own puzzle dies and replaces these on a regular basis to ensure cut quality is as high as possible. You can be sure that the quality of all our jigsaw puzzles is as sharp as our dies, and you'll be delighted with a puzzle that will last many years.
Jigsaw2order.com is a leading manufacturer of Jigsaw Puzzles to retail and trade customers. Let us turn your digital images into a photo jigsaw puzzles or multi-photo collage puzzles.