Acrylic Puzzles With Images

When I make puzzles I like to use 1/8” acrylic because a) you don’t need to deal with peeling masking, b) there’s no scorched edges to make a mess and c) the pieces have a satisfying premium feel.

Adhering photo paper to acrylic has all sorts of issues and I don’t have the need or space to invest in a dye sublimation setup or direct printer. So my choice for getting a nice image on the surface is laser printer waterslide decal paper. It’s accessible, easy to use, laser safe polyurethane and has a beautiful matte finish.

Here’s a fresh puzzle right after cutting - no scorching, no masking. A little under 11x17, 300 pieces.


That is great! Looking at the website, what thickness did you use? Definitely adding this to my want list!!


I love it when someone comes up with a new way to make puzzles!

The laser printer decal paper is a neat find, and I might need to try that out, thanks for sharing it :heart_eyes_cat: If you ever pick up some mirror acrylic, it would be rad to see how the image would look with that. Ping me if you get into selling them, I am connected to several wooden puzzle enthusiast groups that like all sorts of new things.


Can we get a close-up of the fun result? I’m curious about kerf.

So do you print on the label and then apply it to the acrylic and then cut it face down or what do you do?


Just wondering if this would work on wood as well?


Wow! That looks amazing. Now I am really curious to add that to my list of things to play with. What kind of printer are you using?


It’s been so long since I worked with water slide that I didn’t even realize that it is still a thing! thanx for the share.


Thanks for the share and the link.
Got a project moving already.


Very nice result :slight_smile:


Thanks for the kind words everyone :smiley:


So very generous of you, thank you!

Nice tight kerf like most acrylic cuts :smiley: (do you have any idea how hard it was to find three pieces that fit together?!)

Print, apply, let dry thoroughly, cut face up with copy paper under the acrylic to prevent flashback.

Yes if the wood is sealed, it works on non-porous surfaces. Application involves water (Hot tip, also great on tile & ceramics)

Ricoh color laser copier.


Beautiful! Have you done it on any other colors? Themed puzzles with matching colors (Halloween with orange etc.) would be neat. There are also those clear puzzles without a picture that are sort of popular - whoever buys those are truly puzzle fanatics.


Great work! Always nice to know about transfer media like that. They make for tons of possibilities!


I came across some 1/16" acrylic, would it be too thin?

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Thanks! Haven’t yet but I was just having that thought as I was pulling the pieces out of the GF.
The decal paper stash I have right now is clear, but they do make a an opaque white version that could be really nice on colored acrylic.

I’m sure it would be fine, just a different look :slight_smile:


I love this idea. I’m gonna have to try it.


Oh wow, what a fabulous result! One thing I’d worry about is chipping of the printed layer off the pieces as they are rubbing against each other in storage. Do you do any sealing type of treatment after application? I’ve got a bunch of laser waterslide paper as well as the inkjet printable version (from Lazertran). Might have to give this a go. Thanks for the inspiration!


Thank you!
Sometimes I give decal-ed things that’ll get a lot of handling a spritz of clear matte Krylon (acrylic) before any cutting. Like mugs or toys.

I haven’t actively tried to destroy anything but so far nothing’s chipped in regular use. I suspect the urethane film is more likely to peel than chip if anything, it’s kinda stretchy in its wet-when-applying state.


i have the ink jet stuff,too. used it on polymer clay.

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Outstanding! I’ve been making clear acrylic puzzles, and I’ve tried half a dozen methods for introducing images into the mix with little success.

Sublimation has been my most promising option so far, but I’ll have to give this a try!


Fantastic! I have a question about your image. Does your printer print an 11x17 image or did you have to splice it together?

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