Goat Jigsaw Puzzle



I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle project to be given as a gift to a friend of mine. I don’t yet have the artwork for the image, but I wanted to get the cutting part squared away as soon as possible, as I didn’t know if the results would be satisfying. Spoiler: the results are satisfying.

I’ve written a Python script where I can define the width and height of the template, and the number of pieces left to right and top to bottom. It generates a rectangular grid, which it proceeds to adjust to give the pieces some variety. The “prong” generation code is trial-and-error: making sure that prongs don’t overlap each other - it’s possible that the generator couldn’t figure out any geometry that works, which would fall back to a straight edge to a piece, which would be a little malicious to the solver, who would expect that to be an edge piece.

puzzle_template.pdf (28.2 KB)

I printed out a photo onto cardstock, and glued the cardstock onto matte board that I got from my local framing store. It was a quick cut, and the pieces felt… well, they felt like puzzle pieces - right weight, about the right quality of cardboard.

I assembled the puzzle to see how the feel of the pieces felt - it’s not 100% like my experience with commercial jigsaw puzzles - in those cases, there’s more resilience as the pieces smoosh into place. This is a crisper sensation when a piece falls into place, but when it does, it’s just as satisfying as with a commercial jigsaw puzzle.

Now the next step is to make a photocollage that will serve as the artwork for the actual gift.


Here’s the template that I used:


Cool! Glad to hear that the pieces snap into place in a satisfying manner–that’s important for a jigsaw puzzle.


Exactly - I wanted to make sure it felt good - there’s a little more “play” than with commercial jigsaws, which means it’s not as easy to take a chunk of solved pieces and move them around - mine fall apart a little bit easier, but I think that’s acceptable, just different.

It also surprised me how you see a scene in a completely different way as soon as it’s a jigsaw - this image has lots of interesting shapes that I thought would be easier to fit together.

This is a 70 piece puzzle, and as an experiment, I was totally pleased with it. The final puzzle ought to have upwards of 300 pieces, which still seems like an easy jigsaw if you were shopping for one in the store.


Looks great! :grinning:


It’s a different feeling for sure than a diecut jigsaw. Diecuts retain more friction between the pieces compared to laser or hand cut. Dies have very little kerf - but the pieces are also smooshed/compressed under tons of pressure as they are being cut, expanding the pieces a bit.

But, using thicker materials than most commercial puzzles gives you a very solid feel when putting a piece in place.

I’ve had great luck applying varnish to the image, letting it dry and then cutting face down with no masking. The varnish protects the surface from smoke wonderfully. And if you get your settings just right, the kerf is barely even visible!


Beautiful! Love the funky puzzle design.