How to eliminate charing when making a photo puzzle


I have been working on making a puzzle, and even with doing the following things, I haven’t been able to reduce the char on the puzzle. Please see the images below to see the image, then the puzzle to see the charing. Here is what I’ve done (sorry, still super newbie btw):

  • First I used a matte photo paper, no matte sealer. Charred.
  • Then I tried a satin paper with no matte sealer. They are typically much more durable and wipe clean easier. Charred.
  • Did Satin with matte sealer. Charred.

I haven’t really done much with the power or other settings b/c I’m a little limited on materials and I’m hoping someone will have good advise, so, does anyone have any insight into how I fix this?




The best way to avoid the char is to mask your material. The second most important thing is to adjust your power settings.


Would you have a recommendation for masking over this photo?


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I’ve struggled with this myself, on a puzzle that uses adhesive prints on an MDF backing.

In my case, most masking (including TransferRite Ultra Low Tack) damaged the print, but I found that a generous coat of Krylon spray lacquer before masking worked beautifully. The masking peeled off cleanly with Gorilla Tape, and any residual soot wiped right off with a barely-dampened rag.

Unfortunately the edges of my print started to chip and flake with handling, which rendered that experiment a failure. It’s an option to try, though, especially if the photo paper is sturdy and you can dial in the settings.

(Ignore the terrible alignment, this was a sloppy test.)


I do not have personal experience with Perfect Tear, but many people use it. I suggest you read this thread regarding puzzles, masking and weeding. How To: Weed a Puzzle Like A Boss


Definitely read through that thread - and also pretty much anything @jbmanning5 says about puzzles. He’s gone from home user to full on business model strictly with puzzles. He’s got this stuff down cold!

Also, there’s nothing stopping you from cutting the puzzle upside down…if you’ve got your power settings right there won’t be flashback.


I print the photo on matt brochure paper, then use polyacrylic to glue the photo to the backer material and seal the photo (just like decoupage). I let the polyacrylic dry for 72 hours, then I mask. I have had no problems with charing or weeding.