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Turn a Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle into Your Own Painted Masterpiece

Use a children's wooden puzzle as the canvas for your next painting project. With simple images, you can create unique puzzle art for your home or as a gift.

It's not as hard as it may look, as each design uses only basic silhouette shapes. In this tutorial, I'll show you just how simple the process is.

How to paint on a puzzle

Using a wooden puzzle without a ton of pieces makes this project a more simple and doable art craft. And using a puzzle that comes in a frame gives the painting a nice finished look. See also my glitter painting tutorial.

And as you can see, painting each puzzle piece a different color keeps it looking like a puzzle.

Using a rainbow of bright colors against the black really makes the pieces pop.

How do you paint a wooden puzzle?

To paint a wooden puzzle, start by removing all the pieces out of the wooden frame that they usually come with. You'll want to keep the pieces connected together to make it easier.

To cover the children's picture on the puzzle, allowing you to paint the pieces however you want, spray the connected puzzle pieces with a white primer. The primer will allow the new paint to stick to the pieces.

Throughout the process, you'll want to avoid getting too much paint on the sides of the puzzle pieces as you paint each one. Getting too much paint on the sides makes it hard to get the puzzle pieces back together at the end.

One of the many thrills I get from doing art is repurposing items around the house, like puzzles.

These are some other tutorials I've made that repurpose items:

puzzle to paint

cat puzzle instructions

Step 1

Remove the nine pieces, still connected, from the puzzle's frame and spray them with the white primer.

puzzle sprayed with primer

Step 2

Print out a graphic of a simple silhouette (template at the end of the tutorials) in the size you need to fit in the puzzle.

Step 3

Cut out a piece of tracing paper big enough to fit under the printed silhouette graphic and place it on the still-connected puzzle.

tracing paper over image

Step 4

Trace the outline of the silhouette image over the tracing paper and puzzle.

tracing image on a puzzle

draw on a puzzle

Step 5

Decide which colors you want to paint within the silhouette.

paint pens for diy puzzle art

Then separate the pieces and start coloring the parts within your silhouette lines with paint pens o craft paint.

painting a puzzle piece

Go around the sides of the puzzle piece and just a little under.

You don't want too much paint on the sides; otherwise, the puzzle pieces won't fit back together.

painting puzzle pieces

Paint each piece within the silhouette shape a different color or in a combination that the color of one piece contrasts with the pieces next to it.

painted puzzle pieces

Put the puzzle together to make sure it all lines up right:

painted cat on a puzzle

Step 6

Paint the rest of each puzzle piece black.

painting on a puzzle piece

painting a puzzle

Now put it together and spray a little acrylic sealer on it.

diy painted cat puzzle

Tree puzzle instructions

Step 1

Paint each piece a different rainbow color.

rainbow puzzle pieces

Step 2

Put the puzzle back together once the paints dry.

making a rainbow puzzle

Step 3

Decide what silhouette design you're going to use.

I turned back to the internet and found this tree I wanted to use (download the template at the end of the tutorial):

tree design

Step 4

Use the tracing paper again, or you can eyeball it and draw it yourself.

painting design on a puzzle

painted puzzle diy

paint a picture on a puzzle diy

painted tree on a puzzle diy

Step 4

Go around the black design with a fine point white paint pen.

Painting a tree design on a puzzle

rainbow tree puzzle art diy

Step 5

Hit it with the acrylic sealer.

sealing a painted puzzle

Now, bask in the glory of your art!

Painted wooden puzzles diy

Below is a template for you to use if you get 6-inch puzzles, as I did. I added four more images I thought would work well for this project.

Download the image by clicking on it or download a PDF version under the image.

Silhouette Templates
Download PDF • 259KB

While I showed you how to use small kids' puzzles in this project, you can use any puzzle that delights you and paint it any way that delights you, too 😄.

A while back, I went through a phase of using mixed media and collage elements on single puzzle pieces, otherwise known as altered puzzle pieces. Put a magnet on the back, and they make a fun and interesting gift.

Visit Cut Out and Keep for a quick tutorial on how to alter a puzzle piece.

altered puzzle pieces

I even, a couple of times, altered an entire puzzle and put it back together with every piece altered differently:

altered puzzle

Now it's your turn to make beautiful puzzle art.

But before you do, please take a look at all my colorful adult craft projects.

If you loved this project, please share ❤️❤️❤️

Create colorful puzzle art

wooden puzzle painting


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