So you say you want to make puzzle pieces that look nice and are durable? You say you want them to have some thickness and stiffness, some heft when you pick them up, so they feel substantial and are easy to handle? But you don’t want to spend a lot of money, and you don’t want it to take forever to make? Wow! You sure do want a lot!
Fortunately, I have a suggestion. Here is how I make a lot of my puzzles. Of course this process won’t be suitable for all puzzles—it depends on the nature of the puzzle. But this should do the trick for most conventional style puzzles. And this same process can be used for a lot of game pieces as well.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
— a computer and printer
— ‘free cut’ label paper
— a cutter
— stiff backing (I use 板目用紙 — “Itame Youshi.”)
Design the puzzle on your computer.
Print it out on the free-cut label paper.
STEP THREE (optional):
Laminate the sheet of label paper. Trim off the edges of the paper. (This will also remove the edges where the two layers of lamination sheet are fused together. Don’t worry. That’s what you want!)
Peel the sticky backing off the label paper and adhere the sheet to the stiff backing.
Carefully cut out your puzzle pieces.
Looks nice. Feels good in the hand. Holds up well through multiple uses.
NOTE: I also recommend color-coding your puzzles if there are multiple sets. They will be easier to organize, and if you have more than one set being used at the same time, it will make it MUCH easier to sort everything out if pieces from different puzzles get mixed up!