Mastering the Puzzle Flip: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jigsaw puzzles can captivate our attention and challenge our problem-solving skills. However, once completed, the puzzle often gets disassembled and put back in the box for future enjoyment or to pass it on to someone else. If you want to preserve your puzzle though, you can glue your completed puzzle and frame it to display for years to come. 

Part of the preservation process requires an essential skill for puzzle enthusiasts: flipping a jigsaw puzzle over. Whether you're a seasoned puzzler that challenged yourself by completing the puzzle upside down or a novice looking to improve your technique, mastering this maneuver will enable you to appreciate your puzzle from a fresh perspective–and prepare it for mounting.

Lifted Flower Pot jigsaw puzzle | Blue Kazoo

How to Flip Over a Jigsaw Puzzle

Let's dive into the step-by-step guide to flipping a jigsaw puzzle over.

Step 1: Prepare the workspace

To begin, clear a large, flat surface that provides ample room to maneuver the puzzle. Ensure the surface is clean and free from any debris or objects that might interfere with the process. A sturdy table or a large piece of cardboard works well as a workspace.

Gradient jigsaw puzzle on table | Blue Kazoo

Step 2: Strengthen the puzzle's integrity

Before flipping the puzzle, it's crucial to reinforce its structure to prevent any loose or disconnected pieces. Place a large sheet of wax paper or parchment paper over the puzzle to protect the surface and hold the pieces in place. Gently press down on the puzzle to secure its cohesion.

Alternatively, if you’re gluing the puzzle pieces together for mounting, do that first (check out our step-by-step guide on how to glue puzzles together). Once it has dried–usually in an hour or so–then you can complete the outlined step above. Gluing the puzzle first will also make the puzzle sturdier and easier to flip.

Step 3: Position the puzzle mat

To facilitate the flip, position a puzzle mat or another large, flexible surface next to the puzzle. The puzzle mat should be slightly larger than the dimensions of the completed puzzle. Once it's flipped over, this mat will be a landing spot for the jigsaw puzzle.

Step 4: Slide a large, flat board under the puzzle

Now comes the critical moment. Carefully slide a large, flat board or a similarly rigid object underneath the puzzle. This board should be larger than the dimensions of the puzzle. Slowly and evenly apply pressure to lift the puzzle from the workspace, keeping it as level as possible. Be cautious not to damage or bend any pieces during this process.

Step 5: Flip the puzzle onto the mat

Once the puzzle is lifted onto the board, ensure it is centered and balanced. Next, place one hand on each side of the board and flip it over, carefully aligning it with the puzzle mat. Exercise control throughout this maneuver to prevent any sudden movements that could cause the puzzle to dislodge or pieces to shift.

Step 6: Transfer the puzzle to the mat

With the puzzle now upside down on the board, gently lower it onto the puzzle mat. Slowly remove the board from underneath the puzzle, ensuring all pieces remain intact and aligned. If necessary, make minor adjustments to center the puzzle on the mat.

Earth jigsaw puzzle on table | Blue Kazoo

Step 7: Remove the protective paper

Once the puzzle is on the puzzle mat, gently lift the edges of the protective paper or wax paper and peel it away from the puzzle. Take care not to disturb the puzzle's composition, as the pieces may still be fragile.

How to Preserve a Puzzle

Once you’ve flipped the puzzle over, you can glue the remainder of the jigsaw puzzle if you’re going that route. Let it dry for about an hour, and then it will be ready for display. You can do this by placing it in a frame and hanging it accordingly. You can also nix the frame and hang the puzzle as is with an adhesive, such as double-sided tape.

Hanging Earth jigsaw puzzle | Blue Kazoo

In Summary 

Flipping a jigsaw puzzle over requires patience, precision, and careful handling. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can confidently turn your completed masterpiece over, ready to be admired from a fresh perspective, preserved for display, or disassembled for future endeavors. Remember, practice makes perfect, and with time, you'll develop your own techniques and preferences for flipping puzzles. Enjoy the journey of puzzle-solving, and may your newfound skill enhance your puzzling experience!

Puzzle missing a few pieces? Upcycle the remaining pieces with these creative puzzle DIY projects