Puzzle Solving Tricks: How to Solve Jigsaws Like a Pro

Jigsaw puzzles are one of the best pastimes for solo and group activities with friends. There are plenty of studies that point to the jigsaw puzzles' benefits for brain health and relieving stress and anxiety. Plus, they’re good, clean fun. 

5 Tips for Solving Jigsaw Puzzles Like a Pro

So you’ve got your jigsaw puzzle – how to solve it like an expert? 

Getting started on a puzzle can sometimes feel daunting, especially if you’re working on an especially hard puzzle (like our most difficult jigsaws). We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you solve jigsaw puzzles quickly and efficiently, just like the professionals. 

1. Choose the right work surface

One of the most important elements of solving jigsaw puzzles quickly is to have the appropriate work surface. Official puzzle competitors use vinyl-plastic surfaces to allow the pieces to slide easily across the surface. Often, the mats are white to better reflect the light. 

Not everyone has this available to them when working on a puzzle from home, though.

Having a dedicated space to work on a puzzle is key so that pieces can easily be spread out and prevent them from getting lost. There are designated puzzling tables available to purchase, but a folding table will work just as well. Alternatively, a puzzle mat is a great resource to utilize, as it can easily be stored away when not actively working on the puzzle. 

How to Solve Jigsaws Like a Pro | Blue Kazoo

2. Have the right lighting

The lighting you use to work on your jigsaw will have a huge impact on your ability to solve it quickly. Working on a puzzle in poor lighting will make it difficult to pick out the fine details and intricacies of your puzzle (especially if you’re working on colorful puzzles, like Gradient where the colors blend). 

Having proper puzzle lighting will enhance your experience and help you solve your jigsaw faster. A simple remedy: swap your warm light bulbs for daylight bulbs. 


Jigsaw Puzzle Solving Tricks | Blue Kazoo

3. Pick your strategy

One thing we’ve learned in the puzzle business is that everyone approaches a jigsaw puzzle differently. Before you officially get started on a jigsaw, determine your strategy for solving. Will you start with the edges, or begin in the middle? Will you find the patterns first, or go rogue? The choice is yours. 

Puzzle Solving Tricks | Blue Kazoo

4. Take plenty of breaks

Depending on the size and difficulty of your puzzle, there’s a good chance it won’t get finished in one afternoon. On average, the time it takes to complete a 1,000-piece puzzle is 9 hours, but again, this can vary. 

Taking breaks and resting your eyes, especially if you’re tired, can do wonders when you return to the board. 

How to Solve Jigsaw Puzzles Like a Pro | Blue Kazoo

5. Patience is key

Puzzles are supposed to be fun and relaxing. If you find yourself getting frustrated, step away for a bit. Taking a break as aforementioned can do wonders and have you amped up and ready to continue tackling the challenge when you decide to come back to it. 

As we mentioned too, it takes more than a few hours to complete a puzzle. If you find that it’s taking longer than you anticipated, don’t get discouraged! It’s completely normal for that to happen. The more you hone your jigsaw skills, the quicker you’ll be solving puzzles. 

Puzzle Solving Tips & Tricks | Blue Kazoo

Feeling stuck? Use these tips for solving a hard jigsaw puzzle

Completing the Puzzle

After you complete the puzzle, you can put it back in the box and forget about it. But, there are other things you can do with completed puzzles, such as hanging them as wall art or donating them to a local school or charity. 

Jigsaw Puzzle Solving Tips & Tricks | Blue Kazoo

Want to learn more about jigsaws? Check out these 15 puzzle facts and the process behind making a jigsaw puzzle.