DIY Pen Pal Gifts: How to Make A Jigsaw Puzzle (With Pictures – No Cricut Needed!)

Spice up your next pen pal letter with an adorable DIY jigsaw puzzle. This fun little craft project can be customized to ANY theme for your next happy mail or simply as a fun side project for friends, kids, or partners. With just a few supplies and a little bit of patience, you can have a personalized jigsaw puzzle ready to be gifted!

Supplies You Will Need:

  • pen/pencil
  • image of choice
  • printer
  • card stock paper
  • glue
  • scissors or x-acto knife
  • cutting mat

Once you’ve got all your supplies ready to go, dive right in to the fun stuff!

Step 1: Select an Image & Print it Out

three drawings printed out on copy paper - ghibli fan art, alphonse mucha, and chinese inked painting

Browse around the internet and print out an image that you’d like to use as the final puzzle. Make sure you’re using images that are high-quality so your finished product looks great! If you are using someone else’s personal art, double check that they don’t have any usage limitations (i.e. tattoo artists, Instagram artists, etc.)

You can also use a magazine clipping, a printed photo, a page out of a book, or anything that you fancy. Keep in mind that the thicker the paper the image is on, the thicker its backing will need to be. Additionally, don’t print your image too small! This will make it more difficult for you to cut out your puzzle pieces later.

Step 2: Glue the Photo Down

a pair of scissors, and two images glued on card stock paper

Get your card stock paper ready and glue your image down. If you decide to use an image on photo paper, the thick image may require a heavier backing, like thin cardboard or kraft board. You can also use old cereal boxes as the backing if you’re out of card stock or kraft boards!

Once your image is glued down, cut off the excess that you don’t want as the final puzzle image. I cut my images down without any borders, since I want the completed jigsaw to look like one cohesive piece.

[Related: 50 Unique Goodies & Gifts to Send in Your Next Pen Pal Letter]

Step 3: Draw Out the Jigsaw Puzzle Shapes

a pencil, a ruler, and two rectangle shaped card stock pieces with jigsaw puzzle lines

Flip your glued image over to the unglued side. Reference a jigsaw puzzle image or create your own jigsaw shapes and draw it out on the back of the glued image. These will be your guidelines when you cut out your puzzle.

If you want your puzzle pieces to be the same size, use a ruler to map out your squares based on the size of your print-out. If you don’t mind irregularly shaped pieces, simply freehand it. Make sure EACH puzzle piece has a connecting point! It’s easy to overlook a flat edge when using squares as a base. (Can you spot my mistake in the photo above?? hehe Don’t worry, I fixed it after.)

Step 4: Cut Out Each Piece

jigsaw puzzle pieces cut out, and separated into two piles by corresponding images

Next, get your scissors and start cutting out each puzzle piece. If you’re comfortable using an x-acto knife and cutting mat, that works too. Be very careful when cutting out the rounded shapes and corners!!! They are very fragile and can tear easily. You want to be as precise as possible so that your puzzle fits together nicely.

Step 5: Test Your Puzzle

diy jigsaw puzzle pieces put together to create final images

Now revel in your accomplishment! Take your puzzle pieces and mix them up. You can test out your own craft creation and try to complete the puzzle. When you’ve gotten your puzzle fix, store each piece in a little DIY envelope or bag and add it to your happy mail!

Before you send your puzzle to your pen pal, be sure to include a small copy of the original image so they know what image they’re trying to solve for.

I hope you enjoyed this easy DIY pen pal gift. It’s so fun and customizable that you can use this for any theme you want. If you give this a try, please take a photo and tag me on Instagram @postieclub. I’d love see your puzzles!

x Leslie

Pin it & save this DIY for later!

flat lay of completed jigsaw puzzle