What can be more personalized than a name toy? Especially if your child is a bearer of a rare name! I remember being a girl and looking through the piles of name keychains in the store. It was always a disappointment when I couldn’t find one with my name.
You can build a name puzzle with this tutorial or order one from our shop!
My son has a particular attraction to jigsaw puzzles. When he was not yet one year old, he loved playing with puzzle pieces. Now he can unmistakably find a puzzle box in the store. I think it is the way they sound when he shakes them. So I decided to turn his name into a puzzle. He may still be too young to read, but he can grow into it, playing with letters in the meantime.
Traditionally jigsaw puzzles were made on a thin piece of wood that was painted and cut into pieces. At first these puzzles were usually representing maps and cuts were made at the borders of different countries, so it was a way to teach geography. Very nice, isn’t it? I would like to make a puzzle like this one day. The name jigsaw puzzle appeared around when crafters started using fretsaws to make them. Funny that the name seems to be a misnomor: jigsaws and fretsaws are different.
My readers will know that I am a big fan of scroll saws. And no, I do not get paid for advertising them. :-P I love the possibilities that they offer to crafters: if you want to make wooden toys for your children, get one – and your life will never be the same because your list of projects will suddenly grow ten times longer. You will be able to make an endless amount of intricately cut wooden designs, but also make straight and quick cuts. It is very simple to learn to use a scroll saw, and even though at first it might seem a little intimidating, all you need to remember is to keep your fingers away from the blade, which is the same as when you use any saw – or even a kitchen knife.
Nowadays, jigsaw puzzles are made of cardboard. It is cheaper and lighter. There is no reason why you cannot follow this tutorial, using a cardboard box as well. Then you will not need any saws – just scissors and a hobby knife.
1. First of all, on your computer make a design of a name you want to turn into a puzzle. You can use any word processor. Find a font with thick letters and print the name out on a piece of paper.
2. Cut the name out with scissors and a hobby knife. That will make a stencil for your future puzzle.
3. Transfer the name onto a piece of wood/plywood/mdf. I used a maple board. Maple is good for children’s toys: it is a beautifully textured light wood that does not splinter.
5. Using a fretsaw or a scroll saw, cut the outer shape of the name.
6. Now using a fretsaw or a scroll saw, separate letters. Sand the edges, once you are done.
Budster may be a little too young to understand the meaning of letters, but he was attracted to his new toy immediately. As a matter of fact, he climbed onto a coffee table and from there onto one dresser and then onto another – only to play with his puzzle. I had a bit of a shock, coming into the room. It is a tall dresser.
Being only twenty months old, he had difficulties putting the whole word together by himself, but he was happy to keep trying. With my help, we put the puzzle together, and then Budster added the first and the last letters. Afterwards, he took it apart again and built a tower.
I thought it was a good start to introducing letters, and I am sure that in no time Budster will be able to put his name together. Older children will certainly like learning how to spell their name in a playful manner, so they will enjoy this toy most. But it can also become a nursery decoration for little ones and an exclusive baby shower gift if you know the name of the child. Have fun building a puzzle with this tutorial or order one from our shop!