Tutorial: Repair a Puzzle with a Handmade Puzzle Piece

Tutorial: Repair a Puzzle with a Handmade Puzzle Piece

Dumpster-diving one fine Sunday afternoon, my girls and I found an awesome Arthur and Friends alphabet puzzle. Since it was free (coming from the dumpster and all), I let the girls grab it, anticipating the inevitable.

It’s a puzzle. Of COURSE it had a missing piece.

To stave off the small child devastation, I took a hard look at the puzzle, complete but for that one blank spot, and experienced a burst of inspiration. We could totally fix that!

Do you have some art supplies, nice paper, glue, and chipboard or cardboard?

Do you have a puzzle with a missing middle piece? Not an edge piece?

Then you, too, can repair a puzzle by creating a handmade and hand-drawn puzzle piece to replace the one that got lost. Whether the replacement is realistic or artistic, it’ll be all yours, and therefore even better than the original.

Repair a Puzzle with a Handmade Puzzle Piece


  • the rest of the puzzle, all put together on your work surface
  • art supplies
  • high-quality paper for your illustration (Strathmore or any other professional quality papers are an excellent surface for your art)
  • cardboard or chipboard the approximate thickness of your puzzle. You could use cereal boxes or cracker boxes and glue two or more pieces together for the perfect thickness
  • Mod Podge


1. Slide your art paper underneath the puzzle, so that it’s completely overlapped by the space left by the missing puzzle piece.

2. Using a pencil with a very sharp tip, trace the missing puzzle piece as close to the edge as you can get. This will ensure a good fit for your new puzzle piece.

Tutorial: Repair a Puzzle with a Handmade Puzzle Piece

3. If you want to replicate the missing piece accurately, use the surrounding puzzle pieces and the illustration on the box to ensure continuity of the image. However, feel free to make a creative interpretation of the missing piece. Use stickers, acrylic paints, or hand the whole project off to a kid to do.

4. Cut the new puzzle piece out of the nice paper and glue it to the chipboard.

5. When the glue has dried, you’ll need to cut the chipboard out to match the puzzle piece. You may be able to do this with your scissors, but you’ll likely need to use an x-acto knife for those sharp curves.

6. You can seal the top of your puzzle piece with a few more layers of Mod Podge, but it’s not a big deal if you don’t. After all, even if you spill something on your new puzzle piece or the ink fades, you can always make yourself another one, right?

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. I just picked up a puzzle at the thrift shop only to find that it is missing a piece as well! Thank you for the tips. By the way, I have the Arthur puzzle if you are interested.

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