How can I reuse or recycle jigsaws?

We’ve had an email from Kathy asking about getting rid of her children’s old jigsaws:

I just know they’ve got pieces missing so would feel bad about giving them to a charity shop. They’re cardboard with a shiny paper top so they could be recycled?

Probably – as long as it’s just paper and not plastic laminate. Most (but not all) paper recycling bins take light card & glossy paper but best to check the advice in your area.

Since it’s getting to the dog days of the summer holidays and they’ll be bored, perhaps use child labour to do the jigsaws and check for missing pieces, then you’ll know what’s missing. If it’s not an important piece, you could mark on the box what is missing and some charity shops/thrift shops still might take them.

Other than that, I’ve seen old puzzle pieces used as decorations in a number of craft projects – photo frames & on ornaments and to make Christmas decorations (wreaths & baubles).

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by pzado)

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8 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle jigsaws?”

  1. Katy1946 says:

    Once you’ve determined the missing pieces(s) make replacements out of suitable material even if that means gluing layers of cardboard together to get the proper thickness. Then you can either draw an approximation of the design or make it a solid color as a marker piece. Now it’s ready to donate.

  2. Making your own replacement pieces is a great idea, thanks! Now there isn’t a need to recycle or compost an otherwise good jigsaw puzzle!

  3. Bobbie says:

    I was thinking that a puzzle would make a great table top, even with missing pieces. For it to be effective I think it would have to be lacquered or laminated somehow, hopefully someone knows a “green” way to do this.

  4. glitterpixie says:

    puzzle pieces make fab dangly earrings. just push a jump ring through one end and attach an earring finding. they look awesome. don’t know if you know the shop octopus? – they used to sell them for like £10 a pair. obviously you probably wouldn’t want that many puzzle earrings yourself but if you’re crafty they would make great gifts or donate to a local jewellery maker. here’s what they look like (just found it on about)

  5. diane says:

    I like glitterpixies idea. Have seen jigsaw pieces as necklace bits too also have seen old jigsaws framed up and put on walls, perhaps with a bit of colored paper behind the jigsaw in the frame it would make the jigsaw look more artistic. Have also seen old jigsaw pieces made into fridge magnets. Off the top of my head am thinking that they could be attached to pins for a cork board..

  6. Charity shops in the UK love jigsaw puzzles.

    If you ever have any that you are going to throw away, consider the possibility of giving them to a local charity.

    Some of the larger piece puzzles are also suitable for elderly care homes. They are always grateful for things like this.

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