Stella May I ask how you store yet to be finished puzzles?

9:30 AM Stella May 0 Comments

Of course you may! This is our puzzle mat. Now I didn't know this until recently, but did you know you can safely store away your yet to be finished puzzles by rolling it away? If I had an unfinished puzzle before, I would have probably covered it up or have started on a board so I can tuck it under the bed/sofa when we gave up. Today's Tutorial Tuesday is all about how to make this puzzle mat roll for under $5!
 What you'll need: a roll of foam and a couple of rubber bands. This piece of foam is from Michael's and can make about two puzzle mat rolls. (for 1000 piece puzzles, you can make more for smaller puzzles.) The PVC tube is totally optional and you'll see why later.
This is the label from the foam roll at Michael's. Remember they always have a 40% off coupon that can totally be applied to this!
 Now just simply roll out the foam and cut to size! This is me marking the halfway point between the roll. Can you spot little Popcorn's bedroom? We try placing him right my our bedside for the month!
When thinking about what type of material to use, me and Mister ended up with foam because they sold it in such a size we needed. The puzzle mats that I have seen on the market usually use felt. Felt is nice to hold the puzzle pieces in place and rolls very nicely, but the problem with felt is that it's a little too soft. That's why the other puzzle mats have a core in the middle to stabilize the roll. That's what ultimately made me want to make my own puzzle mat. The core that was used was made of a blow up balloon or cardboard and I thought for the price, I could probably make my own.
What I didn't realize about foam was that it makes for a really nice playing surface! The little cushion provides just enough give to piece together each of the puzzle pieces. I have the border to a 1000 piece puzzle and you can see how there is still a little border around.
 Now since this puzzle was deceivingly hard, it's time to put away the puzzle!
 The first time we tried this we took the pipe and used it guide the foam and roll up the puzzle.
As you roll, you will undoubtedly hear some cracking noises and that's okay! It doesn't mean the puzzle is breaking, it's really just the pieces separating to allow the pieces to be rolled.
Towards the end of the roll you can see that the long edges has pushed out more.
 Then just snap on some rubber bands and your are done! Tip: use different colored rubber bands to distinguish which side it the top!
 Time to unroll!
 And look all the pieces are where I left them! (Between rolling and unrolling the puzzle roll mat, I shook and flipped the mat just to check no pieces came out)
Do you see how much space is used by the pipe?
 This time we tried rolling without the pipe. & while it is a little more challenging to get it going, the foam is stiff enough to hold the pieces up.
 Look how nicely it rolls!
 Then again just rubber band it and you are all set. Now you probably won't be shaking the puzzle mat roll but rest assured that pieces won't be coming out.
And that's it! It's not really a DIY as all I did was make one cut in a foam roll and secure it all with some rubber bands, but the whole thing was just so convenient! I can now just store away a puzzle and know that I won't lose any pieces. Now this puzzle it safely in the closet and ready to come back to whenever.
Where do I get such sturdy, thick rubber bands? Check out yesterday's post. 

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