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If one has a very large puzzle of an image that one desires to mount and frame; what kind of glues would damage the puzzle piece over time?

I have heard of 'puzzle glues', but question if this is anything more than just a glue sold by a puzzle company.

Does anyone have experience with puzzles that were mounted for long periods of time? Anyone have experience from old / historic puzzles that they have seen mounted? What about when the puzzle is very large (6' x 8' / 2 x 2.5m)?

I assume the backing material is part of the 'solution', too.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note quite serious answer, hence comment only: Take a good, digital picture of your assempled puzzle and develop it as a poster-sized repro to hang on the wall. (Of course it can also be an analog foto.) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 1 '16 at 15:11
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I have solved Ravensburger's Neuschwanstein castle (5000 pcs) some ten years ago.

enter image description here

It has an impressive size of 153 x 101 cm (see details on 5000 pcs puzzles).

Once the puzzle was solved, I used this Puzzle Conserver from Ravensburger:

enter image description here

I think nowadays a newer item replaced this, called Puzzle Glue & Go.

Note that this "glue" should be used on the surface of the puzzle. It has the following features: the glue will protect the surface of your puzzle from UV, and on the other hand, as the liquid goes into the puzzle pieces, it will make it just slightly bigger. Because of this, the puzzle pieces will stick together very firmly. I let it dry for probably a day.

Once done, I turned the puzzle upside down, and applied good old double-sided tape (maybe also called as double sided tissue tape?) of width some 30cm to the back of the puzzle...

enter image description here

...and mounted it to a cartonplast sheet of slightly larger size:

enter image description here

I put heavy books onto it to make sure the glue works.

Once done, I mounted two wooden plies to the sheet's top and bottom horizontally, to give it some weight. The puzzle is mounted in my parent's house ever since, and while it is facing 90 degrees to the window, I cannot tell that if it has any kind of damage, or wear-and-tear. It looks just the same way as back then when I put it together.

Edit: here is how it looks now.

enter image description here

The picture above gives a good overall impression on how such a project could look like in the end. Unfortunately, my cellphone is not good enough to make meaningful close-range photos about the puzzle pieces, as the room is rather dark, and there is too much noise in the pictures. I would like to mention to shortcomings of this approach. (1) On the right hand side of the image a wrinkle/bump on the cartonplast (and its shade on the right) is clearly visible. I think the choice of a somewhat heavier frame on the bottom end could have helped. (2) You need to make a decision regarding how big of double-sided glue tape you wish to use on your picture. If you decide to cover every bit of your puzzle, then there is a slight risk that the excess tape will need to be removed. I decided to do this, and once the picture was ready, I cut the excessive tape with a paper cutter. This should be done very carefully. Remember that the intentions were to display the puzzle at home, and not at an art gallery for the public.

Note that while I originally thought that a glass or plastic cover will be necessary, the sole weight of those make such a diy work nearly impossible. A glass frame of this size is also rather expensive. Therefore I do not recommend using that.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 one for going to the length of providing images. It would be even better, if you could add an image of your final puzzle in the state it is now (10 years later), if possible. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 1 '16 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your suggestion. If I will remember it, I could provide such a photo sometimes during the upcoming Christmas holidays. $\endgroup$ – Matsmath Dec 1 '16 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ That would be much appreciated. If you can, please (also) take one photo close to the puzzle, so that the changes (to pieces, their color/printing, glue material, etc) are evident. Thank you! So glad to hear someone try that glue to see how it goes $\endgroup$ – New Alexandria Dec 1 '16 at 15:06
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Don't use glue at all, just tightly "trap" the puzzle between a backing board (behind) an acrylic or glass sheet (front), and plastic/wood around the edges to stop the puzzle pieces falling out, secured to both the back and front.

I've never seen a professional one, but I've seen a few made by a moderately skilled DIY'er with a few lengths of Balsa wood and a sheet of acrylic.

The idea is to surround the puzzle and hold it immobile in every direction, without enough clearance for the pieces to dislodge. Ideally the thickness of the wood would be the same as the thickness of the puzzle pieces, but you can place another thinner backing board behind the puzzle if needed.

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  • $\begingroup$ What about when the puzzle is 'too large'... e.g. 6'x8' (2 x 2.5m)? $\endgroup$ – New Alexandria Nov 30 '16 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ The above should still work, but you may need to use a thicker backing board and place some strategic screws to hold the acrylic and backing board tight together $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Dec 5 '16 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ I think that putting screws (even tiny stud nails) through the acrylic is highly unconventional for a framed picture. $\endgroup$ – New Alexandria Dec 5 '16 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ I find it works quite well on larger puzzles, and you really don't need many - it just keeps the acrylic from bending away from the wood and puzzle pieces $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Dec 5 '16 at 19:10
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If you want to permanently mount your puzzle, then an 'archival adhesive' is probably what you want. They are acid-free and, if you use an acid-free mounting board, should not lead to degradation of paper, cardboard, or wood-based materials. Acid-free adhesives and boards can be sourced from specialist art and/or photography supply shops.

But there will be other sources of potential damage over time - a lot of 'puzzles' (jigsaws?) will fade if subjected to UV light for long periods and there is the risk of insect damage (fly-spots) and general dust and dirt if the picture doesn't have a glass cover. A permanent solution for dust and dirt would be to paint or spray on a clear art varnish (but test for compatibility).

If you want to be able to remove your puzzle at a later data it may be more difficult, although there used to be a product called "Photogrip Mountant" that acted a bit like the glue on the back of postit notes - but could be rubbed off the back surface of a glossy photo paper. It was really designed for non-permanently fixing photos into an album, so I'm not sure if it would last long term for wall-mounting.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wow, that's an old question dug up again! ;c) I wonder if the OP can provided his/her solution in the meantime? $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 1 '16 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ @BmyGuest I never did mount it because I didn't want to use the wrong materials. Puzzle is still in 8 (or 16?) sections, stored after it was assembled. Glass seemed too large for the puzzle, and I never see it used in museum with large-format paintings (except when the entire painting is within a glass case.) $\endgroup$ – New Alexandria Dec 1 '16 at 15:08

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