Thursday, 26 December 2013

How to make a Scramble Square (9 piece matching puzzle)

So I made my darling twin a little puzzle for Christmas to take advantage of her new obsession that I managed to pass along to her :). I made her a Loki scramble square as pictured below and I thought I'd share how I did it in case you're all feeling creative too.

If you would like to make the same one you can download the image below, just by clicking on it to see it full size. Otherwise you can use it as a pattern. It's based on the tropical frog Scramble Square pattern and I can promise it's hard to do because we had four people try it yesterday afternoon and no one could do it :).

To Make Your Base Image

Image 1
To make the base image you need 4 images of your chosen theme. I had 4 pictures of Loki, you could use kittens or puppies or Thor or anything else cute that takes your fancy :).

Cut these out in an image program so they have a transparent back ground and then add in guide lines underneath somewhere around the centre of each image (see image 1 - this is to help with placement).
Image 2
As a base you need an image divided up into nine equal parts and I had black lines around the edge and across the centre to mark out the divides and help with the cutting (Image 2). Your edge black should be half the width of the dividing black lines which will be split in half on cutting of the puzzle. You want them to all end up equal so there are no give aways as to what is edge and what is join.

You don't have to have these, you can just make the image slightly bigger and have markers to show where to cut around the edge if you prefer (in this case you would need a precision cutting implement). (I have an Adobe Photoshop file here for those who have the program blank.psd).

Image 3
Next add in guide lines down the centre of each square - this is for image placement (Image 3). If your editing program doesn't have guides, just use a new layer and draw in lines - you can remove them before printing.
Image 4
Now take your first theme image and place it on one of the squares using the guide lines on the image and on the background. The vertical guide line on your theme image must line up with the centre blue guide line and the horizontal guide line should line up with the black line on the edge you are crossing (Image 4).

Make sure your images are above the black lines so that they will meet over the edge of the pieces. Repeat with your first theme image to form the same pattern as on the Loki scramble square above, rotating the image where necessary.

Repeat  this for your other three images as well. Always make sure to use the guidelines or it will be obvious which images line up with which.

Image 5
Go through and edit the individual theme images to remove the guide lines as in image 5 to the left.

You can leave the background blank, but I think it looks much more interesting if you have something behind the images. To do this, create a square of whatever background you would like just big enough to fit on one of the nine pieces. Then place one of each of these backgrounds on each piece underneath all other parts of the image, remembering to rotate it every now and then so there is no particular way up to it. You should end up with something like the complete Loki scramble square shown at the top.

Turn off the blue guidelines.

How to Make the Puzzle
You will need:
  • 1 A4 (or local equivalent) print of your base image
  • 1 A4 (or local equivalent) piece of black card
  • paper glue (photo mount is best - it must be strong and must not cause wrinkles)
  • 1 A4 (or local equivalent) laminating pouch
  • laminator (my laminator is a hot one, I have no idea if cold laminators adhere in the same way)
  • scissors (or accurate guillotine or craft knife and ruler)
How to go about construction:
  1. Print out your image with the fit to paper option.
  2. Glue your print out onto your card and leave to dry completely (our photo mount suggested 24hr)
  3. Place the construct into a laminating pouch and laminate it.
  4. Being incredibly careful cut along the dividing lines and around the edges making sure not to leave any obvious imperfections.
Congratulations, your puzzle is complete. Because the laminating pouch adheres to the paper and card you now have a nicely plasticised surface on the top and bottom of your pieces to prevent damage. If your glue is not durable enough your image and your card might come apart at this point, hence the need for good glue.

Now all you have to do is give the puzzle to someone and watch them stare at it for hours or try it yourself :).


  1. thanks so much for this! my girlfriend is in love with these so i thought i would see how to make them. thanks for making it possible!

  2. Awe-some! Thank you so much :-)

  3. This was a perfect explanation!! My niece is going to love her unicorn puzzle!


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