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Topic: Photo Puzzle Box  (Read 6186 times)
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« on: August 30, 2005 08:19:11 PM »

Here is a present I made for my dad for his birthday.  It's based off a german puzzle box we had when I was little.  It was made of 12 wooden cubes that fit together into a rectangle.  Each side had a picture of a different farm animal.  

I recently took a long trip to Africa to do research, so I created a puzzle box with pictures from my trip decoupaged onto the cubes.  I was able to find an unfinished wooden box in the right size.  I xeroxed a copy of the section of the map of Zambia, using the section of the country I was working in.  I decoupaged that to the top with a snakeskin border from a scrapbooking sticker set.  Here are some photos of the box.  My dad's birthday isn't until the end of September, so he won't get it for a while, but I hope he likes it.  I'm thinking of doing something similar for my neice, using pictures of wildlife from my trip.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2010 08:28:53 AM by rackycoo - Reason: to fix images » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Work is love made visible.
                            --Kahlil Gibran

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.           
                            --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2005 08:24:56 PM »

i just have a few things to say:

1. that's a great gift!

2. how awesome that you got to do research in africa!

3. how did you get the cubes to fit the box?

4. let's hope your dad doesn't check craftster and see his present early Tongue

« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2005 09:31:37 PM »

What an amazing idea! Is there a trick to decoupaging the cubes in a certain order so you don't end up with a mismatched picture at the end?

corduroy cat
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2005 04:17:24 AM »

what an amazing gift! you're dad will love it Smiley i'd like a tut if you don't mind?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2005 07:15:51 AM »

Hi Everyone!  Thanks so much for your positive feedback. 

Qwerty--The cubes just happen to fit the box.  The cubes are pre-cut, unfinished 'turnings' from the craft store.  These are 1 1/2".  The box just happened to be the right size (though in fact it's slightly too big, but not enough to matter).   Oh, and, he's not so much a craftster kind of guy Smiley

Regansbox--The cubes could be in any order.  However, if you want the cubes to be in the same order for each picture (that is, when the cubes are assembled correctly, all you have to do is flip them over and a new picture is formed, which is how the kid's puzzle I had was made) then you have to make sure they don't get out of order when you decoupage them.  Decoupage one side, let it dry, then flip all the cubes to the same new side. 

Teamwang--I don't have the box with me anymore (I left it at my folks') so I can't take any more pictures for a tutorial.  If I make another, I can do a photo tut. 

For now, I will try to explain how it was done.

1.  Select cubes.  I used the 1 1/2" cubes, but only because I couldn't find any 1" cubes.  4 cubes by 3 cubes of 1 1/2" fit a 4 1/2" X 6" photo.  But you could have 24 1" cubes for a 4" X 6".

2.  Find a box in the right size.  The one I found was 1 1/2" high, 6 1/4" wide, and 4 3/4" deep.  It would be easier to find the right box if you use 1" cubes (and also easier to get the photos to fit). 

3.  Select the photos.  You need six of them, plus one for the top, and one for the inside of the top (and one for the inside bottom, if you want).   Any or all of these could be copies of one of the six pictures you've selected, or they could be totally different but related pictures.  If you want, you can choose photos that are all horiztonal.  I didn't--I picked the best, and some were horizontal and some vertical.  Pictures without too much fine detail will probably work better.  Incidentally, you don't have to pick photos.  You could choose other kinds of pictures.  Like clip art, vintage pictures, pictures from a kids' book....

4.  Print the photos.  As it was, I had to trim the photos quite a bit.  I needed them to be 4 1/2" X 6" but most printers print them as 4" X 6" or 5" X 7" and will crop them if you try to do another size.  Maybe there's some way to foil the print and fax viewer, but I haven't found it yet.  So I printed 5" X 7" and cut them down to fit.  I used high resolution paper.  I liked it because it kept the colors clear but was thinner, and therefore easier to decoupage, than photo paper.

5.  Trim and cut the photos.  My mom has a really nice paper cutter with the whole deck marked with both 1/2" and 1 cm increments.  That made it easy to get the right sizes, and to make sure that the edges were clean and straight.  If you don't have a paper cutter at home, I recommend having the pictures printed at a copy shop and using theirs, because it makes a huge difference.  In the end I had six photos, each cut into twelve equal 1 1/2" squares. 

6.  Decoupage one side of the cubes. 

7.  While the cubes dry, stain the box.  I used an oil stain, but you could use a stain with poly already in it if you wanted.

8.  While the stain dries, decoupage another side of the cubes.  The first side doesn't have to be fully dry before you do the next side; only mostly dry (1/2 to 1 hour in between sides).

9.  While the cubes dry, decoupage the top of the box.  Here's one note.  If you decoupage the top with plain paper, DO NOT stain the whole top.  The oil will soak through the paper.  If you want an antique-y look, that might work.  But I didn't like it, and had to redo the photo to put over the top after the first round of mod podge had dried.

10.  Keep going, alternating between the cubes and the box, until everything is decoupaged.  Let dry for a long time before you disturb the pieces.  The cubes should be resting on the first side you covered.  Then after a few hours (or overnight) then they should be flipped. 

11.  Wrap up pretty and present!


Work is love made visible.
                            --Kahlil Gibran

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.           
                            --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2005 08:01:07 AM »

this definetly Rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2005 08:35:31 AM »

You've done such a great job, what a nice memory of your time in Africa! Great idea. Perfect!

« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2005 09:49:25 PM »

Thanks guys!

Work is love made visible.
                            --Kahlil Gibran

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.           
                            --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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I love being a mom!!

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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2005 10:21:08 PM »

Awesome work!!  And thanks for the inspiration (now I know what to make my sister for Christmas Grin)


I'm back after a long time away and trying to find time to craft as I adjust to life as a mom!
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Hi my name is Jessica I have a yarn buying problem

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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2005 08:27:54 PM »

that is super super cool!! i am officially jelous of that...and the fact that you got to go to africa, ive been wanting to go for ages....what were you studying over there exactly??

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