It's a Puzzler: Sew A Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Every parent knows the story: jigsaw puzzles are fun to work, but tough to work around. What's the solution to tying up table tops or floor space with a puzzle work in progress?

Its a Puzzler! This one-seam easy-sew puzzle allows puzzles to be worked at will, then rolled up and stowed away between play sessions. It's crafted from a short length of craft felt and a recycled gift wrap roller.

Make them in multiples for the holidays. The Puzzler puzzle mat is perfect for teacher gifts. Paired with a new puzzle, the Puzzler makes a special family gift.

Materials and Supplies:

  • 1 yard 72-inch wide craft felt fabric
  • (one yard makes two Puzzlers; buy felt online from joann.com)
    thread to match

  • recycled cardboard gift wrap roller, 28 to 32 inches long
  • 2 9"-10" hook-and-loop straps to secure mat
  • (find pre-made Velcro-brand hook-and-loop straps at crafts and home improvement stores)

  • sewing machine
  • pins
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • optional: craft paint and stencils

Instructions:

1. Using the gift wrap roller as a guide, cut one rectangle of craft felt. The narrow end should measure the length of the roller, the longer end should measure that length plus 5 inches, to create the roller pocket. Use a rotary cutter and ruler for best results.

From the scraps, cut two 4-inch by 5-inch rectangles to cover roller ends.

2. Place roller along the shorter side of the large rectangle. Fold the felt over the roller to create a pocket, and pin to secure. Carefully remove the roller.

Using sewing machine, sew a straight seam down the length of the roller pocket. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Remember to remove pins as you sew!

3. Align small rectangles around the edges of the roller, and trim to fit exactly. Use the hot glue gun to glue the small rectangle around the outside of the roller.

Carefully fold the rectangle to the inside of the roller and secure with hot glue.

4. Carefully slide roller into the pocket. Felt will stretch, so be gentle! Roll mat onto roller and secure with hook-and-loop straps.

5. Optional: for a "professional" finish, personalize puzzle mat using crafts paint and stencils.