Altered Puzzle Projects: Collaborative Art that Fits Perfectly Together

This week’s DIY Tutorial will teach you how to recycle a puzzle into a one of a kind, collaborative piece of art! brings you two altered puzzle projects with completely different approaches.  The first was done by Kira Nichols, talented artist and blogger for  

She took a 24 piece Winnie the Pooh puzzle which she purchased at the Dollar Store and completely transformed it into a dazzling piece of art. 


Pretty cool, huh?  Kira’s methods included doodles, music ledgers, photographs, fabrics, old ticket stubs and some metal elements as well.  This project is great for children and adults alike and costs very little to complete!  So next time you find yourself with a hankering for crafting, give this a try!


Our second altered puzzle project comes from Nico Ratoff  a.k.a Tiger Eyebrows because, well, instead of eyebrows, he has two tigers running toward each other on his face!

Nico is the director of Rebel Butterfly Press, which publishes chapbooks, poetry, children’s stories, and more.

Play Party Organizer, Tiger Eyebrows

Puzzle Play Event Organizer, Tiger Eyebrows © Jes M. Baker

Nico gathered some of Tucson’s finest local artisans and invited each of them to turn a one square foot plywood puzzle piece into a work of art that was representative of one of his forthcoming literary works.

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12 of 160 pieces from the Puzzle Play Event

The puzzle was created by purchasing 100 sq. ft. sheets of plywood and tracing a complete puzzle on these sheets.  Then, the 160 puzzle pieces were carved by woodworking students at the University of Arizona as an assignment.  Each piece was given out and returned, with a new and wonderful aesthetic created with a variety of mediums.

The pieces were made so they are able to fit comfortably together to create a large wall mural, which was exhibited at Epic Cafe in Tucson, AZ.  The event attendees assembled the puzzle pieces to make a big ol’ puzzle.  Take a look at how it all came together in the video below!

What an inventive community event! This project has many different metaphoric pieces as well.  Nico felt compelled to make this project happen as a means to piece his own memory together.  Nico suffers from PTSD and as a result, has lost parts of his short and long term memory.

In an attempt to use art as a therapeutic and healing power, Nico chronologically tracked his writing projects and with each puzzle piece he gave a snippet of his writings to use as inspiration when designing the piece.  So each piece is a part of Nico’s memory that was being pieced together to make him feel whole again.

The project as a whole was installation art with living elements as well as book elements – wordplay taken to its extreme.

We are appreciative to have such an innovative mind creating events like this in our southwest community.


1 Comment

  • Reply January 2, 2014


    Wow Beautiful Arts, Thanks

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