Puzzles didn't last long at our house until I found a new way to store them. Inevitably, my kids would hide pieces in places I didn't even knew existed in my house, and they would use the boxes as stepping stools until they were unusable. Now I make puzzle bags to keep them all together.
I also made a slightly larger lined bag in different colors. Click here to view that post.
When my daughter was little, we had mostly wooden puzzles, so this is what the puzzle bags for those look like. Just drill a hole in the side of your wood puzzle and attach a bag with a ribbon.
This tutorial will show you how to make the first bag shown, the simple single layer bag for cardboard puzzles.
You will need:
2- 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch pieces of bag fabric (mine was some kind of tan upholstery fabric)
1- 7 1/2 x 6 3/4 inch piece of clear vinyl
1- zipper cut to 7 1/2 inches
1- 7 1/2 inch piece of 1/4 inch bias tape (or you can make some bias tape with coordinating fabric)
1- piece of scrap fabric to make the puzzle applique
1- piece of Steam a Seam 2 or other applique adhesive material
Step 1) Cut your bag pieces and vinyl piece.
Step 2) Cut out the top of your puzzle box. This tutorial is for a box that is 6" x 6," so adjust the size of your bag if your puzzle is larger.
Step 3) Making the Applique
Take out one of your puzzle pieces and trace it onto your Steam a Seam 2. Then peel off one side of paper to temporarily adhere it to your scrap fabric and cut them out together. Put it in the center of one of the sides of the bag. I put it lower in this example, but I decided afterward that I like it better in the center.
Take the applique puzzle piece of fabric and steam it onto one of the bag pieces.
Then, with coordinating thread, set your machine to a buttonhole length stitch and zig zag all the way around the puzzle piece. There are a lot of curves, so take it slow and hand crank around the corners if needed. You can also go around the edge with fabric puff paint instead if you don't want to sew it.
Take your piece of vinyl and sew the bias tape onto one of the long sides. Make sure the wider side of the bias tape is underneath and the thinner side is on top. That way you'll make sure to catch the bottom layer as you sew.
Step 5) The Zipper
Lay your zipper down on the right side edge of one of the bag pieces and pin.
Lay your piece of vinyl on the bag side without the puzzle piece. Place the side with the bias tape below the zipper. Line up the edges with the edge of your bag.
Now put in your cut out picture and zip in all the puzzle pieces so your children won't lose them.
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