Monday, September 9, 2013

71 A Not So Puzzling Storage Solution!

I recently shared that my oldest has a love for doing puzzles.  There could be worse things right?  In fact, I adore this little fact about him.  He has been a puzzle fanatic since he was a babe, he would even stay in from recess during his elementary days, just to do puzzles with his teacher.

The puzzle doing is not a problem in any way.  It is where he does his puzzles.  That has always been the problem.  Sure, we have a phenomenal playroom, which we use and love and adore on a daily basis.  But that is the problem.  Tracks, cities, Lego builds galore.  There is no room for puzzle doing; especially when two younger brothers are involved.  The younger two are more interested in breaking the puzzles, than doing them. 

So up until recently, Preston had been trying to do his puzzles on his desk space in his bedroom.  During the summer, there was no problem with that, other than the fact that he was a bit limited with his space.  Now that the school year has begun, I put the kibosh on puzzles on the desk.  His desk is for studies, the puzzles needed a new place to live.


To ensure the kid could get back to his hobby ASAP, we whipped up a super simple solution which we love like crazy.

We started the project with a smooth, white desktop from IKEA.  We selected this larger size, but there is also one a little bit smaller and it only costs $6!  When you factor in the size along with the nice glossy finish, I took the easy route and selected not to head to the home improvement store and purchase a large, heavy piece of wood which would need to be cut down, given four coats of paint along with multiple coats of a glossy finish.  The finished desktop was a super fantastic alternative, and it is light weight which is another plus!

We tested the desktop on his carpet, and it slid around nice and smooth.   The bottom of the desk also has a nice finish, so there was no snagging or issues with movement on the carpet.  If you have hard floors, you could always add some furniture moving pads or casters, to ease the sliding motion.

Now, we could have just left the board alone, as it was already a great puzzle building surface, but we wanted to allow Preston to slide the puzzle away under his bed in-between uses.  This way, it would have less risk of being broken, kicked, or in the way. 

To prevent the puzzle from sliding off of the board when being pulled out from under the bed {bedding could snag the pieces and pull them off of the board, as could a jolting movement}, we added a small piece of molding around the perimeter of the desktop.

To do this, we started with this vinyl molding from Home Depot.   It was already finished in a nice white, which again, would require no painting or color matching on our part.  We cut the angled corners with our miter box {one of our most favorite tools ever}.


Then used our brad nailer, to affix the trim around the outside of the desktop.


Once the trim was complete, I also wanted to give him an easy way to pull the puzzle board out.  Knowing that we were going to work on this project, I scoured our local Goodwill for a cheapo belt to DIY a nice little pull.  Standard drawer pulls wouldn't affix to the front easily, as there is no back to screw in from, therefore, we needed to create something on our own.  I thought a leather belt would be a simple and sophisticated option, and I struck belt gold.  {Please note, I never find what I am looking for in thrift stores when I need it, so this was a small miracle.}  The piece we used was a small section of a larger belt.  We just screwed the belt handle directly into the desktop, with typical screws.


After using white caulk on the nail holes, we were left with this awesomeness!




The small ledge, keeps pieces from sliding off of the smooth top, yet allows Preston to easily work over the top.



And the handle couldn't have worked out better!



Once the project was finished, we started this 100 piece puzzle for the photos.  He is beyond that size, but I wanted to show some scale.  He has plenty of room to work on his much larger sized puzzles, and there is no more worry about losing pieces or wondering where to put the partially assembled puzzle in-between sessions.  The final dimensions for this puzzle board is 47 1/4 x 23 5/8", which means he has four amazing feet of space to play with!


Gotta love a not so puzzling, super simple storage solution like this one! 

Anyone else as puzzle crazed as my son?  How do you keep your puzzles safe when not in use?


71 comments:

  1. I love this idea for puzzles. My son is the same and loves doing puzzles but leaves them out and in the way. Thanks for the idea!
    *Renee*

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  2. This is such a brilliant idea Jen! I am a big fan of puzzles myself, but I never know where to put them so they won't be in the way. Might need to make one of these for myself :)

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  3. That is a lot fancier than our solution. :) We bought a large piece of foam core board and wrapped the edges with masking tape to form a (tiny) little ledge. It works, but I like your idea much better! :)

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  4. Absolutely fantastic. Cheaper than even the roll up puzzle things. Got me exactly one of those desktops from IKEA. Hmmm... I could use this for myself hiding the puzzle under our bed from little fingers. Love!

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  5. I am thinking if maybe this idea would work for my son's Lego hobby.

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    1. Oooh, totally could work for that as well! :)

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    2. I found something similar on Pinterest for Legos. I am going to have hubby build it for my little boy and his lego obsession. http://pinterest.com/pin/147844800238757724/

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    3. Legos, Polly Pocket villages, Squinkies.......all these teeny, tiny objects slowly taking over my daughter's room. The wheels are turning now! Thanks Jen!

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  6. I love doing puzzles and also started to put them away under the bed no a larger piece of wood, but this idea is so much better! Love it!

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  7. As a bit of a puzzle nut myself, I love this idea. So simple, so clever. Awesome!

    S x

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  8. Brilliant. Can lift the whole for a higher table, too, love that.

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  9. My husband and I LOVE puzzles. So relaxing to know that the pieces all fit together in only one way, and we don't have any issues to solve, other than to find the right piece for the right spot.

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  10. So clever. I may have to look into doing this just for me.

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  11. Brilliant idea, and great execution! I love it!

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  12. We just used to use a piece of plywood that was supposed to be the back of an IKEA Billy bookshelf.

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  13. I thought that you said he was a "stuffer"? Won't his puzzles get wrecked, or is this a tricky way to prevent him from stuffing???

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    1. Oh, he is, but we are working on it. And hopefully this will help with that... I know he would be frustrated if he wrecked his own puzzle.

      xo,
      Jen

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  14. I love doing puzzles - even the peg ones with my one year old. I use a roll up mat for mine but this is so much cuter!

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  15. Great idea! Quick question for the handle: How did you manage to get both sides of the belt to look the same? Did you have to modify the belt for that, or was that how you found it?

    I may have to do this myself. Great job!

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    1. It was part of a larger belt, it came that way. I am guessing there was a 1/10,000,000 change of finding something so perfect. But if you can't find one like that, they can easily be cut.

      xo!
      Jen

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  16. Wonderful idea, very neat, sturdy and useful! I'm sure you already know this, but your boy's extreme interest and drive to do puzzles is very concrete proof of high intelligence. It's a great sign! -Anita Y. in Southern California

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    1. He is a smart fella, love the correlation. Thanks for the sweetness Anita!

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  17. How does he like doing puzzles on the floor so far compared to sitting at the desk? It seems like it would be uncomfortable for an older child for any length of time but maybe that's just me being old! LOL

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    1. He doesn't seem to mind at all. I am also considering tossing a floor pillow in there for him to use for longer periods of time. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  18. I have always loved doing puzzles but hated how much space they take up... Great idea!

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  19. We have something similar, but not nearly as nice for my son's lego! I love how clean and tidy yours is. I think I am going to have to share this with my husband. Thanks!

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  20. Ilove that he loves an 'old school' activity....so nice to see in the age of iPads and video games!

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    1. I agree, he loves his video games as well, but puzzles will always be his first love. :D

      xo,
      Jen

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  21. Where does he store the puzzles in their boxes?

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    1. Hi there!

      We store them all in large bins in our playroom. We transfer the puzzles to zipper bags to take up less room. You can see the at the bottom of this post: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/03/pretty-pretty-diy-fabric-boxes-link.html

      xo!
      Jen

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    2. Jen - do you keep the picture of the puzzle somewhere? Do you cut it out and put it in the bag too?

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  22. How lovely! I'm still young at heart and love puzzles, but they take up so much room in my small apartment. This would be great to go under my couch.

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  23. Love this idea! It's so nice and neat. We've been using foam project boards to hold my son's puzzles. He's 12 so he can pick up the foam board and place it on a shelf until he's ready to use it again. When he's done, he just stacks them on top of each other until we have the chance to glue each puzzle. Once the glue is dried, we display the puzzle as if it's a picture on an easel. He's got so many completed now that I need to buy some picture frames to frame them in and hang them in his room and elsewhere in the house.

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  24. That is a fabulous idea! We never have room to do puzzles on in our house and now I know how to fix that.

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  25. I love that idea! I would even move it to a tabletop to work and then stash it back under my bed in between uses, for myself. For little kids tho, the floor is fine most times.

    Great job!

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  26. This is a fantastic idea! I need to make something similar for my son and his Legos. He would love it. I would have to add something to the bottom since we don't have carpet, but I am sure we can come up with something!

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  27. So smart! My daughter loves puzzles, but hers are still small enough to do in one sitting. I'll be keeping this in mind for the future!

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  28. I LOVE this...wish I had one as a kid!!!

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  29. YES my son is 7 and OBSESSED with puzzles. He begged and begged for this 1000 piece puzzle the other day...and he is doing so good! It is such an amazing thing to love...if only I could get him to love reading close to as much ;)

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    1. I bet you can! Would he like this? http://amazingwizkids.com/luncheonoftheboatingparty-1.aspx It's a puzzle of a Renoir painting accompanied by a biography of the artist. I bet he'd also like reading about great puzzle makers and how they do it - like Will Shortz (NY Times crosswords puzzle master), Sam Loyd (http://puzzles.about.com/od/brainteasers/a/samloydbio.htm) - he might be really interested in reading about his favorite hobby and how it's done!

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  30. All I can say is WOW! How are you that creative! You are genius!!! It's ridiculous how you can come up with this stuff! I LOVE it! I seriously can't get enough. I hope you never stop blogging! xo, Amber

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  31. Such a genius idea! I have to make this for my son, he also loves puzzles :)

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  32. My daughters (ages 3 and 5) would love this because they like to make a bunch of puzzles and line them up on the floor. Their puzzles are still small enough at this point that they could get a bunch on here! We don't have under-bed storage, but we do have under-couch storage...hmmm. For now, I bought them each a wooden serving tray with high sides. Each tray is large enough to hold a puzzle-in-progress, a Lego project, or a "story" made from tiny Lalaloopsy, Strawberry Shortcake, and Littlest Pet Shop stuff. If it's in your tray, nobody can touch it unless you're voluntarily working together on something. :)

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  33. That is amazing!! I love how simple it was and that you didn't try to DIY the entire thing. Genius. Thanks!

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  34. This is very clever! I'm always looking for "extra" spaces to organize all of my boys, stuff... Mmm the creative juices are flowing!
    Thank you! It is a joy to come to your blog!

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  35. Such a great idea. I love jigsaw puzzles myself but have struggled to find somewhere to store them. This is a great solution. Thanks for sharing.

    www.petitestyleonline.com

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  36. You never cease to amaze me, Mrs Jones! Genius!

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  37. So smart! And I love those $6 table tops form IKEA - what a steal!

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  38. Do you have Dollar Stores in your neck of the woods? I bought several puzzles there ($1 each) and they are surprisingly HARD (which I loved). Many hours of enjoyment for a buck. I think they have 500 small pieces.

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  39. AWESOME!!! Seriously. I am going to be doing a spin on this for my boys room because we have the same issue!!

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  40. Some years ago I was fortunate to run into a carboard box top about this same size with 1" sides all around. It lives behind my computer desk when not holding a puzzle or other projects.

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    1. Excellent, no new materials used for this and when it is of no use anymore you can just recycle it.

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  41. Love this post! My mom and I do lots of puzzles together but always find it creates more of a mess then anything. I will have to make this so it can be tucked under my sofa when its not being worked on and get back to doing puzzles with my mom. Thanks!

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  42. One of my favorite projects of yours to date, due to its simplicity and effectiveness at solving such an annoying problem! I don't have kids yet but might make one of these workspaces for myself just for the heck of it. The fact that your eldest boy loves doing puzzles melts my heart. -Sarah

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  43. What a fabulous idea...wish I'd had one growing up because I did a lot of puzzles too. My mom has a special table in her sunroom for just puzzles..she does 1 a week. Such a cool hobby and good for your mind! Thanks for sharing and btw the BELT handle...wayyyy cool!

    hugz,
    Suzanne

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  44. What a great great idea!! Love that you are so encouraging and supportive of his hobby!! I wish my boy were less-xbox, more puzzle!! the leather pull is perfection!

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  45. LOVE this idea! My kids have trundles under their beds but I think this would work great under the couch! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  46. My problem would be to keep the dogs from eating the puzzle pieces. Must keep the door shut. This is such a smart solution!

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  47. Smart creation! I like the belt idea and sharp white colour... looks very professional :)

    Claire

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  48. Love this. I did it for my son. Best part was I found tabletop in scratch n dent section @ ikea for $5!!! He has a trundle bed, so we will store it under the living room sofa (vs. being laid out on coffee table forever). I added furniture rollers to help it slide on tile floor, dug up an old belt from my hubbies closet and for less than $10 and a few minutes, have a GREAT puzzle table. Thx.

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    1. Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for popping by to share this update! Sounds like you really scored big, congrats! I hope it brings oodles of puzzle happiness!

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  49. My husband's family has been a big advocate for a company called "Par Puzzles" and last year he commissioned them to make a special one just for our family. They are heirlooms that are passed down from generation to generation and are incredibly special, but as such, need to be taken great care with. He made his own puzzle board for when we're working on it out of basic wood with a little lip around the edge, but it's unfinished wood and now that our little one is about to arrive, I worry about splintered fingers. I absolutely love your awesome solution!

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