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Here's how to make a customized photo puzzle for Valentine's Day

An adorable, special gift they're sure to love

Custom photo puzzle Hero Credit: Minted

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Last night when I was visiting my grandmother, she pulled back the tablecloth from her dining room table to proudly reveal her most recent completed puzzle: a watercolor scene of Amsterdam. Then she brought out another (artsy landscape of Rome), and another (compilation of famous novels). You see, as a woman of good taste she’s been on the puzzle trend for ages. But it appears she’s not alone. 2020 saw a huge spike in puzzle sales due to the pandemic, and it seems people are still very much into it.

Now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner (T-minus 9 days, just FYI), it’s the perfect time to incorporate your newfound hobby into a sweet, personalized gift for your significant other. Enter: customizable puzzles to allow for your own photos to be the puzzle. It’s simply too cute to handle.

Here’s how to create your own custom puzzle, step-by-step.

Where to buy custom photo puzzles

photo of couple on heart shaped puzzle
Credit: Minted

We recommend Minted for your customized photo puzzle

You can find custom puzzles available at Shutterfly and Collage, but we’ve found that Minted is the best for custom products. The stationery hub known for its beautiful paper goods has an inventory full of fresh designs from independent artists, so everything is thoroughly unique and diverse. For Valentine’s Day, you can shop the collection of heart-shaped puzzles in a multitude of designs, and each one even comes with its own keepsake box to match. With so many cute designs, there’s definitely one that’s perfect for your sweetheart.

How to build a custom photo puzzle

Building a custom puzzle is super easy. All you need to do is follow these three steps.

Step 1: Pick your photo

wedding couple photo on a heart shaped puzzle
Credit: Minted

Pick a photo that's high quality and large enough so that it's nice and clear when transposed onto the puzzle

Start by choosing a favorite photo that you have with your Valentine, or one that means a lot to both of you. Try to aim for one that’s 500kb or larger so it doesn’t look pixilated once transferred onto the puzzle (extra tip: portrait-aligned pictures work best.) The photo file should also be saved under .jpg, png, or .gif for easy uploading.

Step 2: Pick a template

screenshot of template page on Minted
Credit: Minted

With so many themes to choose from, you're sure to find one that you love!

Once you have your photo, browse the series of templates available. There are tons to choose from, so take your time! There are simple and neutral designs as well as multi-colored and abstract options. You’ll find that for every design, you’re given three puzzle piece options: 12, 60, or 252 pieces. Once you’ve decided on a beautiful design, click the option with the number of puzzle pieces you want.

Unlike other customizable puzzles we've seen, pricing doesn't change depending on the number of pieces you want—it only goes up if you want to purchase multiple puzzles.

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Step 3: Customize

Screenshot of how to upload photo on Minted
Credit: Minted

Uploading your photo and customizing your design is a breeze with Minted's intuitive process

After selecting your theme, you’ll be taken to a separate page where you’re able to choose the number of puzzles you want to order as well as the color theme you’d prefer. Once that’s decided, click “Personalize.”

Now it’s time to add your photo! In the middle of your design, click the option to “Add A Photo,” then “Upload Photos.” Once your photo has been uploaded, it’ll appear in the puzzle template where you can finesse zooming, rotating, and cropping the photo so it looks perfect. The photo should fill the box and it’s normal for it to cover the design. To see how it’ll look in puzzle form, click “Preview.” When everything looks good, click “Update.”

Yay, your beautiful custom puzzle is complete! Just add your design to cart and let the fun begin!

What is Minted?

Minted is a marketplace similar to other creative sites like Society6 and Etsy that allow independent artists to sell their designs. Minted provides standard products, like puzzles, stationery, announcements, and even home decor, all of which highlight unique designs. Our staff loves Minted for its wedding selection in particular, noting that it provides high-quality and gorgeous wedding invitations and announcements.

What's the cutoff date for shipping at Minted?

branded keepsake box and pouch
Credit: Minted

Just three simple steps make it easy to create your puzzle

Generally, shipping at Minted takes about 5-9 days, depending on where it's going in the world. During holidays, like Valentine's Day and Christmas, Minted posts dedicated shipping pages to indicate exactly when you need to order to make it in time for your event. The latest you can order custom puzzles to get them there by Valentine's Day is 2/10 (but if you wait that long, you'll get hit with a hefty shipping fee).

Shop custom puzzles from Minted

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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