Before many of the pieces found their mate, the sprawled out puzzle had a tough time fitting on my little table. I feared then that the puppies would quickly devour any piece that fell on the floor since they're used to tasty food crumbs falling in that general area, and sadly, I was correct. By the end of the puzzle, two pieces were quite obviously missing.
I found some teeth marks on one piece I rescued from the floor, so I'm positive the puppies enjoyed chewing on them and pretty certain they were the culprits behind the two missing pieces. Since the spots were in such obvious places, I knew if I wanted to keep it, I'd have to try and create my own pieces to disguise the holes, or order a new puzzle and sort through each piece until I'd found these two. As a family, we have done this before, and I was not looking forward to doing it once again.
So as I was cleaning one day, I picked up the puzzle box, and noticed the front did not show the entire picture, rather it was zoomed in on a spot. And not just any spot, it happened to be zoomed in on the area where my two pieces were missing! I brought it near the puzzle to see how the sizing was, and you can see by looking, they were pretty exact.
I decided to cut the top of the box so I could flatten it and see how the colors would look if I somehow used them to fill in the missing pieces -- lucky for me, the missing pieces were hardly visible!
With the top positioned under the puzzle holes, I started to trace the missing shapes.
I cut out each piece slightly larger than I traced so it'd be snug fit -- as if it were a real puzzle piece -- and then used a wet cloth to wipe away the trace lines. The pieces were cardboard, thanks to the box, but not quite as thick as the other pieces. I contemplated backing them with something, but figured once it was glued, they'd stay in place like all the rest.
Here they are filling the missing holes and wouldn't even be detected without those circles highlighting their spot!
Once I was happy with how they looked, I started gluing it together. I placed it on a white poster board and applied two layers of Mod Podge and let it dry completely. With the white poster board on the back, it'll be easy for everyone who helped put it together to sign their names -- which has always been part of our tradition. It's always fun to go back and see how handwriting has changed and what the little messages are each year. To keep them in order, we always date the front as well.
I didn't have a chance to frame it before the holidays, so next up is looking for a frame sale so I can get it completed. For now though, I am content knowing I have officially started a Christmas puzzle tradition of my own! Hopefully I can keep it going year after year like I did growing up :)