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Types of Jigsaw Puzzles

Magic Jigsaw Puzzles - digital puzzles app by ZiMAD

Puzzles have been around us since the eighteenth century and certainly have won a special place in our hearts.

Doesn’t matter if you’re into a wooden puzzle, a cardboard puzzle or a plastic one, doing jigsaw puzzles is always great. Adults and children can get together, bond and have fun over a nice jigsaw. It might just be the greatest activity to bring the whole family together and to lighten up the mood in the house.

Puzzles are, one can say, even essential for the seniors to keep up the brain activity. Those small jigsaws pieces help the seniors concentrate and keep their mind busy, and jigsaw puzzles also serve as a nice gift idea!

But wait a minute, there are a lot of different types of jigsaw puzzles! Which one should you get, especially when you’ve only started your jigsaw puzzle journey?

Today we are going to talk about different types of jigsaw puzzles. We have divided all the types into categories based on the:

  • Dimension of jigsaw puzzles (there are 2d jigsaw puzzles and 3d jigsaw puzzles),
  • Image of the jigsaw puzzle (jigsaw puzzles with custom images, with an image of a painting or a nice photo, colouring jigsaw puzzles, gradient or full-color jigsaw puzzles, photomosaic, and educational jigsaw puzzles),
  • Material of the puzzle (there are jigsaws with wooden pieces, with cardboard pieces, and with plastic pieces).

Let’s break down the most popular types of jigsaw puzzles in full detail, so that it’s easier for you to decide which jigsaws to get!


Imagine: you have the chance to do Eiffel tower themed puzzles. Which puzzle would you like to do more – the ones that you can spread on the table and later on hang on the wall of your living room, or the ones that will end up standing straight up like a real tower? These two types of puzzles – 2D and 3D – each have their own fans and haters.

3D jigsaw puzzles by Prusa Printers

2D puzzles

2D jigsaw puzzles are just your average jigsaws: all the pieces are flat and if they’re physical ones and not digital, then the puzzle pieces can be glued together and put on a surface.

There are many variations within this criteria – the jigsaw puzzle can be huge or small, wooden or made out of cardboard, the jigsaw puzzle pieces can be of different shape or size… Let’s just say the journey to the world of jigsaw puzzles starts right here, with 2D puzzles that you used to do with your parents on a rainy day!

3D puzzles

The type that is either loved or hated within the community, 3D jigsaw puzzles have their handful of fans and haters. Some may say that this puzzle type is too difficult or not canonical, but we like it nevertheless! Doing a 3D jigsaw puzzle requires some experience, though, so be careful! This one, compared to 2d puzzles, sticks out much more.

These jigsaw puzzles also serve as a great decoration after they’re all made and glued.

Puzzle image

The image that you assemble out of different small jigsaw pieces. Which puzzle picture is your favourite?

A colourful jigsaw puzzle, image by David Galchutt, Stave Puzzles

Custom puzzles

We live in the great century, the technology is blooming, and so are jigsaw puzzles! It’s possible to print and cut many different types of images on a puzzle, be it a photo, a collage of many photos or your own drawing. Such jigsaws puzzles can be a great gift to your friends or family to do together, no matter who gets the most pieces.

Puzzles with paintings or photos

Here go all the classics – each puzzle you’ve seen with a popular painting or a popular beautiful tourist attraction belongs here. Even if you’re not keen to try the new stuff like a 3D puzzle or a gradient puzzle, this is the category you should aim for when searching for a new puzzle to add to your puzzle collection. Everyone will find a picture or two they will enjoy assembling together with their loved ones! Among different types of jigsaws, this puzzle is the most classic one.

Colouring puzzles

Remember how you liked to colour pictures when you were a little kid? Maybe you still do, we don’t discriminate – but these types of jigsaw puzzles combine the desire to colour pictures and assemble jigsaw puzzles at the same time! For some people, this may be one of the best types of jigsaw puzzles out there, because all pieces are kind of similar, and it’s a real challenge.

Let us visualise how these jigsaw puzzles work: you assemble the pieces together, and the picture reveals itself to be a colouring picture, with nothing but outlines to fill with the colours you have in your palette. Such a jigsaw puzzle is a great gift for the whole family to do. Children will like colouring the pictures, while the adults are maybe more interested with the assembling of the puzzle part.

Gradient or full-color puzzles

These types of jigsaw puzzles maybe not for everyone, especially if you or the person you want to gift a puzzle to is colorblind. But if you’re one of the calm people, you have enough time on your hands and you live for different types of gradients, then it will be the best jigsaw for you out there!

At first glance these jigsaw puzzles are for the pros: the pieces are cut in the classical form of a jigsaw puzzle, but they do not have any distinct patterns or lines on their image which could help you put them together quicker. The best way to assemble this type of a jigsaw puzzle is to do the edges first, then sort the jigsaws by their colour, and then try to sort them by their half-tones. Challenging? Yes. But still so rewarding!

Photomosaic puzzles

Oh, this one is such a mind-twister! This type of a jigsaw puzzle represents a picture that has been divided into equal tiles, and each one of these tiles is replaced with a smaller image. Sounds like a crazy thing, but these many little jigsaws pieces with small images, when put together, create a whole new puzzle picture!

Educational puzzles

This type of puzzle is both good looking and educational. Usually, these jigsaw puzzles represent a certain map, but you surely can also find a puzzle with a chart, some medical images or everything educational you can find in the form of a 2D or even a 3D image. It’s a different type of a jigsaw puzzle, because it combines fun and education at the same time.

These jigsaw puzzles will be a good gift for anyone striving for knowledge.

Puzzle material

Puzzle pieces used to be made out of wooden boards, but now thanks to cardboards they are lighter, cheaper, but beautiful nonetheless. There’s a third type, though, but some are skeptical towards it – plastic.

A wooden jigsaw puzzle by Liberty Puzzles

Cardboard puzzles

The classic material that made the jigsaw puzzles popular in the twentieth century. It was and still is very cheap to print images on cardboard and cut them into puzzle pieces. Cardboard puzzle pieces is also very lightweight, that’s why it’s much easier to put together many tiles at once: they are made out of cardboard instead of wood or plastic.

Wooden puzzles

The original ones, wooden jigsaw puzzles are a joy of a true puzzle collector but quite hard to come by at a regular store. This type of a jigsaw puzzle is heavy, quite hard to make and hard to cut if you do not have a special device or do not own a factory to do that in mere seconds.

Nevertheless, puzzles made out of wood are a number one pick for a small child to play with, because the pieces are not easily broken like cardboard jigsaw puzzles, the pieces pleasant to hold, and the pieces are usually quite large and colourful, therefore very fun, and are not dangerous for children. But be careful and read the instructions before buying any particular puzzle for your own children or as a gift to your friend’s children.

We almost forgot to mention one not-so-obvious positive side to a jigsaw puzzle made out of wood: if you or your family member is a fan of woodworking, then they can make wooden jigsaw puzzle pieces themselves! And, as we all know, a handmade gift, especially hand-made jigsaw pieces, is the best kind of a gift, and it’s fun if you’re into woodwork, too.

Plastic puzzles

Usually, plastic jigsaw puzzles do not have any image on them – and their sizes are not as big as cardboard ones. But there’s a subtle charm to this kind of puzzle pieces.

Of course, they are different from the classic cardboard and wooden types of jigsaw, and that’s their strength. Matte, barely see-through or glass-like, these jigsaw puzzles come in every size and shape a man can imagine. Upon solving them, they can easily serve as a great decoration to your living room or hallway. These types of jigsaw puzzles are more for the pros than the beginners, simply because they are almost always cut in an unusual way or have an unusual way of solving. Simply put, they are different. Some people will love that, some people will not, but that’s entirely up to you to decide.

Digital puzzles

The modern ones, digital jigsaw puzzles have won over many of the old school fans. Simply because they do not take a lot of space, it’s impossible to lose a jigsaw puzzle piece, you can stop assembling a puzzle and start again any time you want, in a day, in a month or even in a year. You can create your own puzzle from scratch and share them with your friends, it’s a great tool to connect, have fun and maybe even make new friends in the puzzle community.

There are some cons to these jigsaw puzzles, too, though: you can’t physically touch the puzzle pieces and feel them in your hands, you can’t glue and hang your final result. But it’s a great tool to take your mind off things!


So there you have it, each type of puzzles all broken down! Of course, there are many more different types of jigsaw puzzles, such as glow in the dark jigsaw puzzles, black and white jigsaw puzzles, comics jigsaw puzzles, triprych puzzles, solve a mystery puzzles, but we’ve listed the majority of the most popular types.

We hope that each and every one of our readers will find the one and only puzzle out of a jigsaw puzzle world that he or she would personally find interesting, because jigsaw puzzles are a truly great way to have some quality time with your loved ones.

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