Romantic Puzzle
by Dave

Puzzle pieces shaped like a heart
Instead of doing a generic puzzle of the ocean or a landscape, why not put together one of you and your date? You can easily have a custom puzzle made in a variety of sizes and piece counts - all you need is a digital photo with decent resolution. The size you choose depends on how much you like puzzles; a 250-piece puzzle will probably take a few hours, but you can try 100 pieces for some quick fun or 500 for puzzle pros. If you can't find the right picture then this is a good opportunity to snap a few, or for newer relationships how about a photo of somewhere you've been together or talked about going? I added a few companies that make custom puzzles to the Links section and I'm sure you can find a bunch more with a quick search. They all generally operate the same way, you'll upload an image that is scaled to the size of the final output (or they will crop and re-size it for a fee) and they'll send the puzzle out to you a little while later. It's just that easy!

It might be fun to add a little bit of mystery to the night and not tell your date what the picture is. Mention that you have an old puzzle and want to spend a quiet evening with them putting it together. Bring it over in a Ziploc bag so there's no photo, and when they ask just say "it'll be more fun without the picture" or that you lost it. Actually, just tell them it's a family of bears, people love bears! This way they'll have that moment of recognition as the picture comes together. You can also customize it even more by adding a simple "I Love You" or a more detailed message reminding them what you were doing when the picture was taken, how you were feeling, or how you feel about them now. Another idea is to make a photo collage of the person and write things you love about them next to each picture. Just remember, when you add text make sure it's readable! Scale your photo (a jpg usually) to 100% (i.e. 16" x 10") and then view the text onscreen when zoomed in at 100%. If you're not comfortable adding text or cropping and scaling images, ask a friend for help or stop by your local Kinkos and have them do it for you. I think the puzzle companies can help with this too.

There's one last option for couples who have been dating a long time, married folks, and those of you who just want to go above and beyond. There are a few puzzle makers who still create custom hand-cut wooden puzzles, just like they did way back when. The puzzle will cost significantly more but it's certainly a unique gift and can be appreciated for a lifetime. To give an idea of costs, a 250-piece cardboard puzzle runs around $25 whereas a wooden puzzle with the same piece-count will cost $350-$450.

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Cost

$20-$25 for a cardboard puzzle
$350+ for a wooden puzzle

Links

Cardboard Puzzles
Cardboard Puzzles
Wooden Puzzles
Wooden Puzzles

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