Fun fact: Wooden puzzles traditionally don't include a reference image. Learn More →

How It Works

There's a lot of patience and skill involved in cutting a puzzle by hand—and when ordering a custom puzzle, you get to be a part of the process!

Step 1 — Art & Photography

Every custom puzzle starts with you. First, we determine what image or art will be used for the puzzle: either a personal image that you send to us (or a collection of images), a personally owned piece of art, or one of our art or photography offerings.

Step 2 — Puzzle Size & Difficulty

Next, you'll decide what your puzzle size and difficulty will be, or in other words, how many pieces your puzzle will be and how tricky it is to complete. This decision will guide the creative process of our puzzle cutters. As they study the chosen artwork or photography, they'll be able to determine how to best incorporate different artistic elements into the puzzle-cutting.

Step 3 — Special Pieces

Then, we'll determine what kind of personalized, special pieces will be incorporated into your puzzle to make it truly unique. The finished product is more than just a puzzle—it's a family heirloom, custom-made and hand-cut just for you. We can accommodate approximately 5 special pieces per 100 puzzle pieces.

Step 4 — Print & Seal

From there, we print the photograph(s) or artwork onto quality paper, and seal the art to the 5-ply, quarter-inch African Okoume wood with a custom lamination process.

Step 5 — Puzzle Cutting

After giving the wood, art, and lamination time to "rest," we'll make the first cut. Using incredibly fine blades and dozens of years of experience, our artisans quickly and deftly guide the wood through the saw with painstaking accuracy. Your puzzle begins taking shape, with no two pieces the same.

Step 6 — Finishing

Once each piece has been cut, we go to work reassembling it and checking each individual piece for quality. Then, we finish the back of the puzzle by sanding and waxing the back by hand. Not only does this give the puzzle pieces a perfect feel, it also protects the wood over time.

Step 7 — Disassembly & Packaging

Finally, your puzzle is carefully disassembled and packaged in our signature Waterford Puzzle Company box along with a couple extra goodies. It arrives at its new home, ready to challenge and entertain.


If you'd like to know more about our custom puzzles, what's included, and how to order one, check out our FAQ page.