Watch How Jigsaw Puzzles are Made

iStock // ThomasVogel
iStock // ThomasVogel

Traditionally, jigsaw puzzles have been made by using, wait for it, a jigsaw—though it's also called a scroll saw. If you've never seen one, a scroll saw has a fine, straight blade that's usually mounted vertically a little bit like the needle in a sewing machine. By running the blade up and down (hooray, power tools) and moving wood through it, you can cut fine patterns into wood. Note that the term "jigsaw" can also refer to a coping saw, which is a handheld power tool with a straight blade sticking out—great for cutting holes in walls, but perhaps not puzzles.

So that's great. But how do people make jigsaw puzzles today?

The short answer is: It's complicated. There are still high-end handmade puzzles on the market today, but commercial makers have typically moved on to other methods. Below, let's examine a few of the most popular methods.

1. METAL TEMPLATE GRIDS

Mass-produced commercial jigsaw puzzles are made of cardboard. Nobody hand-cuts cardboard with a jigsaw. So the game is all about making a cutting die (a sharp metal outline) that emulates that jigsaw cut. Once you have a cutting die, it can be used to stamp out countless cardboard puzzles.

In this video, starting at about 1:30, Ravensburger artisans show how they create their jigsaw puzzles using a "ribbon cut" grid system and a series of jigsaw-style edges. The metal template allows safety-gloved employees to snap in the edges of each piece, allowing for a unique pattern for each puzzle design.

2. SCROLL SAWS

For woodworkers, the only game in town is a real jigsaw. In this video, George Vondriska makes an elk jigsaw puzzle using some plywood, a computer print-out, and a scroll saw.

(Note: If you want to get into this, watch this 100-minute class.)

3. PSYCHOLOGICAL TORMENT

Steve Richardson says "they pay me to drive them crazy," describing the way he designs incredibly challenging jigsaw puzzles using an X-ACTO knife (which are then actually cut by hand). Calling himself Tormenter-in-Chief, Richardson has some famous clients, including the Gates family, the Bush family, and the royal family of Great Britain, among others.

Richardson's company only sells about 3,600 puzzles per year, all handmade. Every puzzle contains a single "clown" piece, the company's logo—though sometimes he doesn't actually fit in.

4. LASERS

In this video, a laser cutter uses the Force on a Star Wars poster. It's fascinating to watch how it accomplishes the cuts, doing all the vertical cuts first (with little oscillations to get the wiggles in), then the horizontal cuts. Watch as, during the horizontal cutting stage, the pieces pop out!

5. RANDOM CUTS

In this video, Allegra Vernon walks us through all the steps that happen before the actual cutting. She discusses how images are selected, photographed/scanned, edited, and generally optimized to become good images for a jigsaw puzzle. Then she gets into the "random cut" process starting around 2:20. Both sections are fascinating. Vernon also explains the "ribbon cut" method employed above by Ravensburger.

Artist Celebrates the Poop Emoji's 10th Birthday by Reimagining It in 50 Different Forms

Justin Poulsen, YouTube
Justin Poulsen, YouTube

Even as new emojis are added to mobile keyboards each year, the poop emoji remains a beloved go-to for phone users with an appreciation for toilet humor. Artist Justin Poulsen recently honored the icon's 10-year anniversary by depicting the poop emoji 50 different ways, designboom reports.

In the the video below, which he created with the Canadian creative agency Rethink, the poop emoji takes multiple forms, including a candle, a cupcake, a trophy, a marshmallow, and a piñata. Poulsen is mainly a photographer, but he also built his own props and scenery for the project, and the video serves as kind of a poop-themed resume showing off his capabilities.

The smiling swirl of cartoon poo has been inspiring people since shortly after its debut in 2008. Poop-emoji baked goods, including donuts and cupcakes, have grown into a trend, and in 2017 a 3-year-old in St. Louis even celebrated a poop-themed birthday party with emoji decor.

[h/t designboom]

Are Your Kids Struggling to Tie Their Shoes? Teach Them the Cheerio Method

iStock.com/Maica
iStock.com/Maica

When kids don't know how to tie their own shoes, getting them out the door is a struggle. But parents don't have to choose between tying their children's shoes for them every morning or converting to Velcro. According to Lifehacker, there's an alternative technique that makes life easier for kids who struggle to how to tie their shoes. Instead of using the bunny-ear or bow methods, show your kids the super-simple Cheerio trick, which you can see in the tutorial video below.

First, have your child cross one shoelace over the other and tighten as they typically would when starting to tie their shoes. Next, instead of making two loops, tell them to make a knot but stop short of tightening it all the way. This should leave them with a small, Cheerio-sized hole—hence the name. From there, they can finish the job by poking the ends of the laces through the hole one at a time, then pulling the resulting bunny ears to finish the knot.

Though it's more time-consuming than the traditional way of tying shoes, the Cheerio method doesn't require using both hands at the same time, making it a more approachable option for kids still developing their hand-eye coordination.

The Cheerio method isn't the only alternative shoe-tying technique. More advanced users can teach themselves to tie their laces with one hand, as demonstrated by Paralympian Megan Absten here.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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