Display of Restored Puzzles

Bob Armstrong's objective is to be able to handle, transport, display and store puzzles safely without losing pieces or suffering damage, especially from gases generated by the puzzle's inherent acidity. A secondary objective is to hide any discrepancies in gloss between the puzzle's original artwork and replacement pieces and repaired knobs and surfaces.

Shrink Wrapping

  • Additional Supplies
    • Role of archival shrink wrap (30" wide works well). See University Products
    • Utility knife, scissors, Magic tape with weighted dispenser, permanent marker, cardboard for backing
    • Yardstick or longer piece of wood or metal
  • Backing puzzle
    • Carefully lay puzzle on firm cardboard a little larger than puzzle
    • Firmly holding yardstick on top along edge of puzzle, cut cardboard to match puzzle edge with utility knife; repeat for all 4 sides.
  • Wrapping puzzle
    • Cut with scissors section of shrink wrap larger than puzzle ; then with utility knife cut along seam of wrap with utility knife. You will have 2 pieces of wrap the same size; you will use only 1 for this puzzle; save the other for another puzzle of approximately the same size.
    • Lay one piece of wrap over puzzle so that each side extends at least 2" beyond each puzzle edge. Use scissors to cut excess wrap beyond 2".
    • Lay another piece of stiff cardboard on top of wrap over puzzle and carefully flip puzzle over. This is very tricky with non-interlocking puzzles.
    • Fold and tape onto back of cardboard the 2" excess along each puzzle side.
    • Using permanent marker, write your puzzle code on cardboard back along with puzzle title, maker, brand, # of pieces.
    • Use hair dryer to tighten and remove wrinkles from wrap

Write short description of the puzzle

  • Include title, date, maker, brand, # of pieces, artist, type of wood, whether interlocking or not, clc, # of figure pieces and other special attributes, and why puzzle is important.
  • Do NOT mention replacement pieces and repairs; otherwise viewers will spend their time looking for your repairs and not enjoy the beauty of the puzzle.
  • Glue description (use rubber cement) onto shrink wrap on puzzle front in location which least interferes with viewing puzzle. That way, description stays with puzzle and doesn't get lost.

Display puzzles

  • Lean puzzles on blocks on tables to provide better view. If table is against wall, lean largest puzzles against wall. Inexpensive stands for displaying flat items upright are readily available at office supply stores and work well.
  • Encourage viewers to pick up puzzles to read descriptions and for closer study. They are perfectly safe to handle!
  • You can hang wrapped puzzles like artwork on walls!  Most art galleries have hanging straps that attach to molding near the ceiling and a hook at the lower end which can be slid up and down the hanging wire.  Even if this is not possible, you can buy hooks that can be stuck on the wall and later removed without damage to the wall,  Buy some clasps to grasp the top edge of the puzzle.  One medium sized clasp is usually enough.  The clasp has holes in the handles which will attach to the hook on the hanging wire.  If you are worried the clasp will dent the puzzle, insert a small thin piece of firm cardboard to spread the pressure.  It works!