Handmade Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

Chandler, Arizona

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About WarblerPuzzles

Sales 23
On Etsy since 2011

Simple Things, Made With Care

When conversation stalled in my family growing up - especially during holidays - my mother would invariably suggest a jigsaw puzzle. We'd groan, but before long we'd all be feverishly looking for pieces. One of my favorite puzzles was an old wooden one with an image of songbirds on it. Building that old puzzle and learning the birds with my family had a long-lasting impact on me. As an adult, living in an age of electrons and mass-production, that wooden puzzle and the joy and memories I associate with it says something about the importance of simplicity.

I still have that wooden jigsaw puzzle. It's in an old coffee can my mom painted purple, and I'm sure it has been assembled at least once a year for the last forty years - now by my two daughters who will have their own memories of this puzzle. I don't know who made it or how old it is, though I know that wooden jigsaw puzzles became rare after the spread of cheap 'jigsaw' puzzles stamped out of cardboard. Of course, you can buy such mass-produced cardboard puzzles everywhere now, and that's what we are mostly familiar with. But, as a woodworker I had always wanted to make a wooden jigsaw puzzle by hand.

So, several years ago I bought a scroll saw and I tried making a puzzle. It did not go well. I didn't have the proper blades, and I didn't have the right wood, and.... I didn't know what I was doing. So I gave up on it for a time. It was urgency that brought me back. My family had decided to exchange only hand-made gifts for Christmas and, despite having no immediate prospect of success, I decided a wooden jigsaw puzzle was going to be my contribution. I practiced, and investigated scroll saw blades, and experimented with papers and glues and images, and finally made a puzzle I was quite proud of. It was of a quilted fish my daughter had painted, and my mom loved it.

Having caught the puzzle-making bug I continued in my quest for the perfect materials and I refined my skills. Everyone I know got a jigsaw puzzle of their face, or the family pet, or whatever. Now, both the old songbird puzzle in the purple coffee can and that first puzzle of a quilted fish look to me like someone cut them out with their feet.

It was at about this time that I became aware of Etsy and the possibility that I could bring the new world of electrons together with the old world of traditional jigsaw puzzles. I knew that if I was going to be selling puzzles I would have to go even further into researching the best materials and methods. I spent nearly a year experimenting with different papers (the edge will fray from the saw blade if you choose the wrong one) and glues (I settled on a book-binder's glue that is strong and archival) and finishes (too shiny and the pieces glare when you're building the puzzle) and woods. I bought countless sample boxes for packaging and taught myself how to do simple leather work so I could make straps to hold the boxes closed in style (I was inspired by old luggage). I found a family-run shop in California that makes gorgeous 'Chicago' screws out of solid brass. I researched felt to line the boxes with, and found an extra-thick acid free felt that is perfect. I even began bookkeeping! In short, I went a little overboard to produce the best puzzles I could, and I'm really proud of what I make.

When it came time to chose a shop name, I remembered that old wooden puzzle that got me started and settled on Warbler. I hope you enjoy browsing my selection of puzzles here and that you also understand that simple things that are made with care can be a focus of memories over a whole lifetime.

Shop members

  • Mark Spencer


    I was probably born into the wrong century. But I’m making my way in this one the best I can, as a college professor and a maker-of-things-by-hand.

Shop policies

Last updated on December 1, 2012
Thank you for considering the purchase of a Warbler wooden jigsaw puzzle. At Warbler, we strive to provide high-quality puzzles that will provide years of enjoyment. Puzzles are made out of durable materials, using sustainable and archival products when possible. Each puzzle is shipped in an attractive box that will protect it and that is suitable for your coffee table or bookshelf.

You may contact me via Etsy, or at <spencer@warblerpuzzles.com>

If you are new to Etsy, please familiarize yourself with their policies. They provide useful instructions for registration and for making purchases.

Accepted payment methods

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Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
At Warbler Puzzles, we want you to be delighted with your purchase and will provide you with a full refund on your purchase if you are not satisfied - you must only return the complete puzzle in undamaged condition.
Warbler Puzzles accepts PayPal and credit cards through PayPal. Payment should be completed within 2 days of your order - purchases are subject to cancelation if payment is not received.

If you are a resident of Arizona, state sales tax will be added to your purchase.
Warbler Puzzles ships using USPS Priority Mail for shipments within the United States, and USPS International Priority Mail for shipments to other countries. The time for shipment depends on the USPS, but within the continental US shipment typically takes 2-3 days. Items (except for custom-made puzzles) are shipped within 5 working days of your purchase.

Each puzzle is carefully packaged for shipment, and I use delivery confirmation.

International purchases are subject to all taxes, customs fees, or any additional fees that result from items being shipped to you. Delays due to the USPS are not the responsibility of Warbler Puzzles.

You will receive confirmation from Warbler Puzzles when your purchase has shipped.
Additional policies and FAQs
All original images posted on Etsy, and all original designs and concepts used in Warbler products, are copyrighted to Mark Spencer.