A Not So Puzzling Storage Solution!

I recently shared that my oldest has a love for doing puzzles.  There could be worse things right?  In fact, I adore this little fact about him.  He has been a puzzle fanatic since he was a babe, he would even stay in from recess during his elementary days, just to do puzzles with his teacher.

The puzzle doing is not a problem in any way.  It is where he does his puzzles.  That has always been the problem.  Sure, we have a phenomenal playroom, which we use and love and adore on a daily basis.  But that is the problem.  Tracks, cities, Lego builds galore.  There is no room for puzzle doing; especially when two younger brothers are involved.  The younger two are more interested in breaking the puzzles, than doing them. 

So up until recently, Preston had been trying to do his puzzles on his desk space in his bedroom.  During the summer, there was no problem with that, other than the fact that he was a bit limited with his space.  Now that the school year has begun, I put the kibosh on puzzles on the desk.  His desk is for studies, the puzzles needed a new place to live.

To ensure the kid could get back to his hobby ASAP, we whipped up a super simple solution which we love like crazy.

We started the project with a smooth, white desktop from IKEA.  We selected this larger size, but there is also one a little bit smaller and it only costs $6!  When you factor in the size along with the nice glossy finish, I took the easy route and selected not to head to the home improvement store and purchase a large, heavy piece of wood which would need to be cut down, given four coats of paint along with multiple coats of a glossy finish.  The finished desktop was a super fantastic alternative, and it is light weight which is another plus!

We tested the desktop on his carpet, and it slid around nice and smooth.   The bottom of the desk also has a nice finish, so there was no snagging or issues with movement on the carpet.  If you have hard floors, you could always add some furniture moving pads or casters, to ease the sliding motion.

Now, we could have just left the board alone, as it was already a great puzzle building surface, but we wanted to allow Preston to slide the puzzle away under his bed in-between uses.  This way, it would have less risk of being broken, kicked, or in the way. 

To prevent the puzzle from sliding off of the board when being pulled out from under the bed {bedding could snag the pieces and pull them off of the board, as could a jolting movement}, we added a small piece of molding around the perimeter of the desktop.

To do this, we started with this vinyl molding from Home Depot.   It was already finished in a nice white, which again, would require no painting or color matching on our part.  We cut the angled corners with our miter box {one of our most favorite tools ever}.

Then used our brad nailer, to affix the trim around the outside of the desktop.

Once the trim was complete, I also wanted to give him an easy way to pull the puzzle board out.  Knowing that we were going to work on this project, I scoured our local Goodwill for a cheapo belt to DIY a nice little pull.  Standard drawer pulls wouldn't affix to the front easily, as there is no back to screw in from, therefore, we needed to create something on our own.  I thought a leather belt would be a simple and sophisticated option, and I struck belt gold.  {Please note, I never find what I am looking for in thrift stores when I need it, so this was a small miracle.}  The piece we used was a small section of a larger belt.  We just screwed the belt handle directly into the desktop, with typical screws.

After using white caulk on the nail holes, we were left with this awesomeness!

The small ledge, keeps pieces from sliding off of the smooth top, yet allows Preston to easily work over the top.

And the handle couldn't have worked out better!

Once the project was finished, we started this 100 piece puzzle for the photos.  He is beyond that size, but I wanted to show some scale.  He has plenty of room to work on his much larger sized puzzles, and there is no more worry about losing pieces or wondering where to put the partially assembled puzzle in-between sessions.  The final dimensions for this puzzle board is 47 1/4 x 23 5/8", which means he has four amazing feet of space to play with!

Gotta love a not so puzzling, super simple storage solution like this one! 

Anyone else as puzzle crazed as my son?  How do you keep your puzzles safe when not in use?

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