Over the years, Henry’s accumulated a nice little wooden puzzle collection – either from birthday gifts or hand-me-downs, and we now have 5 or so of these puzzles in our playroom. I love these types of puzzles – the chunky pieces are great for little hands, and the sturdiness of the solid wood means no bent or broken pieces. My only issue with them is that they don’t typically come with lids or boxes, making corralling all the various pieces a bit tough. After the millionth time of putting these back together because a certain little someone pulled them out of our puzzle drawer sideways, I was determined to find a better storage solution. I know they make little shelve/drawer-type things for these puzzles, but in my no-spending Lent, I was on the hunt for an organization solution I could DIY from my stash. Using a similar process as one of my most viewed previous projects (the See-Through Purse Pouches), these DIY puzzle pouches were born!
These see-through pouches are made to fit standard wooden puzzles (9″x12″); but this tutorial can easily be modified to hold any size puzzle you have!
A combination of fun fabrics and polka-dot bias tape make these not only a great organizational solution, but a whimsical addition to the playroom!
If you’re familiar with my See-Through Purse Pouch tutorial, the process is very, very similar. These directions are to make one puzzle pouch. Just repeat for as many puzzles as you have!
Start by cutting down one piece of solid red fabric to 10″x17″ and one piece of clear vinyl to 10″x13″.
On one short end of the red rectangle (the 10″ side), use a marking tool to mark two points: one 2″ in across the top, and the other is 3″ down from the top. Using a rotary cutter and clear ruler, connect the two marks and cut a diagonal line. Repeat on the other side.
Next, adhere your red rectangle to some light-weight sewable Heat-n’Bond. Cut down some Heat’n’Bond to 10″x17″. Iron the Heat’n’Bond to the WRONG side of the red rectangle. Once cool, use a scissors to trim off the excess Heat’n’Bond at the diagonal edges.
Next, iron your red rectangle, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, to a coordinating printed fabric for the back. In the image below, the RIGHT sides of the fabric are facing out, the WRONG sides are facing in, and the Heat’n’Bond is holding the two layers together.
Below is an image of TWO finished rectangle pieces for TWO different pouches. I just wanted to show that on one side is a solid red and on the other is the pattern. Set this piece aside.
Take the vinyl rectangle and some coordinating bias tape. Pin the bias tape along one of the 10″ sides and then sew the bias tape to the vinyl. Be sure you sew with the shorter side of the bias tape facing up, to ensure you catch the longer edge on the other side. Need help with sewing bias tape, I use this tutorial 🙂
With the bias tape attached, now it’s time to baste the vinyl window onto the fabric rectangle. Line up the bottom and two sides of the vinyl with the bottom and two sides of the fabric rectangle and pin all the way around. Machine baste the vinyl to the fabric rectangle close to the edge.
This next step is the most difficult and can be a bit exasperating. I wish I had a clear, simple, and fool-proof method for you to follow when applying the bias tape around the entire perimeter of the pouch. Alas, after three attempts using three different methods, I haven’t quite found a perfect approach. The bends around those diagonal cuts at the top make adding the binding a bit tricky! Instead of making myself crazy, I reminded myself that these are just to hold a child’s puzzles and don’t need to be perfect. With that disclaimer, I found that sewing one side at a time, and then folding and mitering the corner at each bend as I came to it, was the cleanest and quickest approach.
Slowly and carefully work your entire way around the pouch. Not only does adding the bias tape give more sturdiness to the case, but it also cleans up that raw and rough outer edge.
The last step is to add a snap (if you wish, velcro could also work here!). To find the right placement, I slid a puzzle into the case and then folded the top down to the right length. I marked both the flap and the pouch underneath and added a snap in the right spots with my snap tool. And that’s it! Slide your puzzle back in, and you’re all done!
I knocked out two more before calling it a day. I still have two more to make for our last few puzzles. They are all cut and ready to go but are standing by as a rainy day project. I have a few other things I’m antsy to get to 😉
Henry really loves these cases, and I do too! He likes to play with the snaps and put all sorts of things in the pouches; I love that I no longer have puzzle pieces all over the playroom! Oh – and those cute fabrics get me every time!
Not only are these a great organization project and awesome scrap-buster, but this little combo would make a great birthday gift. They are also the right size to hold coloring books and crayons for on-the-go entertainment! So many possibilities using the same technique!
Psssst: If you love this idea but don’t want to make your own, these inexpensive zipper pouches work almost exactly the same way and you can get them in a variety of colors!!
Finally, if you’re looking for a few more solutions, be sure to check out my Ideas for Storing Wooden Puzzles post!