By Melissa Pierce
I was pretty excited to receive this”color your own jigsaw puzzle” from Vermont Christmas Company as it combines two things I enjoy doing. I used to do adult jigsaw puzzles with my mom, and then the smaller child sized ones with my own children when they were young. This one falls somewhere in between in both size and challenge with the added bonus of being able to color the back side after it has been put together. These puzzles would be fun for anyone who enjoys both medium difficulty puzzles and coloring. It would also be a great family activity.
My puzzle is called “Best Friends Furever” and features cartoon dogs in a cute setting. The artwork was created by the company owner, Ann Troe. It is 24”x18” and has 300 pieces. The pieces are uniquely shaped and come in many sizes to add to the challenge of the puzzle. The front side is colored for you to help in putting it together. I put the puzzle together by myself, and it took me about three hours to complete. I didn’t have a puzzle mat or convenient table space, so I improvised by using the back of a large dry erase board. After completing the puzzle, flip it over and color the other side. I used a piece of cardboard to help hold it together while flipping it over.
Once I had it flipped over, it was time to get my color on! I used mostly Sharpies and Bic markers with a couple of Spectrum Noir markers to color mine. The box and instructions state that you can use crayons, markers, or pencils to color these. The material is a kind of cardboard but is white and takes the color well. I had no problems with streaking using markers or stop and start lines. The only issue I encountered was where the puzzle pieces meet up. They had a tendency to slide around a bit. I found it helped to hold together the pieces I was coloring. I also colored piece by piece in areas where different elements come together to help avoid getting confused and coloring parts of things the wrong colors.
Overall, I really enjoyed this color your own puzzle. It was a fun and unique experience and is something I would enjoy doing again. I think these would be great to give as gifts to those who enjoy puzzles after they have been colored. It would give them a challenge with the two sides both colored differently. I checked out the company website and noticed they have 10 different “color your own” puzzles by 8 different artists. The designs are varied in detail and subject matter ranging from a mandala one, to animals, to scenes. If you enjoy both jigsaw puzzles and coloring, or know someone who does, then head over to www.vermontchristmasco.com and check them out!