I have a really fun gift I made over Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law came up with the idea, and I did the execution of it. We made a wooden puzzle out of the name of my daughter!
This project was pretty easy. I should have taken step-by-step pictures, but it's so simple, I didn't.
1. The first step was cutting two pieces of wood (about a quarter inch thick) to the same size. One will be the back ("back piece") and one will be the piece you cut ("puzzle piece"). The size doesn't matter as long as they are the same, so use whatever you would have sitting around, or buy some precut wood at Hobby Lobby.
2. Using a pencil, I drew out my daughter's name. I decided I'd paint on the "i" dot rather than cut it out.
3. This is the "tricky" step. I used a tool called a Roto Zip to cut out the letters. This is what it looks like:
If you didn't have a Roto Zip saw available, you could also use carefully use a band saw. Now, my lines aren't completely straight, but I figured for a kids puzzle that was fine. It also makes so there is only one "right" way to put the piece in..otherwise there would be two ways on the "l" and "i." Since I'm a weak pregnant lady, I also struggled getting the bit in right away when I started a letter. After screwing up a few boards, my father-in-law brought over a drill and had me drill pilot holes and start the Roto Zip while it was in the hole. That worked much better.
4. So, now I have cut out letters, a cut out puzzle piece and a back piece. I primed everything up really good, and then gave it a funky paint job with some acrylic paint.
5. After painting each piece, I glued the puzzle piece to the back piece. I used some wood glue and clamps. You could do this before painting if you wanted to make sure you painted any glue that seeped out. I chose not to since I didn't want my back piece to get paint on it.
6. Now that I have everything painted and glued, I sprayed everything with a clear coat/glaze. (I used a spray glaze to get an ultra shiny finish) Now, you'll want to think about if you want to do this. I don't have a child that puts everything in her mouth, but if you do, you will want to be aware of the paint you pick and if it's safe for children.
7. After the clear coat dried, I have a finished puzzle! I thought about putting knobs on each piece, but decided I'd wait. There is a bit of a gap between the letters and the puzzle piece since the Roto Zip won't cut completely flush.