The Puzzle Roll Kerfuffle
In case you hadn’t noticed. There are a ton of puzzle mats, puzzle rolls, puzzle savers, and puzzle boards on the market and most of these terms will be used interchangeably throughout this blog. So, are they all really that different? Which one should you buy? Going beyond the obvious that, of course puzzle boards are different than the rolls and mats, I’m going to mostly focus on the mats and rolls.
Why’d I choose such a boring topic you ask? After all, there are an infinite number of gorgeous puzzles that I would be writing about. Well, let me explain exactly what made me decide to compare these puzzle rolls as I’m sure some of you may have the same problem.
I’m a huge cat person. I’ve had cats for many years. Yes, they help me with my puzzles, and by “help” I mean they typically think that my puzzle is their personal bed. But I will say that they never really messed with my puzzles. They usually made it hard to access all the pieces and sections mainly because they like to sleep on the exact section I’m working on. I don’t know how they innately know how to lay on the exact section I’m working on, but they do. So, what changed? We recently received a new kitten, named Zealand (a.k.a. bad boy). He has single handedly reaped havoc on my puzzles. No longer can I leave my puzzle in progress on my dining room table, because he knocks entire sections of the puzzle on the floor and even chews pieces. UGGGHHH! So frustrating.
Zealand the cat...aka Bad Boy!
This is why I decided to learn about the various puzzle rolls. I’m tired of going on my hands and knees, searching for missing pieces that he took. I wanted to determine which puzzle rolls will withstand the kitten.
The first puzzle roll that I tried was Buffalo’s Best Puzzle Roll-Up.
It’s a large mat that can hold up to 1500 pieces and has outlines that show the approximate puzzle sizes based on piece count- a handy dandy reference-in case you don’t know what puzzle count you’re working on <insert sarcasm>. I preferred to puzzle on the reverse side, because I didn’t want to see the lines on the mat while I was puzzling. But do what works for you.
I found that as someone that typically doesn’t use puzzle rolls, they took some getting used to. At first, I didn’t like how the mat made the pieces cling and not glide; however, I understand that that’s kind of the point. After all, you don’t want the pieces sliding all around. It’s something that someone who doesn’t typically use puzzle mats might have to get used to.
By the way, the puzzle featured in these photos is Eeboo’s Dutch Quilt Sampler, a 1,000-piece puzzle. You can read more about that here. I was happy with the extra amount of material that the mat had because it enabled me to hold the pieces on the sides. To store it, you just expand the blue tube.
Then you just roll it up.
It closes with Velcro straps to keep it rolled up. Tip: you may want to fold the edges in before you roll it up, so the pieces don’t fall out.
This differs from Buffalo’s, because instead of an expandable plastic tube, it comes with an expandable cardboard tube. Again, the difference is minute and just a matter of preference.
I’ve found that most puzzle rolls are comparable. The main difference is the part that you use to roll up, whether it’s a plastic expandable tube, a cardboard tube, or an inflatable one like this Smart Puzzle Roll & Go by Eurographics.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend puzzle rolls for extensive traveling, as I’d be concerned that the pieces could slip out of the edge. They are great for rolling up puzzles so you could use your table to eat food on-I know, weird concept. Although it might be fun to have a giant puzzle on your table, invite people over for dinner, and make them put their plates of food on their laps. Let’s be real, what’s more important (haha). But as I was saying, puzzle rolls are great to move your puzzles and get them out of the way when you’re not working on them.
Before I go, it’s worth mentioning that if puzzle rolls aren’t your thing, Puzzle Warehouse also carries puzzle boards. Note that puzzle boards are a little more expensive than the rolls, but they won’t break the bank. A popular option to the roll up is Ravensburger's Puzzle Store.
Solving the Puzzle Roll Kerfuffle
Okay so after the whole puzzle roll kerfuffle and trying out many kinds, I found one that is Zealand proof. And therefore, determined that my favorite puzzle storage/roll/board item is Jumbo’s PortaPuzzle1500 which holds up to a 1500 piece puzzle. It’s cool because it completely seals in the puzzle and it’s lightweight. It’s basically the best of both worlds. It also comes in a version that holds 1000 pieces which you can find here. It’s not bulky so you could store it behind a shelf or whatever.
It doesn’t matter what I think, get what you like and what works best for you. But whatever you do, make time to puzzle!
Great review!! And cute naughty kitty :)
Great review! I need to check these out further.