The World's (previous) Largest Jigsaw Puzzle
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LIFE: The Great Challenge   -   by Royce B. McClure
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  • FIRST TO COMPLETE BOTH LIFE PUZZLES   (24,000 and 3,000 piece versions)
February 03, 2008
Bob Hughes  -  Austin, Texas, USA

Assembled between 16th of May 2007 and 3rd of February, 2008.

In May 2007, I was doing puzzle framing research and I stumbled across a link for a giant jigsaw. It was the 18,000 Ravensburger Four Worlds puzzle. Intrigued, I kept searching to see if this was indeed Bob Hughes Bob Hughesthe largest jigsaw puzzle. Then I discovered "Life". I ordered it the very next day. It arrived within a few days and I mixed all the pieces together. I could not stand the thought of working 4 - 6,000 piece puzzles, I had to work it as a whole. I've assembled several 1,000 and 1,500 piece puzzles in my life and simply could not resist this challenge.

Since I had limited space, I built the world's largest puzzle saver (20 ft long and 6 ft high) to store the completed work. After about 5 days of sorting, I started assembly. I used two tables and two 4x8 sheets to assemble with. I soon discovered that poster board is a good medium to store small sections on and to sort out pieces without taking up much space. I had stack upon stack of pieces placed in orderly rows like little soldiers. Can you say OCD?

It took almost 9 months from start to finish. There was no way to keep track of the hours invested; 15 minutes here, 15 hours there, all nights and weekends, so it was slow going. I used every technique I had ever learned working puzzles to complete it. Color, shade, shape all came into play as the landscape slowly took shape. I even sorted the pieces into their 8 primary cuts to make them easier to scan through. This came in handy when I discovered that the pieces in all four sections were all the exact same cut.

The clown fish and the lost city were probably the most difficult part for me, but the stars & planets are my favorite. I liked this puzzle so much I bought the 3,000 piece version to complement it. I guess it's a bit like quitting smoking. You just can't quit cold turkey after Bob Hughes Bob Hughesworking on something like this for so long. All my friends think I'm insane and they might be right, but this was well worth it for the sense of accomplishment.

This was a solo project even though the roommates managed to slip a few pieces in while I wasn't looking. It will be some time before I take on a project of this magnitude again, but I can't wait to see what the next giant puzzle will look like and who will work it. Perhaps some enterprising person will start a gallery to showcase works like this from all over the world.

Thank you John & Royce!
- Bob

Bob Hughes PS.
After the 24,000 one, the 3,000 was a breeze. It took me 5 weeknights and a weekend by myself, but I took it slow. The clown fish on the big one took a month, but the small one took all of 20 min. I wanted to be the first (to complete the 24,000 piece puzzle), but too many vacations and too much XBox kept me from it. :)

Click the images to see larger versions.

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