Ravensburger Custom Puzzle: A SuperParent Puzzle Review

Ravenburger's custom puzzles are more expensive than its traditional offerings, but is the upcharge worth it? We had a chance to find out.

At SuperParent, we love jigsaw puzzles. They’re a fun family activity that people of all ages can enjoy, and with so many images and styles to choose from, there’s bound to be a puzzle available for everyone. And even if you can’t find a puzzle that suits your taste, you can always make one instead.

Multiple companies offer custom jigsaw puzzles, which allow you to upload one or more picture(s) and have them turned into a puzzle for your family to put together. We recently had the opportunity to create a custom jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger to see if the result was worth the extra cost when compared to a normal puzzle.

How do you create a puzzle?

The creation process is simple. Head to the Ravensburger website and add the puzzle you want to your shopping cart. We created a 500 piece custom puzzle ($39.90), though other piece counts are available, ranging from 100 to 1,500 pieces (from $34.90 to $44.90).

Once you’ve selected a puzzle, the website guides you through the process of uploading your picture and customizing its storage tin (you can name the puzzle and choose the color for the outside sticker on the tin) before finally purchasing it. The puzzle takes a few days to manufacture and ship.

(For reference, we used a picture of the Raptor roller coaster that we took on a recent trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.)

How’s the puzzle quality?

To a jigsaw puzzle newcomer, it might seem like all puzzles are the same, but try a puzzle from a dollar store and you’ll quickly learn that quality can vary wildly between manufacturers (this isn’t to say dollar store puzzles should be avoided entirely, just that they’re typically much lower quality).

Ravenburger’s custom puzzle features sturdy pieces that lock together snugly. They’re a decent size, and while many pieces look similar to one another in terms of basic shape, it’s always clear when one piece fits and another doesn’t. As a point of reference, if you’re used to 500 piece puzzles measuring 18 x 24 inches (a typical size), this one is smaller than that, measuring 14.25 x almost 19.5 inches when completed.

Source: SuperParent

Unfortunately, we had some problems with the actual image. The pieces seem to be covered in a glossy finish, which causes a glare when looking at the pieces under a direct overhead light. This makes it difficult to see the details on each piece (there’s no problem in natural light).

In addition, while the loose puzzle dust in the box was minimal, it was a problem on the pieces themselves. The pieces aren’t technically “sticky,” but they’re textured so that the dust stuck to the front of many pieces and had to be wiped off.

By the time we finished the puzzle (it took a few hours), the puzzle dust had sunken into our fingerprints and we had to wash it off (similar to how your fingers would look after handling a newspaper).

Finally, the puzzle’s image is less saturated than the original picture. If you compare the original image with the final puzzle (see the side-by-side below), you’ll notice that the puzzle’s colors are muted. For instance, look at the bright blue sky in the original picture (left) versus the pale sky in the puzzle (right).

Source: SuperParent

Still, these issues aren’t game breakers. The puzzle dust can be wiped away (so it wouldn’t be an issue if you plan on putting the puzzle together multiple times) and so long as you know what you’re getting in terms of color saturation, you can make an informed image choice.

Is there anything else we should know?

There are a few nitpicks worth mentioning. We noticed tiny imperfections on three of the pieces, where a white mark no larger than a pen tip showed up on the pieces even though they weren’t in the original image.

Source: SuperParent

The reference image on the outside of the puzzle’s tin is also quite small, but if you’re the owner of the picture you uploaded, you can simply reference a larger version you may have in your possession.

Finally, the pieces fit together so nicely that you’ll need to be careful disassembling the puzzle, so as to avoid damaging the pieces.

One final thing worth pointing out: You’re in control of the puzzle difficulty with a custom puzzle. If you’re looking for a challenge, upload a picture with large areas of a single color or pattern (like the blue sky and clouds in our puzzle). If you want a more casual experience, stick to an easier image with blocks of distinct colors in easy-to-recognize shapes.

What’s the final verdict?

This isn’t a perfect product, and it’s a bit pricey at around $40, so it’s best to know what you’re getting before going in.

Still, there’s a novelty and joy that comes from creating a puzzle from a special image that you took (or that otherwise holds meaning in your life). And while the puzzle dust is an issue at first, once it’s removed, you’re left with a high-quality puzzle that can be assembled multiple times or glued and framed as a piece of art.

Disclosure: Ravensburger sent SuperParent a code to create a custom puzzle for coverage purposes.