Create a puzzle and send pieces (one or two at a time) out to another member. The names remain secret and when all the pieces are received , you figure out who your secret puzzler is. This is a simple form of a secret sister swap with minimal costs.
Duration: Usually runs 4-6 weeks, possibly longer.
Mail pieces directly to your designated partner. Mailing should be done on the same day per week for the duration of the swap. Saturdays or Mondays are good mailing days as they get them within a set week.
Your puzzle should include clues to who you are floating through your pieces so your partner can guess when the pieces seem to fit together. Include stamps or collage pieces of what you like.
Some even have a listing of Puzzler 1, 2, 3 etc instead of names, and lists three items that are on their puzzle which are things that they like. The list is published and people can take a stab at suggesting which puzzler they have for a pal without ever really knowing who Puzzler 1 or 2 or 3 etc. is. Sometimes this is thrown in as an additional guessing game with a prize for the first right answer. The coordinator keeps track.
All envelopes must be stamped and decorated mail art in addition to the puzzle piece.
In some swaps, not only is the puzzle piece required but a card type or theme per week accompanies the piece.
Pieces can be mailed out per week and when the last piece is sent, a final package valued at $10. or so is mailed to your Puzzler Person. This alternative is more like a secret swap.
The Puzzle Itself —
Everyone creates the same puzzle with the same amount of pieces. The hostess or co-coordinator decides on this and everyone complies.
Sometimes a puzzle is provided as a download . (click and save to your puter to print out later)
Specific templates are used.
Pre cut puzzle pieces can be used
A puzzle size with equal squares are used, 6, 9, 12 pieces are good to use. If you use 9 or 12 pieces, more than one piece can be mailed out a time (often to the tune of the sender to foil her Puzzle Pal) to save on postage. This is the best type of puzzle as everyone has a ruler and pencil to draw out the puzzle itself. Overall puzzle size should be determined by hostess.
cs for puzzle or bought puzzle
First class postage per week the swap runs.
Possible cost of the final small goodie pack if that is a requirement.
Using the size determined by the hostess, draw out your puzzle.
Let’s say the size is 4 1/2 inches square.
Measure out squares to be 1 1/2 inches each.
You should have 3 rows vertically and horizontally, like a tic tac toe board. Nine squares total.
The swap will run for 8 weeks, this means that you can pick the one week you can sent out 2 pieces. Remember in some swap details, this may be assigned to a week to send out.
You may want to make a practice sheet with the squares facing up and begin to arrange your puzzle so that not too much is revealed on a single piece. You may have to stamp your images you wish to use and arrange them on the practice sheet before actually stamping them down.
Puzzles can include some collage elements also. Exotic papers, paper scraps, fabric are easy to lay over a few pieces but charms, buttons or any other hard pieces have to remain on a single piece of puzzle. These may cost more for you to mail since they are bulky.
Once you have finished your practice sheet, now create your puzzle. You can leave the squares showing or flip the card over but remember when you flip, you need to work in reverse.
Another trick is to mark on side of the piece, then note where the lines are at the edges of the piece front side.
Some people even create an acetate template to use as a guide also.
After you have completely decorated your puzzle, cut it out. Put it together and determine the order of what piece should be mailed out at what time. Put these in number labeled envelopes to mail to your Puzzle Pal per week. You can mark down the date to be mailed on them also.
The idea is to mail out the pieces randomly so that it takes a while before the puzzle can be put together to reveal any given clue. Or you can make it easy if that is your style. Guessing is more fun. Just another swap that can be annoyingly funny and sometimes frustrating when you guess wrong.