Do you know what makes jigsaw puzzles so addictive? The short answer is…SCIENCE. Each time you find the right piece and lock it into place, you feel a rush of dopamine that soothes your brain. Instant gratification for your efforts. Then, when you’re all finished, you get an incredible piece of art to stare at. No wonder jigsaw puzzles have been a popular pastime for centuries.
At Threadless, our diverse community of artists creates imaginative puzzle designs for every experience level, whether you’re a casual hobbyist or lifelong connoisseur. To help you find the right jigsaw puzzles for you and your favorite people, we’ve gathered a list of recommended puzzles ranked from easy to dang near impossible. Are you up for a challenge?
Difficulty: Piece of Cake (120 Pieces)
These jigsaw puzzles have a low piece count and simple designs that make them perfect for beginners or people with only a few hours to spare. They’re a piece of cake, but the cake is delish!
“Fish and Seaweed” by Renea L. Thull
Minnesota–based artist Renea L. Thull makes whimsical illustrations of animals and nature incorporating lots of solid colors and geometric shapes. This aesthetic makes her jigsaw puzzles especially approachable for first-timers. If you’re new to puzzles, try “Fish and Seaweed” and you might get hooked.
“My Bad!” by Timecowboy
There are a lot of similarities between Godzilla and a small child. They both have stubby arms and can destroy an entire living room in seconds. Timecowboy’s “My Bad” will give you and your little ball of chaos a fun activity to do together while they aren’t bouncing around the house.
“Fake It Till Ya Make It” by Anna Lisa Illustration
“No one knows what they’re doing. Lean into it,” says Chicago–based artist Anna Lisa. Her puzzle practically puts itself together with easily identifiable details such as solid pink text and the possum’s striped tail. Once you’re finished, you might as well tell everyone you’re a puzzle expert. Congrats, you’ve finally made it!
Difficulty: Tough, But Doable (252 Pieces)
More pieces, more details, higher difficulty. These jigsaw puzzles aren’t impossible, but they’re no breeze in the park either. If you’re looking to test yourself, this is the place to start.
“The Whimsical West” by Wondrous Moon Studio
Imagine what it must feel like to arrive at the peak of a mountain and see the gorgeous scenery below. Get a small taste of that triumphant, top-of-the-world feeling by completing “The Whimsical West” puzzle. It’ll certainly be a challenge, but at the end you’ll reveal a scenic depiction of the American West painted by Catherine Moon Masters.
“Chaos” by Jack Teagle
Now we’re heading into strange territory. This puzzle by UK–based illustrator and comic artist Jack Teagle takes you to the scene of a UFO crash where skeleton astronauts are sifting through the wreckage. The illustration’s dense details and balanced color palette make this puzzle tricky, but it’s nothing you can’t handle!
“Space Doodles” by Gioco
This puzzle can’t remember where it parked its car last night. Gioco’s “Space Doodles” looks like it was inspired by one of those psychedelic trips where you hear colors and see sounds. Its bizarre imagery reuses the same bold colors throughout the entire puzzle, making each piece seem like a potential red herring.
Difficulty: Dang Near Impossible (500+ Pieces)
Not only do these jigsaw puzzles have the highest piece counts available at Threadless, but their designs are purposely meant to frustrate you. They’ll probably take you days to complete, and you might even sprout a few gray hairs in the process. Are you sure you want to do this to yourself? There’s still time to go back.
“A Lot of Skulls” by Velozobas
This ominous puzzle by Velozobas delivers on its promise with a skull pattern that’ll have you asking yourself strange questions like “Whose eye socket does this belong to?” Since many of the skulls look exactly the same, it’ll be even hard to decipher which piece goes where. Legend has it that these skulls belong to all the people who tried finishing this puzzle. No pressure!
“Just Plain Black” by Eclectic At Heart
Eclectic At Heart’s solid black puzzle is what the inside of your eyelids look like at night. It’s the last thing you see before you fall asleep. With no details to reference, you might as well try putting this puzzle together blindfolded. And to make matters worse, the reverse side of every piece is also black, making it even harder to find what you’re looking for. This puzzle is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. You have to try it!
“Azimuth Superpuzzle Part 1 and 2” by Glitch Goods by Rob Sheridan
“It was deeply unwise for @threadless to allow me to design jigsaw puzzles 😈,” said Rob Sheridan on Instagram. The glitched-out madness you see here is actually two separate puzzles put together to form a 1,000-piece nightmare. Its pattern (or lack thereof) won’t do you any favors with its random pixelated bits and disorienting blurs. If you’re really a glutton for punishment, mix the pieces from both puzzles together and see how long it takes for regret to sink in.
This list is only a tiny sample of the hundreds of jigsaw puzzles available at Threadless. First go down the rabbit hole of popular themes such as horror, abstract art, nature, and space. Then pick a design and piece count that matches the level of difficulty you’d like to try. Keep in mind, once you start a puzzle, it’ll be hard to walk away. Good luck!
The designed featured in the image at the top of this post is “The Melting” by speedyjvw.