Project 5000: Assembling a 5.000 piece jigsaw puzzle of an ancient map


Sometimes you need something to set your mind at ease. That's why @TejaSmeja in I decided to build a 5.000 piece jigsaw puzzle, an ancient map of the world from 1630 by Ravensburger. It took us about two months or an estimated 500 hours of effective work, but it was fun and definitely worth the time. Looking at thousand of similar pieces for hours is a great way to relax after stressful work, the progress is very challenging and the results mentally very rewarding.

We've been evolving the technique as we went along, approaching the jigsaw puzzle in the following order:

  • the puzzle edges
  • the equator and world edges
  • the poles and the tropic
  • at this point, we've split apart. Mateja started working on the pictures around the world, I started working on the map.
  • we almost managed to put all the pieces out of the box. About one room of space.
  • I worked on the world from the inside out (since meridians and parallels are the most vertical and horizontal in the center)
  • Mateja worked on the pictures surrounding the world one by one, since each had specific colors
  • we've been adding significant elements as we went along (coastlines, signs, faces, etc.)
  • we used regular A4 sheets of paper for categorization and transporting
  • the sea came last since the pieces were very similar to each other. But It became easier with every step, since there were fewer left.

Here are a few pictures representing our assembly of Nova totius Terrarum Orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula. It was fun, so if you're searching for a new hobby for the next few months, jigsaw puzzles could be something worth looking at. We will probably do another one one day, when we find a big one we like.

Jigsaw Puzzle Start

Opening the box and noticing there are too many pieces to fit in the room

Jigsaw Puzzle Edges

Assembling the edges

Jigsaw Puzzle Equator and World Edges

Working on the equator and the edges of the world

Jigsaw Puzzle Connecting Equator and World Edges

Connecting the equator and the edges of the world to puzzle edges

Jigsaw Puzzle Poles and Tropic

Doing the poles and the tropic

Jigsaw Puzzle Pictures and World

Assembling the outer pictures and the world from the inside out

Jigsaw Puzzle Build

The bottom pictures are done, the world is coming together

Jigsaw Puzzle Almost Complete

The jigsaw puzzle is almost complete, all that's missing is the sea

Jigsaw Puzzle Complete

The final masterpiece

Jigsaw Puzzle Bonus Grega

Bonus: finding a piece with your name on it

A few more things you might find interesting:

written 16.10.2011 18:24 CET on chronolog
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