Skip to Content

Join the Brittany Goldwyn newsletter today! Subscribe

How to Make a Puzzle With xTool

Learn how to make a puzzle with an xTool machine! It’s an easy process, and I’m walking you through the steps you can follow to make your own custom puzzle. xTool sent me the beautiful acrylic sheets to make these projects. Affiliate links below; read more about those here.

How to make a puzzle with an xTool P2

Hey all! Back with another xTool P2 CO2 laser cutting machine project. I shared an xTool P2 review not long ago after xTool sent me the machine to review. That post outlines what you can make with the machine—including some of the things to ask yourself before investing in one.

One of the benefits of having an xTool P2 machine is that it is a CO2 laser machine. This means that it can cut a wide variety of acrylics, including colors and transparency levels that you cannot cut on a diode laser.

Reminder—the xTool M1 machine, which I have also reviewed, is a diode laser. It can cut some types of acrylic, and I have a post all about cutting acrylic on the M1 machine if you’re interested. But today I am cutting some fun acrylic colors and finishes that require a CO2 laser.

I’ll be using both of my machines for this project today—but to be clear, you can use the xTool P2 for the entire project. It’s just easier for me to multitask while sitting next to my M1 and monitoring the cuts than it is my P2 🙂 So in the pictures, you’ll see I’m cutting some of the wood pieces on the M1 but cutting the acrylic pieces on the P2.

name puzzles made on a laser cutting machine

Here’s what I used for this project:

acrylic pink letters in a laser cutter name puzzle

And here’s how to make a puzzle with a laser cutting machine!

Always take the proper precautions and safety measures before working with any tools or materials. Wear safety equipment and work with a professional to complete projects when necessary. Read my full terms of use and disclosure for more. Happy making and stay safe!

Step 1: Design your puzzle

I will be making a few name puzzles for this post. But the process is the really the same no matter what type of puzzle you are making. I am also designing my puzzle in xTool Creative Space, which is the free software most people use to cut files with xTool machines.

However, you can replicate this project in many other different types of design software! All you really need is access to a text generator, a merge or combine tool, and various background shapes like rectangles.

Here are the pieces you need for your puzzle:

  • Plain backing piece—I’m using 1/4″/6mm baltic birch
  • Puzzle cutout piece—this piece is the same size as the plain backing piece, but it has cutouts for all of the puzzle pieces; I’m using 1/8″/3mm basswood for this and adding a small semicircle to help make it easier to take pieces out
  • Puzzle pieces—these are the actual pieces you’ll put into the puzzle cutout areas; I’m using 1/8″/3mm acrylic for these

A note on the semicircles: These are not required. They add a nice touch on the name puzzles, especially because they are designed for very small kids. If you use them, you’ll need to merge/combine them to the puzzle cutout areas. If you don’t use them, you’ll have to turn the puzzle over and dump the pieces out to get them out of the cutouts.

Also–when placing the letters of the name text on the backing pieces, make sure to align the text both vertically and horizontally so it is perfectly centered.

Here’s a look at the steps in xTool Creative Space if you’re a more visual person!

screen captures of xTool Creative Space that show the steps outlined in this post
screen captures of xTool Creative Space that show the steps outlined in this post

Step 2: Cut the wooden pieces out

Adjust your settings according to what you’re cutting. I’m using 1/4″/6mm baltic birch for the blank base and 1/8″/3mm basswood for the cutout piece. Make sure to remain by your machine to monitor the cuts—never leave a laser cutting machine unattended while it’s working and always vent the exhaust smoke appropriately (out a window or into a purification system).

Step 3: Cut the acrylic puzzle pieces out

Next repeat step 2 for your acrylic pieces. I’m cutting my acrylic pieces out of a few different types of acrylic. No matter the color and transparency, everything cut out beautifully! I used the P2 acrylic settings on xTool’s website.

cutting acrylic on the xtool M1
acrylic glitter letters
acrylic glitter letters
acrylic glitter letters

Step 4: Assemble the puzzle

As a final step, you’ll want to finish and assemble the puzzle. This can be done in a variety of orders. For some of the puzzles, I glued the wooden cutout piece to the blank base using wood glue. Then I sealed the pieces using aerosol varnish in a satin finish.

For others, I wanted to paint the letter areas in the cutouts, and I thought it would be easier to do that before gluing the two base pieces together. So I painted the plain base piece first, then glued the cutout piece on and finished everything with aerosol varnish.

No matter which approach you choose, make sure any finishes you’re using are safe for younger people. There are plenty of non-toxic and water-based finishes out there. I highly recommend doing your research based on the materials available to you (and any local regulations if you’ll be selling these!).

wooden base cut on a laser machine to make a name puzzle
wooden base cut on a laser machine to make a name puzzle
name puzzle with a wooden base and glitter acrylic letters made on an xtool p2
name puzzle with a wooden base and glitter acrylic letters
name puzzle with a wooden base and glitter acrylic letters

Can I make a puzzle without a CO2 laser cutting machine?

If you don’t have a CO2 laser cutting machine, you can still make a puzzle at home! Diode laser machines are perfectly acceptable to use—you’ll just have fewer acrylic options to choose from when working with a diode.

Instead, you could choose to forego acrylic all together and cut the puzzle pieces out of wood. Actually, this means that you’ll have less waste since you can use the wooden pieces you cut out of the puzzle cutout piece! You can always paint them to give them more color and personality.

name puzzle with a wooden base and glitter acrylic letters made on an xtool p2

Pin my post about how to make a puzzle!

collage that says how to make a name puzzle on an xtool P2 including photos of the puzzles

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This blog's content is for entertainment purposes only and is not professional advice. By reading this blog and attempting to re-create any content shared on it, you assume all responsibility. Read my full Terms of Use here.