Monday 29 January 2024

Garden of Sun Signs 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger

Earlier in the year I wrote about the start that I had made on my first 3000 piece jigsaw. I chose Garden of Sun Signs from Ravensburger and you can read more about why I chose this puzzle here - A jigsaw challenge for the New Year. Here is the puzzle - it shows a garden filled with trees and plants along with representations of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Garden of Sun Signs 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger

I began the puzzle with a long sort out of pieces. I received some simple stacking trays for Christmas which made the job much easier. I concentrated on sorting out the edge pieces, the parts that contained the pale blue border, the pink rocks, the brown sky, the blue clouds, and any interesting pieces. 

I began the puzzle by working on the areas of brown sky and the blue clouds, which then led to the tree in the top left corner. I then moved on to as many of the pink rock and flower areas as I could. It was fairly challenging, I had to do some shape sorting for the rocks as they were all very similar, and I had to do another two sorts to pick out enough tree pieces to be able to put together a decent section. The tree in the top right was tricky as it was incredibly difficult to work out what pieces belonged there, I left most of it until almost the end.

I completed as much of the jigsaw as I could on my portable jigsaw board, which is the size of a standard 1000 piece jigsaw with two removable inserts. It was a bit frustrating, but it did mean that I could carry the jigsaw around to work on it and didn't need to take up a whole table.

Garden of Sun Signs jigsaw puzzle in progress

The next major area that I worked on was the side panels. I had already sorted out the edges and it was quite easy to pick out the pieces that belong in this section as they are distinctive and clearly different to the other pieces. This part was really enjoyable to put together, not too difficult but challenging enough to be interesting.

Garden of Sun Signs jigsaw puzzle working in smaller parts

Finally I reached the point where I wasn't able to work efficiently on the jigsaw while it was in pieces, so I transferred it to our dining room table. The finished puzzle measures 121cm by 80cm which is only slightly smaller than our largest table. Luckily we don't use the dining table regularly for eating! It was really good to see everything in position and it helped me to decide what to work on next.

Ravensburger Garden of Sun Signs jigsaw in progress review

Once I had placed the completed sections in position I was able to put together the final edge pieces along the bottom. I was dismayed to discover that there was a piece missing from the bottom edge - and so relieved when it turned up in a small selection of pieces that I had already sorted through at least five times!

Progress began to speed up at this point. I started to focus more now on the different zodiac signs, hunting through the miscellaneous piece box again. I also sorted out all the green pieces separately to put to one side. I worked on the large tree trunk to the right and Leo and Taurus underneath. 

Then I began to get a bit stuck because there was still so much of the jigsaw left to complete, and I was starting to realise just how much of that was different greens. There were also lots of pieces that I felt should have turned up by now which always makes me feel a bit anxious as I worry that they are missing. I decided to do another sort and tackle the light brown/beige areas and I also worked on the river which helped to pull things together. After re-sorting I was able to pick out almost all of the zodiac sign pieces and get them complete.

Garden of Sun Signs from Ravensburger progress

At this point I was left mainly with the green and flowered areas. This is when I began to slow down a bit again as I wasn't sure where to head next. I tried to sort out the different types of plants and flowers and did some colour sorting.

jigsaw puzzle set up for 3000 pieces

It was a big moment when I was able to fit all the remaining pieces onto one large puzzle board that I could keep next to me while I worked. I concentrated less on the sorting at this point and instead just went through the remaining pieces and worked out where they should go. Because the remaining gaps were quite small it was pretty easy to connect obvious loose pieces to the parts I already had in place.

Garden of Sun Signs jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger nearly complete

I only had one false fit in the puzzle and it confused me for a long time. I could tell that the piece I had fitted wasn't correct, as the image didn't line up properly. But it fitted so perfectly that I thought it might have been a printing error, even though I couldn't understand how it could have happened. 

It wasn't until I was nearly at the end that I found the piece that really belonged there, and I worked out where the original piece actually needed to go. I'm not an expert on how jigsaw puzzles are made but I wonder whether with a larger jigsaw the cut is repeated somehow. It's hard to tell as the puzzle is so large but it does look as though the two sides might be copied.

Ravensburger puzzle false fit example

The most difficult part of the puzzle was definitely the last 50-100 or so pieces - the opposite to what I usually find with a jigsaw puzzle! I had to resort to shape sorting the pieces right up until the last few, and even with just ten pieces left I was convinced that I had missing or extra pieces because I couldn't see how my remaining ones were going to fit. It was so satisfying to place the last piece and see it complete!

Ravensburger Garden of Sun signs puzzle complete detail

I really loved working on this puzzle. It was large, but it didn't feel too overwhelming at any point, and I progressed much faster once I was able to lay the whole thing out on the table. I did have anxiety about missing pieces throughout as I found that many pieces didn't look as I imagined them in my head. I was mentally rehearsing a future conversation with the Amazon chatbot, and deciding whether I would rather have a refund or replacement! But of course the puzzle was complete and I needn't have worried.

Garden of Sun Signs puzzle detail

I can't bear to take the puzzle apart just yet, it's such a gorgeous image that I want to keep looking at it. I'm not one to glue together or frame my photos but this one really would look gorgeous on display and the colours are much clearer and vibrant in reality than a photograph. I'll definitely be giving it another go at some point in the future.

Ravensburger Garden of Sun Signs jigsaw puzzle review

I started the puzzle a couple of days after Christmas and it took me about four weeks to complete. I worked on it most days, although sometimes I only placed a few pieces or did some sorting. 

Now I would love to try an even larger jigsaw puzzle, maybe a 5000 piece, but the main problem is finding somewhere large enough to lay it all out! There also aren't any designs I've seen that really appeal to me, and they are very pricy. In the meantime I received a nice stash of 1000 piece puzzles for Christmas so I'm going to be working on those next. I wonder if I'll find them super easy now!

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