If you’ve ever searched ‘jigsaw puzzle’ on Youtube, you’ve seen her videos. Karen Kavett (Karen Puzzles) is one of the biggest names in the puzzle world. Her Youtube channel is full of beautiful time-lapse videos of her completing puzzles of all shapes and sizes, plus honest and helpful reviews on a range of brands (including Cloudberries, of course) and even some tips and tricks that are great for puzzle lovers of all levels. Put simply, Karen is puzzle royalty!
And her booming puzzle channel isn’t even her main gig! Her wildly popular Karen Crafts channel has four times as large an audience and has led to her joining the hgtvhandmade team! Read our interview with Karen to learn more about her journey to puzzle-fame (what a time to be alive!), her puzzles and craft empire, plus future puzzle projects.
Tell us about your ‘puzzle journey’- When did you start puzzling, how’d you get interested, and what led you to start making puzzle videos?
I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles since before I can even remember. Everyone in my family loves puzzles, and I have very vivid memories of my mom working on puzzles with my sister and I, teaching us how to do them and letting us be more independent as we got old enough to do them ourselves. There were always puzzles around in our house and it became a hobby I really loved.
In 2018, I wanted to make some videos about how to do a puzzle and about my jigsaw puzzle collection for my main channel, since I had posted a lot of Instagram photos of my puzzles, and people always had questions. I ended up having so many ideas for more jigsaw puzzle videos that eventually I decided to delete all of the puzzle videos off of my main channel and make a brand-new channel on YouTube just dedicated to jigsaw puzzles!
You have seen and done a lot of puzzles – what about a puzzle makes it stand out to you? How do you decide what puzzles to feature on your channel?
I love any puzzles that are colourful, because I always say that if I’m going to be staring at something for hours on end, I want it to be colours that make me happy. When it comes to puzzles that I feature on the channel, I look for puzzles that are on the easier side, since I don’t want to end up with hours and hours of footage from a difficult puzzle.
I think it also makes a better video if you see me continually making progress on the puzzle rather than just staring at it and trying wrong pieces for ages. I also like puzzles that have some interesting aspect to them that I can talk about, whether it’s a unique style of artwork, interesting piece shapes, or anything else that’ll make it stand out.
What’s your strategy when you start on a puzzle, especially puzzles with high piece counts? Any special tips?
Honestly it’s the same strategy for higher piece counts as it is for smaller puzzles, it just takes more time to complete each step. I always start by sorting out the edges and any unique colors or textures that I spot right away. This is also the time that I turn all of the pieces right side up so I can see them all later without having to dig around too much. And then I just go for it and work on it like any other puzzle! Although, once you start getting into the 5000+ piece range, it can get a little different, so I have more tips on doing giant puzzles in this video:
What do you like to do while puzzling? Do you listen to music or audiobooks? Are you someone who needs silence? Do you enjoy doing puzzles with others or would you rather go at it alone?
My puzzling time is when I get caught up on my podcasts! I love true crime podcasts like My Favorite Murder and Casefile, and I also love Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. That one reminds me of when I was in high school and would work on puzzles while listening to the Harry Potter podcast Mugglecast!
I usually do puzzles alone and I prefer that most of the time, since I find it easier to work on if I’ve seen every single piece and know where all the pieces are without someone else moving them around. But I have had puzzle parties where I invite a bunch of friends over to all work on a puzzle together. It turns it into a social event, and that’s also fun, just a very different experience.
You’ve tried several puzzles from Cloudberries, including two of our new releases Outpost and Pixels. What’s been your favorite?
I still have a soft spot for Gradient, since it’s such a simple design but looks beautiful on camera. (It’s the background of all of the branding on my channel!) I also recently did Poolside, which has some of the most fun colors and textures I’ve ever seen in a puzzle. In fact, I did it without looking at the box, which added an extra challenge and there are enough different elements that it was the perfect puzzle do blind.
Of all the puzzle videos you’ve made (nearly 50!), what is your favorite/which are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of this video about doing giant puzzles, because it was a lot of work to get all of that footage together, and I finally took apart my 9000 piece puzzle for it. I also still love my video about how to do a jigsaw puzzle, since it was the first puzzle video I ever made and my tips have really seemed to resonate with people. I get comments about how people have started doing more puzzles or picked up their first ever jigsaw puzzle because of my videos, and that makes me feel really proud!
What’s next for Karen Puzzles? Can you share anything about upcoming projects?
I always have more videos coming up! I’m working on one called 10 Expert-Level Tips for Doing a Jigsaw Puzzle, where I’m showing a bunch of strategies that people have suggested in comments that I had never thought of in all my years of puzzling, so I’m excited for people to get to see their ideas on screen!
Thanks again to Karen for this peek into the world of one of our favorite puzzle bloggers! We can’t wait to hear the expert tips in your new video and try them out at home! Don’t miss out on Karen’s latest gifts to the puzzling word – follow Karen Puzzles on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook!