Title:
Puzzle connector and method of connecting a puzzle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A puzzle connector kit including at least one piece of a flexible material with a coating of adhesive on one side. The side is arranged for placement on a back side of a jigsaw puzzle to fixedly connect the piece and puzzle. In some aspects, the at least one piece is arranged to maintain the puzzle in a planar alignment, or includes a plurality of pieces. In some aspect, at least one piece in the plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that the pieces are disposed within the circumference of the puzzle. Also, a method of connecting a jigsaw puzzle, including the steps of adhering at least one piece of a flexible material to a back side of the jigsaw puzzle and maintaining the puzzle in a planar alignment.



Inventors:
Dedrick, Paul (Springville, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/647998
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
12/29/2006
Assignee:
Buffalo Games, Inc. (Buffalo, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/153R
International Classes:
A63B71/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070194531Spelling poker card gameAugust, 2007Fujka et al.
20040220001Lighted sports gameNovember, 2004Oister et al.
20040262838Icosadodecahedron puzzle systemDecember, 2004Graham
20080042357Marketing playing card setFebruary, 2008Gueldenpfennig
20090072479MAT INCLUDING A COMPOSITE STRUCTUREMarch, 2009Spohn et al.
20050040592One card poker with the jokers pokey wheelFebruary, 2005Adams III
20040000757ImmigrationJanuary, 2004Jinadu
20100078889THREE OR MORE PLAYER CHESS GAMEApril, 2010Owen
20070001395CARD SCRAMBLING DEVICEJanuary, 2007Gioia et al.
20060273517Fantasy sports cardsDecember, 2006Laporte
20070216102BOARD GAMES WITH PROJECTILES AND METHODS OF PLAYING THE SAMESeptember, 2007Matilla et al.



Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C. Paul Maliszewski (Williamsville, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A puzzle connector kit comprising: at least one piece of a first flexible material; and, a coating of a first adhesive material on a side of said at least one piece, wherein said side is arranged to be placed upon a back side of a jigsaw puzzle to fixedly connect said at least one piece and said puzzle.

2. The puzzle connector kit of claim 1 wherein said puzzle comprises a plurality of pieces and each piece in said plurality of pieces is arranged to be in contact with said at least one piece of a first flexible material.

3. The puzzle connector kit of claim 1 wherein said at least one piece of a first flexible material is arranged to maintain said puzzle in a planar alignment.

4. The puzzle connector kit of claim 1 wherein said at least one piece of a first flexible material comprises a plurality of pieces.

5. The puzzle connector kit of claim 4 wherein said puzzle comprises a circumference and at least one piece in said plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in said plurality of pieces such that said plurality of pieces is disposed within said circumference.

6. The puzzle connector kit of claim 1 further comprising at least one piece of a second flexible material with a coating of a second adhesive material on one side, wherein said one side is arranged to be placed on a front side of said puzzle to connect said at least one piece of a second flexible material and said front side.

7. The puzzle connector kit of claim 6 wherein said front face comprises a surface condition and said at least one piece of a second flexible material is arranged to be removable from said front side while maintaining said surface condition.

8. A puzzle connector kit comprising: a plurality of pieces of a first material; and, a coating of a first adhesive material on a respective side of each piece in said plurality of pieces, wherein said respective sides are arranged to contact a back side of a jigsaw puzzle to fixedly connect said plurality of pieces and said puzzle.

9. The puzzle connector kit of claim 8 wherein said first material is flexible.

10. The puzzle connector kit of claim 8 wherein pieces in said plurality of pieces of said first material are foldable.

11. The puzzle connector kit of claim 8 wherein at least one piece in said plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in said plurality of pieces when said plurality of pieces is in contact with said back side.

12. The puzzle connector kit of claim 8 wherein said puzzle comprises a first area, said plurality of pieces of said first material comprises a second area larger and than said first area, and at least one piece in said plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in said plurality of pieces such that a third area formed by said plurality of pieces is less than said first area.

13. The puzzle connector kit of claim 8 wherein said puzzle comprises a circumference and at least one piece in said plurality of pieces of said first material is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in said plurality of pieces such that said plurality of pieces is disposed within said circumference.

14. The puzzle connector kit of claim 8 further comprising at least one piece of a second material with a coating of a second adhesive material on one side, said one side arranged to be placed on a front side of said puzzle to removably connect said at least one piece of a second material and said front side.

15. The puzzle connector kit of claim 14 wherein said second material is flexible.

16. A puzzle connector kit comprising: a first plurality of pieces of a first flexible material with a coating of a first adhesive material on a first respective side of each piece in said first plurality of pieces; and, a second plurality of pieces of a second flexible material with a coating of a second adhesive material on a second respective side of each piece in said second plurality of pieces, wherein said first respective sides are arranged to be placed upon a back side of a jigsaw puzzle to fixedly connect said first plurality of pieces and said puzzle, wherein at least one piece in said first plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in said first plurality of pieces when said first plurality of pieces is placed upon said back side, and wherein said second respective sides are arranged to be placed on a front side of said puzzle to removably connect said second plurality of pieces and said front side.

17. A method of connecting a jigsaw puzzle, comprising the steps of: adhering a plurality of pieces of a first material to a back side of said jigsaw puzzle; and, overlapping at least one piece in said plurality of pieces with another piece in said plurality of pieces.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein said jigsaw puzzle is assembled and said method further comprising maintaining said assembly of said puzzle.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein said jigsaw puzzle comprises a plurality of puzzle pieces and adhering a plurality of pieces of a first material to a back side of said jigsaw puzzle further comprises adhering each puzzle piece to at least one piece in said plurality of pieces.

20. The method of claim 17 wherein said puzzle comprises a first area and said plurality of pieces comprises a second area larger than said first area and wherein overlapping at least one piece in said plurality of pieces further comprises overlapping at least one piece in said plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in said plurality of pieces such that a third area formed by said plurality of pieces is less than said first area.

21. The method of claim 17 wherein said puzzle comprises a circumference and wherein overlapping at least one piece in said plurality of pieces further comprises overlapping at least one piece in said plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in said plurality of pieces such that said plurality of pieces fits within said circumference.

22. The method of claim 17 further comprising adhering at least one piece of a second material to a front side of said puzzle prior to adhering said plurality of pieces to said back side.

23. The method of claim 22 further comprising removing said at least one piece of a second material from said front side after adhering said plurality of pieces to said back side.

24. The method of claim 23 wherein said at least one piece is formed from a flexible material.

25. The method of claim 17 wherein said plurality of pieces are formed of a flexible material.

26. A method of connecting a jigsaw puzzle, comprising the steps of: adhering at least one piece of a first flexible material to a back side of said jigsaw puzzle; and, maintaining said puzzle in a planar alignment.

27. The method of claim 26 wherein said at least one piece further comprises a plurality of pieces.

28. The method of claim 27 further comprising overlapping one piece in said plurality of pieces with another piece in said plurality of pieces.

29. The method of claim 28 wherein said puzzle comprises a circumference and wherein overlapping one piece in said plurality of pieces with another piece in said plurality of pieces further comprises overlapping at least one piece in said plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in said plurality of pieces such that said plurality of pieces fits within said circumference.

30. The method of claim 26 wherein said jigsaw puzzle comprises a plurality of puzzle pieces and adhering at least one piece of a first material to a back side of said jigsaw puzzle further comprises adhering each puzzle piece to said at least one piece.

31. The method of claim 26 further comprising adhering at least one piece of a second material to a front side of said puzzle prior to adhering said plurality of pieces of said first material to said back side.

32. The method of claim 31 further comprising removing said at least one piece of a second material from said front side after adhering said plurality of pieces to said back side.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to a kit and method for connecting an assembled jigsaw puzzle. In particular, the kit can include a plurality of flexible pieces for connecting the puzzle and the pieces can be overlapped to eliminate the need for trimming the pieces.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to adhere a rigid board to the back of an assembled jigsaw puzzle in order to hold the puzzle together, for example, to display the puzzle. Unfortunately, the board must be sized at least as big as the puzzle, which creates significant storage and sales display problems for the boards. For example, retail establishments in general do not offer such boards for sale due to the bulkiness of the boards. Unfortunately, the boards also are not modular, that is, are not usable for more than one size of puzzle without trimming.

Thus, there is a long-felt need to provide a means for connecting a jigsaw puzzle that requires less storage and display space and is easily adapted to different size puzzles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention broadly comprises a puzzle connector kit including at least one piece of a first flexible material and a coating of a first adhesive material on a side of the at least one piece. The side is arranged to be placed upon a back side of a jigsaw puzzle to fixedly connect the at least one piece and the puzzle. The puzzle includes a plurality of pieces and in some aspects, each piece in the plurality of pieces is arranged to be in contact with the at least one piece of a first flexible material. In some aspects, the at least one piece of a first flexible material is arranged to maintain the puzzle in a planar alignment. In some aspects, the at least one piece of a first flexible material includes a plurality of pieces.

The puzzle has a circumference and at least one piece in the plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that the plurality of pieces is disposed within the circumference. In some aspects, the connector kit includes at least one piece of a second flexible material with a coating of a second adhesive material on one side. The side is arranged to be placed on a front side of the puzzle to connect the at least one piece of a second flexible material and the front side. The front face includes a surface condition and the at least one piece of a second flexible material is arranged to be removable from the front side while maintaining the surface condition.

The invention also broadly comprises a puzzle connector kit including a plurality of pieces of a first material and a coating of a first adhesive material on a respective side of each piece in the plurality of pieces. The respective sides are arranged to contact a back side of a jigsaw puzzle to fixedly connect the plurality of pieces and the puzzle. In some aspects, the first material is flexible or pieces in the plurality of pieces of the first material can be folded or rolled.

In some aspects, at least one piece in the plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces when the plurality of pieces is in contact with the back side. The puzzle has a first area, in some aspects, the plurality of pieces of the first material has a second area larger and than the first area, and at least one piece in the plurality of pieces is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that a third area formed by the plurality of pieces is less than the first area. The puzzle includes a circumference and in some aspects, at least one piece in the plurality of pieces of the first material is arranged to overlap at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that the plurality of pieces is disposed within the circumference.

In some aspects, the connector kit includes at least one piece of a second material with a coating of a second adhesive material on one side and the side is arranged to be placed on a front side of the puzzle to removably connect the at least one piece of a second material and the front side. In some aspects, the second material is flexible.

The invention further broadly comprises a method of connecting a jigsaw puzzle, including the steps of adhering a plurality of pieces of a first material to a back side of the jigsaw puzzle and overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with another piece in the plurality of pieces. The jigsaw puzzle is assembled and in some aspects, the method includes maintaining the assembly of the puzzle. The jigsaw puzzle includes a plurality of puzzle pieces and in some aspects, adhering a plurality of pieces of a first material to a back side of the jigsaw puzzle includes adhering each puzzle piece to at least one piece in the plurality of pieces. The puzzle includes a first area and the plurality of pieces has a second area larger and than the first area and in some aspects, overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that a third area formed by the plurality of pieces is less than the first area. The puzzle includes a circumference and in some aspects, overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that the plurality of pieces fits within the circumference.

In some aspects, the method includes adhering at least one piece of a second material to a front side of the puzzle prior to adhering the plurality of pieces to the back side. In some aspects, the method includes removing the at least one piece of a second material from the front side after adhering the plurality of pieces to the back side. In some aspects, the at least one piece is formed from a flexible material or the plurality of pieces are formed of a flexible material.

The invention broadly comprises a method of connecting a jigsaw puzzle, including the steps of adhering at least one piece of a first flexible material to a back side of the jigsaw puzzle and maintaining the puzzle in a planar alignment. In some aspects, the at least one piece includes a plurality of pieces. In some aspects, the method includes overlapping one piece in the plurality of pieces with another piece in the plurality of pieces. The puzzle includes a first area and the plurality of pieces has a second area larger than the first area and in some aspects, overlapping one piece in the plurality of pieces with another piece in the plurality of pieces further includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that a third area formed by the plurality of pieces is less than the first area. The puzzle includes a circumference and in some aspects, overlapping one piece in the plurality of pieces with another piece in the plurality of pieces further includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that the plurality of pieces fits within the circumference.

In some aspects, the jigsaw puzzle includes a plurality of puzzle pieces and adhering at least one piece of a first material to a back side of the jigsaw puzzle includes adhering each puzzle piece to the at least one piece. In some aspects, the method includes adhering at least one piece of a second material to a front side of the puzzle prior to adhering the plurality of pieces of the first material to the back side. In some aspects, the method includes removing the at least one piece of a second material from the front side after adhering the plurality of pieces to the back side.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a kit and method for connecting an assembled jigsaw puzzle.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a kit and method for connecting an assembled jigsaw puzzle that eliminates the need to trim connecting pieces.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a kit and method for connecting an assembled jigsaw puzzle that requires reduced storage and display space.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciable from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention and from the accompanying drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a prospective view of a back piece from a present invention kit for connecting a puzzle;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the back piece shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a back view of the back piece shown in FIG. 1 with a corner of the protective layer peeled back;

FIG. 4 is a back view of a puzzle with three overlapped back pieces in place;

FIG. 5 is a back view of a puzzle with six overlapped back pieces in place;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a front piece from a present invention kit for connecting a puzzle;

FIG. 7 is a top view of a puzzle with five front pieces in place;

FIG. 8 is a top view of a puzzle showing a present invention method step of placing adhesive pieces on the front of a puzzle;

FIG. 9 is a back view of the puzzle in FIG. 8 showing initiation of a present invention method step of placing adhesive pieces on the back of the puzzle;

FIG. 10 is a back view of the puzzle in FIG. 8 showing completion of the present invention method step of placing adhesive pieces on the back of the puzzle;

FIG. 11 is a front view of the puzzle in FIG. 8 showing a present invention step of removing the pieces shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 12 is a flowchart of a present invention method; and,

FIG. 13 is a flow chart of a present invention method.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

At the outset, it should be appreciated that like drawing numbers on different drawing views identify identical, or functionally similar, structural elements of the invention. While the present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred aspects, it is to be understood that the invention as claimed is not limited to the disclosed aspects.

Furthermore, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the particular methodology, materials and modifications described and as such may, of course, vary. It is also understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention, which is limited only by the appended claims.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although any methods, devices or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the invention, the preferred methods, devices, and materials are now described.

FIG. 1 is a prospective view of back piece 102 from a present invention kit for connecting a puzzle.

FIG. 2 is a side view of back piece 102 shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a back view of back piece 102 shown in FIG. 1 with a corner of the protective layer peeled back. The following should be viewed in light of FIGS. 1 through 3. A present invention kit, hereinafter referred to as “a kit,” includes at least one back piece 102. Piece 102 includes layer 104 of adhesive material on side 106 of the back piece. In some aspects, the piece also includes protective layer 108 which is disposed over the adhesive layer. As further described infra, piece 102, in particular layer 104 on side 106, is arranged to be placed on a back side of a jigsaw puzzle (not shown) to fixedly connect piece 102 and the puzzle. In some aspects, a kit includes a plurality of back pieces.

In some aspects, a kit includes a plurality of back pieces and in the use of a kit, at least some of the pieces can be overlapped as described infra. In those aspects in which pieces 102 are intended to be overlapped, the pieces are made of any material known in the art which can be overlapped and not leave significant gaps between the overlapped pieces when the pieces are applied to the puzzle. In some aspects, body 110 of the back pieces are made of, or formed from, any flexible material known in the art, including, but not limited to, plastic or other laminar material. The flexible material can be transparent, translucent, or opaque. In some aspects, body 110 is sufficiently flexible to be rollable (not shown). That is, the pieces can be rolled into respective cylindrical shapes or can be folded. Rolling or folding the back pieces can be advantageous with respect to storage, shipping, or display of a kit.

To facilitate the overlapping, thickness 111 of the bodies is determined to enable sufficient overlapping while maintaining sufficient structural integrity. Pieces 102 are not restricted to any particular thickness 111 and the thickness can be determined according to the characteristics of the material used to form the back pieces and the length 112 and width 114 of the body. It should be understood that back piece 102 is not limited to any particular length or width and that the length or width can be selected in accordance with the materials used to construct the back piece, the size of the puzzle with which it is desired to use the back pieces, or commercial considerations such a desired size of a kit for shipping, storage, or display purposes as further discussed infra. It also should be understood that pieces 102 are not limited to the rectangular shape shown in the figures and that other shapes, including, but not limited to, non-rectangular polygonal, arcuate, and combinations of polygonal and arcuate are included in the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. It also should be understood that pieces 102 in a kit do not need to have a uniform shape or size.

The adhesive used in layer 104 forms a permanent, or fixed, connection between the body and the puzzle. Any adhesive known in the art can be used. The protective layer can be made of any material known in the art, such paper with a coating to inhibit adhesion between the adhesive and the protective layer.

FIG. 4 is a back view of puzzle 116 with three overlapped back pieces in place. The following should be viewed in light of FIGS. 1 through 4. Puzzle 116 is used to illustrate the configuration and use of a kit in the discussion that follows, however, it should be understood that a kit is not limited to use with a particular size or shape of jigsaw puzzle and that the discussion that follows is generally applicable to any size or shape of jigsaw puzzle known in the art. Jigsaw puzzle 116 includes a plurality of pieces and in some aspects, each piece in the plurality of pieces is arranged to be in contact with at least one back piece. Once assembled, jigsaw puzzle 116 forms a plane. For display of the puzzle, it is desirable for the plane to be as straight, or non-curved as possible. The contact of the back pieces with puzzle 116 is arranged to maintain the puzzle in a planar alignment, that is, the back pieces hold the pieces of the puzzled in the assembled position. In particular, the back pieces hold the puzzle pieces in a substantially straight plane.

In general, the back pieces are arranged so that the back pieces do not extend beyond circumference, or perimeter, 118 of the puzzle when the pieces are applied to the puzzle. In some aspects, the area of puzzle 116 is greater than the area of a single piece 102. Then, multiple pieces are used to cover back 120 of the puzzle. In some aspects, puzzle 116 forms a first area and the multiple back pieces, that is the plurality of back pieces, form a second area larger and than the first area. That is, the extent of the composite area of the back pieces (the sum of the individual back piece areas) is greater than the extent of the puzzle area. To adapt the multiple back pieces to the area of the puzzle without extending back pieces past circumference 118, at least one back piece is arranged to overlap at least one other back piece, such that the composite area of the back pieces, including the overlapped back pieces, as applied to back 120, is less than the puzzle area. For example, in FIG. 4, back pieces 102A, 102B, and 102C overlap without extending past the circumference. In some uses of a kit, margin 121 is maintained between the puzzle perimeter and the back pieces. It should be understood that the use of a kit is not limited to any particular value for margin 121 and that margins 121 need not be uniform for an application of a kit.

It should be understood that a kit is not limited to any particular number of overlapping back pieces. Further, in use with a puzzle, a kit is not limited to any particular degree of overlap between back pieces, or to any particular number of back pieces overlapping each other. For example, use of a kit is not limited to a particular extent 122 of overlap between adjacent back pieces. Further, for a same puzzle application, use of a kit is not limited to a uniform extent 122. That is, in the use of a kit, some pairs of adjacent back pieces can overlap more or less than other pairs of adjacent back pieces.

In some aspects (not shown), a single back piece is sized such that when the piece is applied to a puzzle; the piece contacts each piece in a puzzle without extending beyond the circumference. In some aspects (not shown), a single back piece has a perimeter such that when the piece is applied to a puzzle, the piece extends beyond the perimeter of a puzzle and the back piece is trimmable to fit within the perimeter of the puzzle

FIG. 5 is a back view of puzzle 116 with six overlapped back pieces in place. The following should be viewed in light of FIGS. 1 through 5. In some aspects, puzzle 123 in FIG. 5 is the same size as puzzle 116 in FIG. 4, and back pieces 102 in FIG. 5 are smaller than those in FIG. 4, such that more back pieces are needed to engage the puzzle. In some aspects, puzzle 123 is larger than puzzle 116, and the back pieces in FIG. 5 are at least equal in size to back pieces 102 in FIG. 4.

As shown in FIG. 5, for a kit in use, a back piece can overlap with adjacent back pieces in two dimensions. That is, a back piece can overlap with more than one other back piece. For example, back piece 102D overlaps with adjacent back pieces 102E, 102F, and 102G. Thus, use of a kit is not limited to overlapping a back piece with a particular number of adjacent back pieces. Use of a kit also is not limited to particular extents of overlap between back pieces overlapping multiple adjacent back pieces. For example, use of a kit is not limited to particular dimensions for overlaps 124 and 126. Further, for a same application, a kit is not limited to uniform overlap dimensions for back pieces overlapping multiple adjacent back pieces. That is, in a use of a kit, some back pieces overlapping multiple adjacent back pieces can overlap more or less than other back pieces overlapping multiple adjacent back pieces.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of front piece 130 from a present invention kit for connecting a puzzle. In some aspects, a kit includes at least one piece 130 with layer 132 of adhesive material on side 134. Pieces 130 are arranged to be placed on a front side of a puzzle to connect the pieces and the front side of the puzzle as further described infra. The adhesive used for layer 132 has different adhesive characteristics than the adhesive used for layers 104. Specifically, for the use of a kit, the adhesive in layer 132 enables removal of pieces 130 from the front face of the puzzle without marring the surface of the front face. Alternately stated, the surface of the front face is in a certain condition and pieces 130 are arranged to be removable from the front side while maintaining the surface condition. The adhesive can be any temporary or removable type adhesive known in the art. In some aspects, protective layer 136 is placed over layer 132.

It should be understood that a kit is not limited to any particular number or size of pieces 130. For example, pieces 130 are not limited to a particular length 138 or width 140. Also, the length or width can be selected in accordance with the materials used to construct the pieces, the size of the puzzle with which it is desired to use the pieces, or commercial considerations such a desired size of a kit for shipping, storage, or display purposes as further discussed infra. It also should be understood that pieces 130 are not limited to the rectangular shape shown in the figures and that other shapes, including, but not limited to, non-rectangular polygonal, arcuate, and combinations of polygonal and arcuate are included in the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. It also should be understood that pieces 130 in a kit do not need to have a uniform shape or size.

In some aspects, body 142 of piece 130 is made of, or formed from, any flexible material known in the art, including, but not limited to, plastic or other laminar material. The flexible material can be transparent, translucent, or opaque. In some aspects, the front piece is sufficiently flexible to be rollable (not shown). That is, the front pieces can be rolled into respective cylindrical shapes or folded. Rolling or folding the front pieces can be advantageous with respect to storage, shipping, or display of a kit.

FIG. 7 is a top view of a puzzle with five front pieces 130 in place. Pieces 130 are used to hold an assembled puzzle together so that the puzzle can be flipped over to apply pieces 102 to the back side. In some aspects, a kit includes five pieces 130 for such use. For example, in FIG. 7, pieces 130A through 130D are placed along respective edges of puzzle 116 and piece 130E is placed diagonally across the front face. It should be understood that a kit is not limited to any particular number of front pieces and that the use of a kit is not limited to the configuration of the front pieces, with respect to the puzzle, shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 8 is a top view of a puzzle showing a present invention method step of placing adhesive pieces on the front of a puzzle. Present invention method 200 for connecting a puzzle is illustrated in FIGS. 8 through 11. In these figures, at least some of the components shown in FIGS. 1 through 7 are used for purposes of illustration. However, it should be understood that a present invention method of connecting a puzzle is not limited to the configuration shown in FIGS. 1 through 7 and that other configuration are included in the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. Step 202 adds at least one piece 130 to the front of assembled puzzle 116. Step 202 is not limited to applying any particular number of pieces 130 or applying the pieces in any particular relationship or configuration. In some aspects, five pieces are applied. In FIG. 8, piece 130E, the last of the five pieces is being installed. Pieces 130 temporarily hold puzzle 116 together so that the puzzle can be flipped over.

FIG. 9 is a back view of the puzzle in FIG. 8 showing initiation of present invention method step 204 of placing at least one adhesive piece on the back of the puzzle. After completing step 202, the puzzle is flipped over so that the back is accessible as shown in FIG. 9. Then, step 204 applies one or more pieces 102 to the back. In FIG. 9, a first piece, piece 102A, is being applied.

FIG. 10 is a back view of the puzzle in FIG. 8 showing completion of present invention method step 204 of placing adhesive pieces on the back of the puzzle. In FIG. 10, the last back piece, piece 102A, is being applied. Step 206 overlaps the back pieces as shown in FIG. 10. It should be understood that step 204 is not limited to a particular number, shape, or configuration of pieces 102. It also should be understood that step 206 is not limited to overlapping a particular number of back pieces and is not limited to a particular configuration or degree of overlapping.

FIG. 11 is a front view of the puzzle in FIG. 8 showing present invention method step 208 of removing the pieces shown in FIG. 8. Once all the pieces 102 are applied to the back of the puzzle in step 204, the puzzle can be flipped so that the back faces downward and the front face of the puzzle is accessible. Step 208 removes pieces 130, which were placed on the puzzle in step 202. Pieces 130 are no longer necessary once pieces 102 are applied to the back of the puzzle. In FIG. 11, the last front piece, piece 130A, is being removed.

FIG. 12 is a flow chart illustrating present invention method 300 of connecting a puzzle. Although the method in FIG. 12 (and FIG. 13 below) is depicted as a sequence of numbered steps for clarity, no order should be inferred from the numbering unless explicitly stated. The method starts at step 302. Step 306 adheres a plurality of pieces of a first material to a back side of a jigsaw puzzle. Step 310 maintains the assembly of the puzzle.

In some aspects, step 308 overlaps at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces. In some aspects, step 304 adheres at least one piece of a second material to a front side of the puzzle prior to step 306. In some aspects, step 312 removes the at least one piece of a second material from the front side after step 306.

The jigsaw puzzle includes a plurality of puzzle pieces and in some aspects, step 306 includes adhering each puzzle piece to at least one piece in the plurality of pieces. The puzzle includes an area and in some aspects, the plurality of pieces includes an area larger than the puzzle area. Then, step 308 includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with another piece in the plurality of pieces such that an area formed by the plurality of pieces is less than the area of the puzzle. The puzzle includes a circumference and in some aspects, step 308 includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with another piece in the plurality of pieces such that the plurality of pieces fits within the circumference.

In some aspects, the plurality of pieces of the first material is formed of a flexible material. In some aspects, the at least one piece of the second material is formed from a flexible material.

FIG. 13 is a flow chart illustrating present invention method 400 of connecting a puzzle. The method starts with step 402. Step 406 adheres at least one piece of a first flexible material to a back side of the jigsaw puzzle. Step 410 maintains the puzzle in a planar alignment. In some aspects, the at least one piece is a plurality of pieces and step 408 overlaps one piece in the plurality of pieces with another piece in the plurality of pieces. In some aspects, step 404 adheres at least one piece of a second material to a front side of the puzzle prior to step 406. In some aspects, step 412 removes the at least one piece of the second material from the front side after step 406.

The puzzle has an area and in some aspects, the plurality of pieces has an area larger than the puzzled area and step 408 includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces such that an area formed by the plurality of pieces is less than the area of the puzzle. The puzzle has a circumference and in some aspects, step 408 includes overlapping at least one piece in the plurality of pieces with at least one other piece in the plurality of pieces so that the plurality of pieces fit within the circumference.

A present invention kit and method advantageously resolve the problems noted supra regarding the connection of an assembled jigsaw puzzle. For example, the kit can include multiple, flexible back pieces that can be overlapped to enable the back pieces to be adapted to the size of the puzzle without requiring trimming or other onerous actions by a user of the kit. The use of multiple back pieces enables the pieces to be reduced in size, enabling a kit to be contained in a smaller package with a smaller footprint. Also, the back pieces can be rolled or folded to further reduce package size. The use of light-weight material for the back pieces reduces the weight of a kit. The reduced package size and weight facilitate storing, shipping, and displaying the kit, making the kit an attractive option for “brick and mortar” retailers, and reducing costs for “virtual” retailers. The use of multiple pieces also makes the kit modular That is, a single kit with multiple back pieces can be used on a wide variety of puzzle sizes. This modularity reduces storage and stocking cost and complexity and increases options for users of the kit. The kit provides a means of securing an assembled puzzle without bulky bracing. The back pieces can be relatively light and can cooperate with the interlocking forces among puzzle pieces to maintain the assembled puzzle in the desired, planar configuration.

A kit also can include multiple, flexible front pieces to temporarily hold the puzzle together so that the puzzle can be flipped. The use of the front pieces eliminates the need for a user of the kit to find some other device to secure the puzzle for flipping or to otherwise devise a means of flipping the puzzle without the puzzle coming apart. Further, the front pieces perform the preceding function without marring the front surface of the puzzle. Like the back pieces, the front pieces enable a kit to be contained in a smaller package with a smaller footprint, while reducing the weight of the kit. The use of multiple front pieces also enhances the modularity of the kit.

Thus, it is seen that the objects of the invention are efficiently obtained, although changes and modifications to the invention should be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as claimed. Although the invention is described by reference to a specific preferred embodiment, it is clear that variations can be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention as claimed.