Listen & Craft: Dakota's 40,000 Piece Project
April 29, 2024

Listen While You Puzzle: Dakota’s 40,000 Piece Project

Dakota Cohen By Dakota Cohen

My mother has always loved jigsaw puzzles. For as long as I can remember, there has been a puzzle in progress out on a table, ready to be worked on. As a child, I would watch her pick up a piece among hundreds and, like magic, put it in its correct place in one move. Now, as an adult, working on a puzzle with her is one of my favorite ways to spend time together. We find our perfect zen while putting the pieces back together for hours; sometimes in silence, sometimes with music, but most often while listening to an audiobook.

When I moved back home in 2020 for the COVID-19 quarantine, jigsaw puzzles became more of an escape for us than ever. She and I decided that there was no better time to take on our biggest challenge yet: a 40,000 piece puzzle! Yes, you read that right. The correct number of zeros are there. And why not? It was either that or baking bread.

Thankfully, the picture was broken up into ten 4,000 piece puzzles, which made the creation of it slightly more manageable. Though, we were lucky: the dining room table just barely fit the 4,000 piece puzzles on top. We braved a journey to Staples to buy 20 pieces of poster board, which became the backboard we built each puzzle on, so we could move them all later (since the only space large enough to display the full puzzle was the basement floor).

Something else you should probably know is that my mom and I are incredibly competitive. So when I say we “do puzzles together” it’s really more of a race than a collaboration. We often get so intense about finding pieces that we’re elbowing each other out of the way. And don’t even get me started on who gets to place the final piece (Yes, this is our zen). For these 4,000 piece puzzles, we decided to split the picture in half and each work from the outside edge towards each other, so we had designated puzzling areas and evenly split effort.   And so, with nothing much better to do, we completed our largest puzzle to date. And it only took a little over a year, and 30 audiobooks to complete it.

Here’s a selection of some of the audiobooks that read us through our puzzle journey: