#optical illusion

“The Mystic Maze” by Boya Sun. All images © Max Temkin, shared with permission

When Max Temkin was considering his latest project, Magic Puzzles, he wanted to ensure that the most exciting moment wasn’t inserting the last piece. The Chicago-based designer, who’s behind games like Cards Against Humanity, worked with artists Boya Sun, Felicia Chiao (previously), Sarah Becan to create 1,000-piece jigsaws that have an added surprise: “When you receive the box, there’s a big envelope that says, ‘Don’t open this until you’re done with the puzzle.’ When you finish the puzzle and open that up, it starts the magical ending and makes some cool surprises available,” Temkin says. Once users complete the mythical landscapes and fantastical scenes—and open the envelope—an optical illusion and final narrative reveal themselves.

As an added bonus, each individual piece has its own miniature picture of a figure, building, or scene. “To make the magical ending work right, we had to customize the shape of every single piece in all three puzzles. While we were at it, we also made sure that the individual puzzle-piece shapes highlighted the cool art details instead of cutting them in half,” Temkin writes. Fifty eggs are hidden throughout each work, offering a treasure hunt, too.

Because the jigsaw pieces required extreme precision for the surprise ending to work correctly, the designer said that he had to collaborate with the factory on a new die-cutting technique. “Some of the roughly 3,000 blades that make up our dies actually had to be precise to within 0.1 millimeter—30 times more precise than a regular puzzle,” he said.

To get a Magic Puzzle for yourself, back the project on Kickstarter, and keep up with Temkin’s innovative projects on Instagram.


“The Sunny City” by Felicia Chiao

“The Happy Isles” by Sarah Becan


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