Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Help! Why didn't my puzzle come with a picture?

In keeping with the original jigsaw puzzle tradition, we don’t include the puzzle image with the puzzle. When renting a puzzle, there is an option at checkout to have the image included with your rental. If you forgot to tick that box, you can search the website to see the puzzle’s image.

Can you replace a lost or damaged piece?

Yes, with great care and skill. To do so, we require the surrounding pieces of the missing or damaged piece to be provided to us. This creates a ‘frame’ around the area that allows us to recreate a piece.

We ask that you place no tape, glue or other adhesive to the surrounding puzzle pieces. A safe way to send the surrounding pieces to us is to sandwich them between pieces of cardboard that are secured by a rubber band.

As creating replacement pieces is quite labor intensive, we charge $79 per piece to do so. You can place an order for a replacement piece here. 

How do I redeem my free replacement piece certificate?

Place an order for a replacement piece here.  In your cart or during checkout, type the certificate number in the area for “coupons” to receive your free replacement.

How do I redeem a gift certificate? 

You can redeem a gift certificate by entering the 16 digit gift certificate number under “add a gift card” in the Gift Card section of your Account. 

Stored gift certificates can be applied to purchases at checkout. 

If you have not stored your gift certificate, you may enter its 16 digit number in checkout before finalizing your purchase.

What are some common puzzle terms?

We all use our own vocabulary when puzzling — "double clover with a spikey in the middle” or “big wedge and a dog leg” or whatever it may be. Puzzle pieces connect, or don’t, in various ways. Our artisans use a variety of terms to describe how pieces “fit” within a puzzle.

The most basic elements of a puzzle are called many things. The part of a piece that sticks out and interlocks into an adjoining piece is called a knob, nubby, key, tab, outie, loop, male, or bump depending on its shape. Conversely, the part of a piece that is indented and receives an adjoining piece is called a hole, lock, innie, blank, socket, slot, female, pocket, or notch.

At Elms, we make interlocking wooden jigsaw puzzles. Interlocking pieces hold together because one piece “locks” into the other. If an entire puzzle is interlocking, you can often lift it by one edge to turn it upside down to look at the back of the puzzle. Flipping over a puzzle without losing pieces is considered a true test of puzzle cutting talent. Other types of puzzles include, semi-interlocking puzzles, which have some pieces that “lock” and others that loosely fit together, or push fit puzzles, which do not feature interlocking pieces. 

Special or “whimsy” pieces are one of the things that make jigsaw puzzles so special. Here’s a guide to some typical whimsy pieces and cutting techniques.

Silhouette pieces

Pieces in the shape of a person or object, usually inspired by the puzzle’s image. Every Elms puzzle contains an array of silhouette pieces.

Signature pieces

Signature pieces are a special shape or figure that the cutter has adopted as their “signature.” Companies also have signature pieces.  Elms' signature piece is its tree logo. Each of our artisan cutters has a signature piece that appears in every puzzle they cut.

Interacting silhouettes

Two related silhouette pieces that touch each other to create a larger scene. 

Personal pieces

When making a custom puzzle, we can include pieces in the shape of letters, numbers, or objects that are special to you. 

Dead end cuts

Extra cuts in a whimsy piece that only go partly through the piece. Dead end cuts give whimsy pieces more definition and detail. 

Color-line cuts

Cutting precisely between two colors to make the puzzle more challenging. 

Split corner

Pieces that fit together to form a corner of a puzzle.

Fake corner

Pieces that look like traditional corner pieces but are located within the puzzle. 


Also called “sliver dropouts,” sculpting is when negative space is used to create shapes or figures.

Drop outs

Drop outs are holes intentionally cut out of the interior portion of the puzzle image that enhance or highlight areas of the image and make the puzzle more difficult to assemble.

Rental Questions

How do I properly return an Elms rental puzzle?

Click here for rental puzzle return instructions.

If I rent multiple puzzles at one time, can they be shipped separately?

If you’d like to rent multiple puzzles at one time and have them shipped to you separately (including separate pre-paid return labels), we ask that you purchase each rental as a separate sales transaction.

How long are rentals? 

We rent puzzles for a minimum of 6 weeks. We have found 6 weeks to be ample time to ship and complete a puzzle. If you need more than 6 weeks, rentals will auto-renew in 6 week increments until the puzzle is returned.

When does the rental period begin?

Your rental period begins on the day you place the order. However, if there has been a significant transit delay or we were unable to ship your puzzle in a timely manner, please reach out and we can adjust your rental period accordingly.

To avoid being charged for a renewal, when are puzzles considered "returned"?

Puzzles are considered conditionally returned when you drop off the puzzle to be returned and the shipping carrier scans the return label. You will not be charged for renewing your rental so long as you drop off the puzzle to be shipped back before your rental expires. If you have questions or believed you were charged after you dropped off the package, but before it was checked in by the shipping carrier, please email us and we'd be happy to figure it out. 

What happens if I am late returning a puzzle?

If you want to keep a puzzle beyond the initial rental period, you may do so.  We will automatically charge your account for the extension of the rental time until the puzzle is returned. 

If your payment method gets automatically charged for a renewal and you believe it has been in error, please let us know and we'd be happy to investigate further. 

How many times can I extend a puzzle rental?

You may extend your rental for up to 3 renewal periods. Renewal charges will be automatically applied to your account until the puzzle is returned. After 3 renewals, we consider the rental puzzle sold and will charge your payment method the retail price of the puzzle. 

How many puzzles are in the Puzzle Library?

We have over 400 puzzles in the Rental Puzzle Library. We continuously refresh the library with newly crafted puzzles with a variety of images, sizes and cutting styles. Only Elms Club members are eligible to rent 600+ piece puzzles.

What if I can’t find my return label?

Contact us at and we will email you a pre-paid return label.

Can I buy a rental puzzle rather than return it?

Instead of renting a puzzle from the Rental Puzzle Library, you may choose to purchase it at its “retired puzzle” price. If you decide you’d like to purchase a puzzle that you currently have on rent, please send an email to, and we will assist you with the purchase.

Can I have rental puzzles shipped to me at an alternate address?

You may enter an alternate shipping address in checkout for rental puzzle delivery. We will ship the puzzle to the address that you indicate at the time of your rental request.

What happens if I lose a piece or damage a puzzle?

Sometimes a piece goes missing, a beverage is spilled on a puzzle, or a furry family member tries to “help” with the puzzling. Also, depending on temperature and humidity, handling by the shipping company and multiple people assembling the puzzle, it is possible that pieces may begin to have paper lift, plies of the wood may begin to separate or small pieces may break off.

If damage is minor (one piece lost/damaged, paper lift, ply separation), please note the issue when you return the puzzle to us. We also ask that you segregate the damaged pieces(s) following these instructions so that we can send the puzzle for TLC before we offer it for another person to rent.

Membership Questions

Can I buy a membership for someone as a gift?

To gift someone an Elms Club membership, please purchase a gift certificate for store credit that your recipient can use to join the club.

How do I cancel my membership?

You can cancel your membership at any time by logging and clicking on "manage membership." You can also email or call us to cancel your membership.

When you cancel, your membership will no longer automatically renew and expire as scheduled. You will continue to have access to club benefits until the expiration date.

Do you offer membership outside of the United States?

International customers can join the club to take advantage of perks like early access to sales and 15% off purchases, but we are currently unable to either rent puzzles or provide free shipping to international customers.

International members receive $200 in store credit upon signup and renewal. If a non-U.S. member mistakenly rents a puzzle, we will contact the member and cancel the rental transaction.