Refurbishing Montessori Materials

Refurbishing Montessori PuzzlesPuzzle Heads has been refurbishing and making repairs to many Montessori materials in the typical classroom for many schools in our geographic area for several years. We are familiar with all the materials and can tell you over the phone or by email whether it is an item we can refurbish and approximately how much it may cost. Montessori materials are expensive and for the most part long lasting. However, they are also very specialized – what do you do with the puzzle map missing one piece, the Pink Tower that has paint chipped corners or the Brown Stair that’s gouged and ugly? If you’re like most people you can’t bear to throw it out, so you squirrel away the material in a cupboard and buy a new one.

We have refurbished many Pink Towers, Brown Stairs, Red Rods, Cylinder Blocks, Knobless cylinders, Dressing Frames, trays and cabinets over the years, among many other materials found in the classroom. However, nowadays our refurbishing concentration is on map and other puzzle piece replacement and repairs.

Replacement pieces can be made for all puzzle maps (all brands), other puzzle-like materials (botany cabinet, geometry cabinet, zoology puzzle pieces) and even for your favourite non-Montessori puzzle that you’ve used in your classroom for years.  Some companies do supply replacement pieces for their puzzles.  However, the replacement pieces will usually only fit if you bought the original puzzle from that company in the recent past.

Economic pressures have forced even the most traditional Montessori materials suppliers to outsource their manufacturing overseas and to Asia. As a result, customers have noticed many changes to the quality and standards of Montessori materials. With respect to puzzle maps, there are so many versions of any given map out there, even ones from the same manufacturer. There are no standards, for example mandating that Chile is precisely the same shape from one puzzle to the next. Therefore, finding an exact replacement piece is a challenge, unless it is custom made.

Before and After
Before and After

Puzzle Heads makes new pieces for puzzles from Baltic Birch plywood for durability, not hardboard (also known as Masonite, pressboard, or MDF). Missing or broken puzzle knobs are replaced and sometimes custom made.

Since puzzle pieces must be custom fit to your puzzle, we do need to have the entire puzzle or geography map to work with, to ensure the new pieces fit seamlessly. Please contact us to make the arrangements.

Refurbishing pricing on some common puzzle pieces:

  • $20 per small puzzle replacement piece, single colour (countries like those in Central America)
  • $25 per small puzzle piece with a small amount of handpainted water detail or a medium size piece in a single colour
  • $35 per puzzle piece with more extensive handpainted water detail (countries like North America in the world map, Alaska)
  • $40 for a “composite” piece – a single piece composed of more than one country like Saudi Arabia or India
  • $40 for Chile replacement piece
  • $45 for a large piece like Canada, China or Russia

Curious about getting some of your materials refurbished? It won’t hurt to ask. Send me a quote request here.