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A Catablog of Tools, Tips, and Techniques for building with LEGO®


Category: Techniques

The Venice Library – “X marks the spot…” by 2MuchCaffeine

MrWhiskersMainView by Teddy(Johan)

Scriptorium by Bricktales

Scriptorium by Bricktales

LEGO books and LEGO bookshelves can be built and presented in a variety of succesful ways, as these builders have demonstrated.

LEGO Books

There are a variety of ways to portray a book with LEGO. One of the most obvious is by using part # 33009,the 2×3 book that first started showing up in 1997 in lots of the sets that were primarily marketed to girls: the Belville stuff, the dollhouse stuff. More recently they’ve appeared in a number of the Harry Potter sets.

Another good method is to use a variety of different-colored 1×2 or 2×2 tiles set into a bookshelf to give the appearance of a full shelf of books. This is the method that 2MuchCaffeine and Teddy(Johan) used in the first two pictures above.

I also like the effective way BrickTales had both types of books on his shelf above, plus using the printed 2×2 tiles to depicting individual pages being written.

LEGO Bookshelves

In the examples above, we see some standalone bookshelves as well as some built into walls. For the standalone, brown makes a good representation of wood, and the builders have integrated a number of ingenious uses of brown pieces … minifig legs, minifig heads, etc. I also like BrickTales’  use of arches in the built-into-the-wall bookshelves.

Riverside Stroll, originally uploaded by Erdbeereis1.

Erdbeereis1 mentions that this was MOC was mainly an effort to test out the water concept he had, that he’ll probably use later in a bigger scale.

LEGO Water

The water turned out very well — by using 2×2 peaks in an alternating pattern he has effectively portrayed in LEGO water that is moving — perhaps we have a river here, or a boisterous lake. Definitely not calm water, but nothing so unusual to scare off the people sitting around on the observation deck of the bridge.


The fence is another awesome technique. Interwoven into the tiles that give the smooth surface of the bridge, are the dark gray 1×1 plates that are the base for the 1×1 cylinder bricks that then hold mechanaical claw (part #48729, which in turn holds up the chain.


I’ve seen a number of arches where the builder has used 1×1 or 1×2 plates underneath for a decorative effect, but this goes a little further. By using a 1×2 Jumper Plate, he’s also been able to show a curve that juts out for an a bit of an overhang effect. Very well done!

Brick Wall

This technique is not so uncommon any more, but it’s always refreshing to see it on an otherwise “big gray wall.” A different-colored tile that juts out a little farther than the rest of the bricks. This is typically achieved by using headlight bricks in the wall and then slapping the plate on top of that.


And did you notice that the pigeon just left a present on one of the benches? Hilarious!

SlyOwl demonstrates several creative uses of LEGO pieces in this lively vignette.

The first thing I noticed was the clever use of minifig arms for the legs to depict running. Another thing is the use of diver fins for the roof.

An easy one to overlook might have been the microscale boat in the background, since it fits in so nicely. SlyOwl is making use of a forced perspective — a technique that’s started showing up here and there.

The Barrel used as a dress is unusual, but I believe he was looking for an unusual use for a barrel for the seed piece contest.


Jojo put this vignette together in his folder of work on Classic Space; it has been shown on a few blogs, but I wanted to highlight the “minifig MOC” technique here.

The humor is great, but the thing that really stood out to me is his use of a “minifig MOC”, that is, a creation that is presented as if built by the minifig. The castle and space MOCs are clearly recognizable for what they are in miniscale, and would have worked well as standalone models, but put the minifigs around them and you’ve created a LEGO fan convention or perhaps a LUG. This is a beautiful technique, and I hope to see more of this sort of thing here and there.

Hardsuit, originally uploaded by Lord Dane.

I’m a sucker for a good mech, and this one by Lord Dane is awesome. The toes and fingers are hilarious, and the whole idea of a storm trooper dropping right into the armor is great. Adds potential for a whole new Star Wars flick. Or maybe some concepts that George Lucas can retro back into his next major revision of the original trilogy. Did I actually just say that out loud? My apologies to all you SW purists out there…