National Geoplastic, a LEGO Mosaic by Duckingham Design

National Geoplastic, a LEGO Mosaic by Duckingham Design
Sometimes the job of friends is to remind you of your own epic fails in life. This one may not be *quite* as epic, but it has been a year since I built this mosaic, not to mention displaying it at BrickMagic 2011, so … mildly epic fail, at least. 🙂 So, thank you, Sue, for reminding MamaDuck to remind me to get this thing posted. 🙂

Another thing … the “built the mosaic” and the “display[ed] it at BrickMagic 2011” are very closely connected. In fact, MamaDuck, Duck Jr., and I put the whole thing together in our hotel room at the Hilton the day before the event. I’d designed it by hand on the computer already … we just hadn’t had a chance to piece it together. This also explains why our van was weighted down with excessive amounts of loose LEGO brick, too … had to make sure I had enough of everything. As it stood, we were *extremely* lucky to find that the Raleigh LEGO store *did* in fact have yellow 2×6’s and 2×4’s to help finish out the distinctive border. Something tells me that this mosaic wouldn’t have had quite the same effect if the border had been … say, green, or blue. 🙂

National Geoplastic is the third in my series of LEGO mosaic magazine parodies, following Mime Magazine and DuckJournal. For those of you who *just don’t get the reference* the idea here is a LEGO brick parody of the great adventuring magazine, National Geographic, and the famous cover with King Tut, here replaced with a LEGO King Tut. This is an homage, not only to the magazine, but also to the Pharoh’s Quest series of LEGO sets from 2011. (one of my favorite LEGO lines of all time, though sadly my set-buying budget has been down, and I only walked away with the 2 small sets from the series.)


A LEGO Basset Wedding Cake Topper?

“I like the Basset you built out of LEGO. Could you make one for a Wedding Cake Topper?” That was the question posed to me by a client recently.

The client had seen my previous LEGO basset sculpture, (a quarter of life-size), and was engaged to a man who is really into LEGO toys and has a Basset. She wanted to surprise him with a cake topper that combined some of his favorite things.

Since the previous sculpture I’d built was a little too big to fit on top of a (normal-sized) wedding cake, I pretty much went back to the drawing board on scale and shapes.  Fun challenge!

image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 1
image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 2
image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 3
image of a LEGO Basset Cake Topper 4


DuckJournal Magazine: For LEGO Duck enthusiasts everywhere!


All good AFOLs (Adult fans of LEGO) know about BrickJournal magazine. After I built my Mime Magazine mosaic, I started brainstorming about other magazine titles that would be fun to cover as LEGO. BrickJournal seemed to be an obvious choice, and mixing it up with a Duck followed pretty quickly.

It’s not always easy to get an idea of the size of LEGO mosaics when all I do is include a photo of just the mosaic, so I got a little help from some of the little girls in my life (above) to give you a better idea.

Here is DuckJournal on display with my Mime Magazine mosaic at BrickWorld 2011:



image of Mime Magazine Mime of the Year LEGO Mosaic by Duckingham Design

Building a LEGO magazine cover

Mime Magazine is the first in a series of 3 LEGO mosaics I built and displayed for BrickMagic 2011. Each of the 3 mosaics is a parody of a popular magazine. Playing on the popularity of the new LEGO Mime minifig, I thought it appropriate to announce a “Mime of the Year” in Mime magazine, complete with the red-bordered representation of the original magazine, Time.

Facts about LEGO Mime Magazine

Built: February 2011
Size: 35″ x 45″
5 Colors: Black, Red, White, Lt. Grey (Bley), Dk. Grey (Bley)
4500 pieces

image of Mime Magazine LEGO Mosaic, work in Progress in Progress early February 2011 image of Close-up of the finished face of Mime Magazine image of the Mime putting together a piece for the Mime Magazine LEGO Mosaic
The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks
The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks

The specification for HTML is one of those rare things that is the successful result of being run by committee. Or two. Considering the tens of thousands (if not millions) of HTML coders worldwide, we accept that a committee (or two) is superior than a democracy.

But, as something being run by a committee (or two), we still get iffy things like the occurrence this week of the announcement of a logo for the up and coming HTML 5 standard as well as another announcement that HTML 5 will not be known as such, but as simply HTML, which completely obliterates the logo.

But, since the whole thing is still run by a committee (or two), it is not clear at this time with the life and/or death of the HTML 5 logo will be.

In the meantime, fresh after the first announcement, I commenced upon my own personal interpretation of the logo in LEGO bricks. And post it here for posterity, regardless of the outcome. 🙂

The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks with Builder and Builder Jr.
The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks with Builder and Builder Jr.
LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds
LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds

These LEGO Basset Hounds were a recent commission I did for someone who really likes Basset Hounds and was looking for a unique gift for his wife (who also really likes Bassets). He was looking for something similar to the Basset out in front of the LEGO Store in Orlando, but not as costly to build. They are one-quarter the size of a real full-grown Basset.

I’ve seen the display at the LEGO store; I’ve also seen the miniature version Dan Steininger made of those dogs (since he had several on display at the LEGO R2-D2 Store Event in Lawrenceville a couple years ago). Dan had a miniature Basset there, and I had taken 1 or 2 not very good pictures.

After spending a great deal of time poring over those pictures and comparing to pictures of the larger model (I don’t have any Bassets I know personally that I can work from  ) I was able to build something similar.

I was a little short on plates up front, esp. in brown, since most of my work to date has been exclusively with bricks, so I built my prototype in blue with old brick. Once I was satisfied with a solid design, I ordered the remaining parts I needed to finish a brown Basset, then took pictures of the new one, with the original prototype. Well, the client loved both of them, so I had to scramble to put a new blue one together. 🙂 The images here are of the finalized bassets made of new brick, glued, and ready to ship.

LEGO Duckingham Logo (a LEGO portrait)
The Duckingham Logo, a LEGO portrait

Okay, so I’ve built the Duckingham Logo out of LEGO before. But that one only fit on one large grey baseplate — measured at 15″x15″. I wanted something bigger for BrickMagic.

So I went a size up—used 4 green baseplates, so I’m measuring 20″x20″ for this one. I was very satisfied at the improved resolution.

Would you believe I spent Thursday evening before BrickMagic putting this one together? That would explain why I was so tired that morning…;)

LEGO Chocolate Chip Cookies & Milk
LEGO Chocolate Chip Cookies & Milk

I’ve made LEGO Chocolate Chip Cookies before, but this task was a bit different: build life-size cookies and a corresponding glass of LEGO milk.

It was a pretty straightforward matter to draw a cookie shape on a piece of LEGO graph paper, and generally determine color and where chocolate chips could go. I also attempted to design the cookies  in such a way as to be simple and cost-effective for school-kids to build. Not that they ended up being as cost-effective as I’d have liked — and the build took longer than I thought when tested on family members. Hmm. So I ended up just showing them  to school kids. And they liked ’em.


I enjoy using Flickr for a number of things. Recently I found the “Flickr fan art” group and couldn’t find any logos built with LEGO. So I built one.

There are 731 LEGO bricks in the mosaic: 46 pink, 303 blue, and 382 white.

LEGO Mosaic of the Flickr logo by Duckingham Design

I discovered that having all that white in there makes it really tricky to get a decent photo. So I had to add some props into the background. 🙂 Here are a couple more shots. Tried to give a close up perspective in the first one, and then an angled shot in the next.

LEGO Mosaic Close-up of the Flickr logo by Duckingham Design LEGO Mosaic of the Flickr logo by Duckingham Design


I displayed this LEGO sculpture at BrickWorld this past summer, and it was a big hit with guests—adults and kids alike.

Why a Puzzle?

One day it dawned on me that I’d never seen a jigsaw puzzle made out of LEGO bricks. At that point it became a simple matter of determining what image to use on top and then to design the puzzle pieces.

For the image I used an existing LEGO portrait I’d built of my son, Christopher.

Building Objectives

Some of the key points I wanted to achieve were:

  • since this was my first puzzle, it should be simple, only a few pieces, but enough to get a good variety of pieces
  • the thickness of the pieces should be relatively scale to a real jigsaw puzzle
  • the pieces should resemble the shapes of real jigsaw puzzle pieces
  • and the pieces should be sturdy enough to not need glue to hold them together.

Display at BrickWorld

When I was displaying the puzzle on Saturday, I first kept it mostly together with just one piece removed. The initial reaction I got from a lot of people (especially kids) was, “It’s broken!”

Later I discovered that if I started with the six pieces separated, I drew crowds of a dozen people at a time standing there saying, “ooh, a jigsaw puzzle made of LEGO!” And they were equally amazed that all six pieces fit together. 🙂

Joe Meno, editor of BrickJournal magazine, posted a short video on Facebook with me demonstrating how the puzzle pieces fit together.

The Reverse Side

I intentionally designed the reverse side to aid in building, so the colors alternate. It also gives you a good visual at how the pieces are separate, yet all fit together.