Two ideas inspired me recently.
First, I saw The Lego Movie. The movie makes a strong case about how to play with Legos. There are those that build the sets as intended and never alter them, and there are those who make up their own creations. As a kid I was of the first philosophy, but I always wanted to be of the latter.
Second, I read Brick by Brick, an excellent account of Lego’s financial struggles during the mid-2000s, and how the company turned itself around. The author mentioned how Lego’s headquarters features plastic fishbowls full of Legos on every conference room table.
And inspiration came together. Why don’t I have Legos laying around my apartment to motivate me creatively? And why don’t I be the kind of person who makes whatever he wants with Legos?
A simple solution presented itself: buy Legos, put them in jars, and put them on my coffee table.
That night I went to Walmart to scope out my first Lego purchase in a long time. I found this yellow bucket of basic Lego pieces, and this stormtrooper set.
The bucket had all sorts of unique Lego pieces, very few standard bricks. This would open up all sorts of fun possi-build-ities!
I got the stormtrooper set mostly because I wanted some minifigs, and four stroomtroopers, plus an abundance of special gray and black pieces, would add to my piece variety.
The stormtrooper transport wasn’t that interesting of a set to begin with. Is this supposed to be a spaceship? Was this even in the movies?
Honestly, as far as Star Wars sets go, and Lego in general, this set just didn’t do it for me. So I felt no shame in building it once, then promptly demolishing it. Not a big leap of faith, to be sure, but that’s something I never would’ve done as a kid!
I then went to Hobby Lobby and bought three glass jars with lids, jars big enough that I could fit my adult hand in. I got some 1/2″ sticker letters and wrote a phrase on each: “IF YOU BUILD IT…”, “PLAY WELL” (the Dutch translation of “Lego”), and “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!” from the Lego Movie.
I roughly sorted the pieces into the jars: flat plates in one, basic bricks in the second, and small, unique, moveable, and minifig pieces in the third.
And that’s it! An easy project, to be sure, but one that promises a lot fun. The jars sit on my coffee table. Now when people visit, they have something easily accessible to play with. If Legos sit in the closet, they take effort to bring out and build. But if they are sitting in common areas, they invite building.
My first creations
Every few days, I’ll take 10 to 20 minutes out of my time to dump out the Legos and build something small. It’s been a lot of fun so far! Here are some of my first creations. I have very few duplicate pieces in those jars, and so many different colors, that it’s proven a lot harder than I thought to make compelling mini models.