How to Build an Epic LEGO Wall

How to Build an EPIC LEGO Wall | Follow along with this detailed tutorial to create your very own EPIC LEGO Wall. Great for libraries, makerspaces, classrooms, bedrooms, offices or anywhere awesome. Bonus printable in post too! | RenovatedLearning.com

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Building an EPIC LEGO WALL

This post is a tutorial on how to build your own Epic LEGO Wall.  I’ve had many, many people ask me how to build a LEGO wall, and while there’s tons of great information out there, I’m going to put my own spin on things, so here goes.

Timelapse Video of our Epic LEGO Wall Build

How to Build an EPIC LEGO Wall

The 80" x 80" plywood mounted and ready. | RenovatedLearning.com

The 80″ x 80″ plywood mounted and ready. |

Supplies

The supplies will vary depending on what size of a LEGO wall you want to build.  I decided to go all out and make a giant 80″ x 80″ EPIC LEGO wall so that it could be the centerpiece of our library Makerspace.  Of course, any size LEGO wall that works in your space is awesome 🙂

Don’t have 80″ x 80″ of wall space?  Check out my LEGO Wall Round-up, featuring LEGO walls on columns, poles, easels and more!

Here’s what I used:

  • 80″ x 80″ sheet of plywood (note: 80.5 would have been better.  Can use MDF also.  You’ll want 10 inches for every baseplates, with about 1/16 inch between each one to space them correctly)
  • Concrete screws or hardware specific to your surface
  • 4 10oz tubes of Liquid Nails or similar glue (I actually used a different brand, but can’t find the name now.  Ask the people who work at Home Depot or Lowes for advice.)  You want to have more than you think you’ll need.  You can always return unused glue
  • Caulking gun (link is not to exact one I used, but is similar)
  • 64 10″ x 10″ LEGO Baseplates

Cost:  The plywood and screws were free for me as the district provided them, but plywood is pretty inexpensive anyhow.  The glue was $20, caulking gun was $6.  The baseplates were selling for at two for $12 at Kaplan at the time I bought them, costing a total of $384, which we raised through DonorsChoose.  So a LEGO wall of this size runs about $400 total.  Prices will vary.

 

Make sure you use a caulking gun. It makes it easier (and makes you look pretty cool) | RenovatedLearning.com

Make sure you use a caulking gun. It makes it easier (and makes you look pretty cool)

Use a Caulking Gun.  Seriously.

I highly recommend using a caulking gun as it makes it SO much easier to evenly distribute your glue.  Plus, it makes you look really cool.  Don’t get too close to the edges of the baseplate, or glue will bleed through, and it’s a pain to clean up.  Glue all four sides of the baseplate, then add an x in the middle and more glue in between.  It helps if you spread it all over the plate tool. NOTE: Use more glue than I have here in these pictures.  I had to redo some plates later.  Adding a spray adhesive can help secure the plates even more.

Putting glue on the baseplates. This was not enough glue. Use more than this and spread it around the plate. | RenovatedLearning.com

This was not enough glue. Use more than this and spread it around the plate.

The First Plate is Critical

The first plate you glue down will be the most important one, as it will affect the layout of all other plates.  Take your time and make sure that you align it perfectly.  You may even want to use a level.  As you glue the baseplate on, take into consideration the direction of the text on the studs – if you look closely, you will see the word LEGO written on every stud.  Most people will probably never notice or care, but if it bothers you (or you know if will bother your students) make sure that LEGO is always going in the right direction.  Or don’t.  It doesn’t affect functionality at all.

It’s recommended that you tape down your first baseplate with duct tape to secure it.  I didn’t, but my glue was holding pretty well.  If you find it slipping, tape it down.

The first plate is crucial. Use a level and make sure you get it right. | RenovatedLearning.com

The first plate is crucial. Use a level and make sure you get it right.

Adding more baseplates

After you get the first plate down, start working in rows to add more plates.  As you add each plate, attach it to surrounding plates with LEGO bricks.  This will keep every aligned well so that you’ll be able to build seamlessly, and it will help to anchor the baseplates as the glue dries.  This will leave a 1mm gap between each plate, which should be taken into account when you decide how large your plywood will be.  Since this gap shows, you might want to paint your plywood if wood showing through is a concern for you.  I didn’t see the need to, and I think it looks fine.

Use larger LEGO bricks to secure the plates to one another. This spaces things out correctly. | RenovatedLearning.com

Use larger LEGO bricks to secure the plates to one another. This spaces things out correctly.

Mind the gap

Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account that 1 mm gap between each plate when I got my plywood, so when I got to the last plate, I had about a 1/2 inch overhang.  To fix this, I cut off two rows of studs on my baseplates.  It’s surprisingly easy to do.  I placed LEGO bricks across what I wanted to cut to give me a perfect line that would still allow building.  Then I scored it several time with a box cutter.  After a few passes, the remaining portion broke right off.  I placed the raw edge to the inside so that the original edge is still on the outside.

This solution worked for me, but if you can avoid having to cut the baseplates, it’s better.  Try to not be like me and start off with the right size of plywood.

Cutting the baseplate with a box cutter. Stylish band-aid from cutting myself on a tape dispenser, not with the box cutter. | RenovatedLearning.com

Cutting the baseplate with a box cutter. Stylish band-aid from cutting myself on a tape dispenser, not with the box cutter.

It’s worth the wait

Once everything is up on the wall and secured comes the hardest part – waiting.  Put up some cute and clever signs, barricade it with caution tape, just do what you have to do to keep the kids from messing with it.  The glue needs 24 hours to completely cure, and it would be horrible for all your hard work to go to waste.

Putting up the last brick. Note the cheeky signs encouraging my students not to touch it. | RenovatedLearning.com

Putting up the last brick. Note the cheeky signs encouraging my students not to touch it.

After 24 hours, let the kids loose and watch the magic happen. I couldn’t resist adding some LEGO works on my own, adding pixel art versions of Mario and Link, as well as the Epic LEGO Wall words.

Our first Epic LEGO Wall builds | RenovatedLearning.com

Our first Epic LEGO Wall builds

I would love to see every school build an Epic LEGO wall – they’re so much fun.  My students love it, and it’s a great opportunity for them to exercise creativity, spatial thinking, fine motor skills, math, etc.  Plus, it’s just fun and stress relieving.

WORD OF WARNING: Some plates will eventually work themselves loose.  This is normal.  Just remove the hardened glue, sand down the wood, and re-glue them back on.  I’ve had to do this every couple of months or so, depending on how heavily the wall has been used.

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Are you building a LEGO wall in your school?  Please share and let me know!  I love seeing all the awesomeness 🙂

 

Our Epic LEGO Wall, several weeks after building it. | RenovatedLearning.com

Our Epic LEGO Wall, several weeks after building it.


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is a middle school media specialist/teacher librarian in Tampa, FL. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana is currently co-authoring a book for ABC-CLIO titled Challenge-Based Learning in the Library Makerspace.

Comments

  1. I want to do this!!!!

  2. PLEASE tell me where you got those stools. I’ve been looking for them ever since I saw them at our children’s museum!

  3. Oh, wonderful!!!!

  4. Love love love this. When I finally aquire my classroom I will definitely be doing it. Very creative thinking!

  5. Ohh, I want one of these! Maybe Santa can bring one for Christmas! Thanks for this awesome idea!

  6. Love this Lego wall.. Question about management of it. Do you have any rules/procedures about the work that is put on the wall. For example if a student/s build something can someone else come and immediately take down some of the pieces for their creation?

    • I haven’t made any official rules yet, although I might in the future. For the most part, students have respected the projects that obviously took more time, but they aren’t afraid to pull down ones where students just threw a couple of bricks up there. Every once and awhile, I clear off a couple of things to make more room. I’ve emphasized to my students that our Makerspace is a collaborative environment, and that means that sometimes someone else might take apart or modify something that they made.

  7. […] had our Epic LEGO Wall up for a few weeks now and my students absolutely love it.  It makes me smile everyday when a […]

  8. I am so glad i found this! I have an autistic son and we have built him a new bedroom and all we have heard is he wants a lego wall in his room….. so thank you for posting this!!!! so excited and he is going to love it!!!

  9. […] I followed in the construction of our LEGO Wall. You can find all of the information you need on her blog — I followed her instructions exactly and everything came out perfectly. I also love that she […]

  10. I am in the process of creating a Makerspace in my former computer lab. So far, we have Legos, KNex, and a Zome tool kit. AND I finished my Lego wall this weekend (with the help of my super hubby)!!! WHOOP WHOOP! The kids were excited when they came in this morning. Thanks for posting the details of how you did yours – it was so very helpful. Instead of taping, my husband stapled small pieces of thin wood to the bottom, which made a little lip to help the plates stay on. We just pulled them off when it was done.

  11. […] Here’s a wonderful blog post from Diana Rendina (@DianaLRendina) about the Epic LEGO Wall she built at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Tampa, FL: http://renovatedlearning.com/2014/09/12/the-epic-library-lego-wall-how-to-build-one/ […]

  12. […] The Epic Library LEGO Wall – How to Build One (Sept 12, 2014) […]

  13. […] The Epic Library LEGO Wall […]

  14. […] and tinker with LEGOs and K’nex.  Within this space is the centerpiece of our library, our Epic LEGO wall, where students can build amazing vertical LEGO creations.  We also have our whiteboard wall, […]

  15. […] furniture.  We had nine DonorsChoose projects funding over $5,000 worth of supplies.  We built an Epic LEGO wall and painted a whiteboard wall.  Our after-school STEAM club has connected with Colleen […]

  16. 10 Gift Ideas for the Lego Fans - HuntSimply : February 6, 2015 at 4:56 am

    […] Lego walls See the details on how to build a Lego wall here. Get the Lego Large Building Plates at […]

  17. […] Via Renovated Learning […]

  18. Hi Diana, what a fantastic idea!
    How has the glue stood the test of time and pulling lego bricks off it repeatedly?
    What would you have done differently that isn’t in your method above already?

  19. Calling all LEGO Walls | Renovated Learning : July 24, 2015 at 6:06 am

    […] I built the Epic LEGO wall at Stewart last year, I’ve heard from so many people who’ve used the tutorial I created to create all sorts of LEGO walls in their spaces – from giant ones like mine to individual […]

  20. […] year ago today, I put up that last brick and finished building our Epic LEGO Wall at Stewart.  Since then, I’ve been awed and humbled to see so many other schools build LEGO […]

  21. This Epic Lego Wall is awesome!!!! Love it… My son’s love for LEGO encouraged me to start a FLL Robotics Lego league for our middle school. Our team won 1st place and compete at state and this all started with a passion for lego. Now, my son is a freshman at West Point (United States Military Academy) and studying Nuclear Engineering. LEGO help channel my son’s passion for creating and critical thinking skills.

  22. Kate Johnson-McGregor : February 8, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    I totally followed your lead and I’m proud to say we now have an Epic Lego Wall in my school Library Learning Commons! Thanks for the tips, tricks and inspiration! The building began today!

  23. Thank you so much for this post! I am working with two 5th grade students on building a LEGO wall outside at recess. Can you think of any reason we shouldn’t do one outside? We found your post very helpful and will post pictures when we are done – still in the planning phase! – The Principal 🙂

    “Yo, that’s awesome!” – the 5th graders 🙂

    Ruggles Lane School, Barre, MA

    • My only concern with one outside is that, if you’re mounting it on plywood, it will eventually rot unless it is pressure-treated. But that’s probably more of an issue here in Florida with our crazy humidity. I imagine that you could also attach the baseplates to something other than wood, though I haven’t tried that. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out 🙂

      • Our facilities department is working with a local lumber yard to make sure the plywood is ok to be outside! Our biggest issue will be the cold…I really want to have it out at recess as an additional activity for the kids so we may just go for it!

  24. […] gotten SO MANY IDEAS for our library from Pinterest, including the original inspiration for our Epic LEGO Wall.  I’ve been saving ideas on my Library and Learning Space Design Pinterest Board, so go […]

  25. We used large 3m double sided strips on the back of the base plates that work just as well. If you want to simplify things.

  26. […] the inspiration of Diana Redina’s Renovated Learning site and amazing how-to blog post, we began with the vision of where to build our own Lego wall. First, we needed to measure how much […]

  27. Love, love, love this! Going to do this next year in my classroom. I was thinking of attaching the base plates to the wall with the Command Velcro strips since I think it needs to be temporary. Any other thoughts? I don’t want to make it and then not be able to take with me if I move to another room.

    • I’ve never tried it with velcro strips myself, but I’ve heard of others doing that with success. You could also try a mobile LEGO wall by mounting the baseplates on a mobile easel.

  28. Love it! I cannot wait to share your blog with my high school counterpart!

  29. Cheryl Wagner : July 2, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I am planning on putting a Lego wall in my new Makerspace in my library. My question is: Do you have to put up plywood? Can you glue the base plates on the wall directly?

  30. […] Rendina, expert på biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap beskriver i sin blogg hur man bygger en legovägg. Posted in förvaring, organisera, strukturera, planera, prioritera, besluta, favoriter […]

  31. Jody Stevenson : July 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Where were you able to purchase 54 LEGO base plates? Amazon limits 2 per person.
    Thanks!

  32. Kiva Liljequist : August 31, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    The baseplates through Kaplan (item #31565) have slightly rounded corners, not crisp 90 degree corners. I called Lego and they confirmed that the corners are indeed slightly rounded. Are the corners of your baseplates slightly rounded, or were they sharp 90 degree corners? I’m slowly going crazy, looking for sharp corners!

  33. I’m confused with the liquid glue and the chalking gun. Do you use both to glue the lego bases onto the wall? Which is for which? Thank you

  34. Hi,

    I work in construction and am building one of these for my clients in San Francisco. I’m glueing the panels to MDF and wanted to ask about the flatness. Are the panels wavy or does the glue keep it pretty tight to the wall? My wall will be 11’x14′ so it’s big!

    Great post. I am definitely modeling off your idea!

  35. I can’t seem to find where I can buy bulk base lego plates. Everywhere I look limits the number you can buy. Any suggestions?

    • I called LEGO and told them what I wanted the baseplates for. The woman I spoke with put me on hold so she could get the go-ahead for me to get 42 baseplates instead of the max of 5 on the LEGO website. She came back and told me she got the thumbs up; they indeed shipped me 42 baseplates. I think if you explain why you want so many, they’ll go with it. No educators’ discount, though…

  36. […] at Stewart Middle School in Tampa, FL, and SLJ 2015 Build Something Bold award recipient, on “How to Build an Epic LEGO Wall.”  The post offered great […]

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