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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Want a nice, printable pdf of all that? Click here
Are you building a LEGO wall in your school? Please share and let me know! I love seeing all the awesomeness 🙂
50 thoughts on “How to Build an Epic LEGO Wall”
I want to do this!!!!
PLEASE tell me where you got those stools. I’ve been looking for them ever since I saw them at our children’s museum!
They are 18″ Hokki stools, made by VS Furniture. I got mine from Kaplan via DonorsChoose. Here’s a link to Kaplan: http://www.kaplanco.com/shop/furniture/hokki-stools
They are called Hokki stools…great for wiggly bottoms! You can search on Google or Amazon.
Love love love this. When I finally aquire my classroom I will definitely be doing it. Very creative thinking!
Ohh, I want one of these! Maybe Santa can bring one for Christmas! Thanks for this awesome idea!
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.
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!!!
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.
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?
I have had to re-glue several plates that have been pulled off over time. I think this is just a part of having a LEGO wall – I’ve tried several different types of glue, and it happens with all of them eventually.
I put one in my classroom…thanks so very much for the help!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Love it! I cannot wait to share your blog with my high school counterpart!
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?
Where were you able to purchase 54 LEGO base plates? Amazon limits 2 per person.
I bought mine through Kaplan.
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!
I’m pretty sure that mine are slightly rounded.
Oh, that’s good to hear. So it doesn’t look strange where there’s a little “hole” at each spot where four plates meet?
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
I glued them onto the plywood, which is already mounted on the wall
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!
I’ve found that they stay pretty tight to the plywood I have them glued on. Every once and awhile one of the baseplates works loose and I have to reglue it.
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…
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