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Tree trials and other LEGO building tutorials

by admin on July 26, 2017

in Building Techniques

(Written by Geneva – gid617)

One huge aspect of the LEGO hobby is building your own creations. And when it comes to building, there are as many styles, techniques, tips, and tricks as there are LEGO builders! 🙂

About six years ago, I built, photographed, and shared online my first MOC (My-Own-Creation), and since then I haven’t looked back! On average, I build upwards of one creation a week.  In six years, that’s more creations than I would care to count!  Over the years I’ve spent as a LEGO builder, I’ve tried out dozens of techniques for building all kinds of different scenes.  Many of these techniques were suggested by other builders, others are combinations of multiple ideas, or tweaks to established methods made necessary by a lack of parts.  And then again, once in a while comes that eureka moment and I manage to invent something on my own!

Like any other skill, learning how to be a great LEGO builder isn’t something that happens overnight. For a few people, it only takes a couple months.  For others (like me!) it takes years.  But what I’ve always found to be one of the most helpful things in improving my creations has been the suggestions, techniques, and tutorials shared by other builders.  So I’m trying to give back by sharing on my blog some of the things I’ve learned!

Trees are a tricky subject to build in bricks, but they’re also useful for all kinds of creations. At the same time, there’s a huge variety of trees – and tree-building techniques – out there!  So I decided to start off with “Tree Trials,” a series of three posts on tree building: 8 Ways to Build a LEGO Palm Tree, 7 Secrets for Deciduous Trees, and Majoring in Micro.

What’s unique about my tutorials, or how-to posts (or whatever you prefer to call them), is that instead of focusing on one technique and breaking it down step-by-step, what I’ve tried to do is cover a wide variety of possibilities to give you some good inspiration. It’s rare that a builder happens to have the exact pieces on hand to try out someone else’s technique.  What I’ve always found more inspiring than the techniques themselves are the possibilities they hint at.  Maybe someone builds a tree using clip pieces to angle the branches.  That can inspire me to try using ball joints, or droid arms, or what have you!  So my goal isn’t just to give you one way to build a tree, but to show lots of examples, and hopefully get your creative juices going!

After the series on trees, I wrote Floors Galore for Your LEGO Home.  Again, the article touches on a wide variety of floor possibilities.  It’s great to have a broad repertoire to choose from.  After all, there are so many different types of floors in real life, and it’s exciting to depict that in a LEGO creation!

For my tutorials, I’ve taken examples only from my own builds (although on occasion I’ve linked to other builders’ creations). So these represent things that I’ve tried out, often many times!

Lastly, I wrote a article on Making Waves: Water with LEGO Bricks.  While that post represents only a small smattering of the dozens of ingenious ways LEGO builders have come up with to create water, hopefully it’s enough to inspire you!

These five tutorials I mentioned above (palm trees, deciduous trees, micro trees, floors, and water) are all I’ve written so far, but I hope to continue sharing more on my blog in the future.  Did you find them helpful? If there’s anything specific you’d like to see covered, don’t hesitate to ask!  Or maybe you’ve got some techniques of your own you would like to discuss. Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!  😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

brickmaster July 26, 2017 at 11:09 AM

Great tutorials! I like that you are focusing on the concepts rather than specific details. The water techniques are my favorites.

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gid617 July 26, 2017 at 1:51 PM

Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed them!

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brickmaster July 26, 2017 at 3:23 PM

I got an idea for a future tutorial. What about something like how to set a scene for alien life. Like how to set the mood to differentiate between different scenes: modern, medieval, human, alien, etc. There are probably some set of steps that could be followed to make it clear what the scene is about.

I don’t know if I’m explaining myself clearly. Like sometimes you look at a moc and even before you can make out the details you can immediately tell that this is a cursed realm, or something alien, or post apocalyptic.

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gid617 July 26, 2017 at 3:59 PM

Whew! Alien realms aren’t my field of expertise. 😉 But I do like the idea for a post of tips on setting the general tone of the build! Might be tough to write, but it’s worth a shot!

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Håkan July 27, 2017 at 3:11 AM

Just look at source material and try to emulate it in Lego, I guess…

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DavidH July 26, 2017 at 11:30 AM

You are obviously very skilled with lots of experience. I’m also impressed that all of those are your models. You must be building all the time!

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gid617 July 26, 2017 at 1:52 PM

Yep, I do build a lot… several hours a week, I’m sure!
Thank you!

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LEGOJeff July 26, 2017 at 11:42 AM

Nice! I’m going to keep these for reference! I would like to see a tutorial on roofs, and also wood paneling would be helpful too. And ship hulls, but that would be a very big project.

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gid617 July 26, 2017 at 1:54 PM

Thank you for the suggestions! I will keep those in mind. In fact, I had been thinking about doing one on roofs already! 🙂 Ship hulls… yes, that would be pretty big. I’m not too much of a ship builder myself, either – just three or four ships in six years or so! – so I probably don’t have the expertise!

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Maya July 26, 2017 at 12:09 PM

These are great, thank you! Personally, I’d love to see some ideas for landscaping – particularly rock formations. I have some use for caves/cave-like structures, and find it difficult to make something that looks realistic enough. Trying to create landscapes that aren’t completely flat or that allow for some semblance of a water way is one of the things frustrating me to no end lately.

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gid617 July 26, 2017 at 2:23 PM

You’re welcome! 😀
Ooh… rock formations – those are tricky to explain some times. I’ve built lots of different rock formations myself, but to really do a tutorial I’d have to have some “behind-the-scenes” pictures so to speak, since most of the tricky building goes on inside, especially for more complicated techniques. So I’ve been procrastinating on doing a proper rockwork tutorial, but I’ll try to get one out there someday!
You have a good point about the difficulty of incorporating a water way in a landscape. That needs some serious advanced planning while your building. I might be able to do a post on that sometime soon!

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FrenchToast July 26, 2017 at 3:17 PM

I think another tutorial that would be helpful is underwater vegetation. Like corals and such. By the way, I really like your tutorials. Lots of great ideas!

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gid617 July 26, 2017 at 4:02 PM

Speaking of great ideas, you all have been coming up with some great ideas for tutorials! Underwater vegetation is so cool!
Thank you!

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Mav.Weirdo July 26, 2017 at 11:32 PM

By some coincidence I have been experimenting with making coral this week. I am doing it with 1×1 cones and part 2556 which is called “palm tree top” or “assembly element 03.2” depending on where you look.

I use 1 cone as the base, attach the “palm tree top” with the single pole down, and the 4 poles up. Then put 4 cones (inverted) on top. I used redish-brown, new dark red, magenta, and gold for colors.

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admin July 27, 2017 at 10:43 AM

That’s a nice, simple design! 🙂

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Legostuff71 July 26, 2017 at 6:35 PM

Have you ever made something that seemed an achievement in your mind ( you’re satisfied on the look) but, not that significant to show others? That’s where I am now . I can make something just enough to satisfy for me but not quite there yet to show others.By the way, I am very impressed on your creations.

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Håkan July 27, 2017 at 3:13 AM

That’s a step in artistic evolution, for all techniques, I guess…

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gid617 July 27, 2017 at 8:38 AM

Hmm… no, I don’t think I’ve really done that. I guess I have too much confidence in my good opinion to worry about showing others what I think looks good. 😛 Of course, sometimes my creations are incomplete, but I’m satisfied with where they are going. But I might not want to show it to others just yet.
Thank you!

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admin July 27, 2017 at 10:41 AM

LOL! That’s typical first-born thinking! First-borns have to have confidence in themselves because they are responsible for so much, especially if they have multiple younger siblings. They have to become an authority figure from a young age to be able to take care of and be an example to younger siblings. Even if they do make a mistake, or unsure about themselves they just have to move on, because so much is dependent on their leadership. Source: I’m also a first-born with eight younger siblings. 😉

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gid617 July 27, 2017 at 11:12 AM

Haha! Yes, I do know that some of that comes from being the oldest. I have a tendency to just go through with something as best I can, without worrying too much about it… like if I’m reading something aloud, and am unsure of the pronunciation, most of the time I’ll just barrel through it. Chances are no one else knows how it’s pronounced, and if they do, I might get it right anyways. Whereas, if you end the word with a sort of question mark in your voice, that instantly lets everyone know that you don’t know what the right pronunciation is… even if you happen to have hit on the right one! 😉

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admin July 27, 2017 at 12:58 PM

Yep, typical oldest way of thinking. Just wing it and hope nobody notices! 😀

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gid617 July 27, 2017 at 3:22 PM

😀 It works, too! hehehe

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admin July 27, 2017 at 5:04 PM

Yep, can confirm. 😀

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Legostuff71 July 27, 2017 at 8:33 AM

That’s very true. Sometimes you just do it for your self and appreciate your own ideas and enjoy what you can create. We are our own critic and that can be good or bad. If we believe we can do better then go for it. But, if you gave it your best shot. Then so be it.

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