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Foldable backgrounds for LEGO displays

by admin on October 18, 2017

in Useful Resources

I recently had a chance to try out an interesting new product called Bakku Backgrounds. They are basically a combination of a playmat and a backdrop, and can be used with LEGO, or other toys and collectibles. 🙂

Bakku Backgrounds was created by Brian Woodman from Canada, who watched his own children play with LEGO. He thought that it would be useful for them to have a decorative surface they can build and play on, and also have a backdrop when they want to display their creations. To combine the two functions, Brian came up with a unique background that can fold up like an origami to offer different options as a play and display surface.

Bakku Backgrounds are made of a fairly thick, but still foldable paper, printed on both sides with different images to give you more options. The surface is nice and smooth, similar to a paperback book cover. The backgrounds ship flat, and come with instructions on how to fold them. The creases are almost invisible, so if you want to use the backgrounds simply flat, or folded up only at the edge at the back (to add a bit of a backdrop propped up against a wall), you can certainly do that.

However, the real unique feature of Bakku Backgrounds is that it offers a free-standing backdrop by having the back panel slightly curved, and the edges folded under. That’s where the origami folding techniques come into play. The step-by-step instructions to fold the backgrounds are well thought out and include clear pictures, but with little origami-folding experience, I had some trouble following them. I found the video-instructions (see below) much easier.

Once you fold the background, it provides a horizontal play and/or display surface, and a slightly curved free-standing backdrop (each background has two sets of angled creases, so you can adjust the steepness of the curves). Because of the origami folding techniques, no stapling, taping or gluing required. There are also some additional creases at the sides, which help with attaching several backgrounds next to each other for an even wider display-surface (see second video in the playlist above). This might require a little bit of tape to keep the two pieces together.

Bakku Backgrounds come in two different orientation; portrait or landscape (think “tall and thin” or “wide and short”). Both backgrounds are 36×24 inches when flat. When folded, the landscape orientation has an 8″ backdrop and the front comes out 16″, and the portrait orientation has a 13.5″ backdrop with a 22.5″ flat section. And, as I mentioned above, both orientations can be paired with other backgrounds to make the surface wider.

The images on Bakku Backgrounds are computer-generated by Brian using 3-D landscape modeling programs. Some of the designs are simple, while others are a lot more photo-realistic; depicting, forests, beaches, deserts, and other landscapes. You can use either the front or the back of the backgrounds, as they have different images. For example, I got the forest/desert double pack in landscape orientation, and the low polygon patio/forest in portrait orientation.

Bakku Backgrounds wasn’t made only with LEGO fans in mind, so the images are not very LEGO-ish. And, while they are made of high-quality paper, they are still paper, and I don’t think they are durable or play-friendly enough for younger children. However, I could see them working well as a backdrop for certain displays, particularly free-standing ones on a table at a LEGO show/convention. They could also work well for teen and adult LEGO fans as backgrounds for shelf-displays, either by using them flat, or by adding additional creases (or cut to size) to make the front sections narrower to fit standard-size shelves.

Where I see Bakku Backgrounds being the most useful for LEGO fans is in stop-motion animation and LEGO photography. The curved background offers a nice, seamless backdrop for taking pictures, and the surface is large enough for a variety of shots from different angles. The prices are reasonable enough that you might find some of the imagery useful for your own brickfilms and photo-shoots, instead of using standard posters or printed images. If you are interested, you can visit BakkuBackgrounds.com for more information and plenty of example images. All currently available Bakku Backgrounds are sold via Brian’s Amazon store, which you can find here: BAKKU BACKGROUNDS ON AMAZON

What do you think? How do you like Bakku Backgrounds so far? Is this something you would be interested trying yourself? What other products and techniques do you use to create backgrounds for your displays? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! Also, if you have any suggestions, ideas, or requests for Brian, you are welcome to add those as well. He is very eager to hear from the LEGO fan community and see what we think. I already shared my feedback, so now it’s your turn. 😉

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Hayato October 18, 2017 at 2:55 PM

I first thought the front and the back are two separate pieces. But I see in the video it’s just one piece folded up. Is that right? It’s interesting, but because of the odd shape at the front, I don’t think this being a good option for shelves. I see it works for photos ok though.

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admin October 18, 2017 at 8:05 PM

Yes, each background is one piece of paper that you fold up. You can fold so either the front or the back shows, revealing different designs. I agree that the front is not the most suitable for shelf displays.

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Brian 'Bakku Backgrounds' October 30, 2017 at 12:16 PM

Hi Hayato,
Actually they do work really well on shelves; that’s how my kids play with them. The portrait orientation ones come precreased with a crease along the front that makes them fit a 12″ wide shelf with ease. You can see a double portrait set here:
https://flic.kr/p/ZUWGyG
cheers…Brian

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DavidH October 18, 2017 at 3:32 PM

I like the idea of using a background, but the shape of these is just too odd. It’s easier and cleaner to just slip a print behind your display. Something with a city skyline, or landscape.

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Sith015 October 18, 2017 at 3:42 PM

I like the Star Wars photography!!!

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Håkan October 18, 2017 at 5:55 PM

Looks pretty good, although it would work better with more seamless overlaps if you’d like to build a panorama…

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admin October 18, 2017 at 8:07 PM

I agree that the panorama layout could have been thought out better. I think that’s a new idea, and hopefully the designs will be more seamlessly integrated. Kind of like how you can lay wallpaper or printed tiles. 🙂

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Brian 'Bakku Backgrounds' October 30, 2017 at 11:29 AM

It’s a great suggestion and yes, that’s exactly how I am structuring my layouts going forward. Thanks for the input!

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Jelourai October 18, 2017 at 7:04 PM

Looks cool! Would also be great for set-ups with small animals – I’m always on the lookout for something like that for my kids. I’d also like a stack of these kinds of prints on regular paper that my kids can put stickers on to make a scene. I set up a shelf for my kid using aquarium background paper and foam board.

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admin October 18, 2017 at 8:08 PM

Oh, that’s a nice idea with the aquarium background! I haven’t thought of that! 😀

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LegoMom October 19, 2017 at 9:46 AM

We just use things like cool wrapping paper, cut out art from the set boxes, posters, etc. You can also make terrain with (the flat surface) from similar. It’s cheap, looks fine, and you don’t have to worry about the kids ruining it.

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Brian 'Bakku Backgrounds' October 27, 2017 at 6:25 PM

Thank you so much for this comprehensive review! I love seeing the backgrounds here and all of the honest comments!
If anyone has any questions, by all means let me know and I’ll do my best to get back to you right away: info@bakkubackgrounds.com
Sales are going strong on Amazon! Thanks so much for your support.
B

Reply

admin October 28, 2017 at 11:03 AM

Hey, Brian, nice to have you stop by! 😀

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