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How to make cute LEGO minifig “Darlings”

If you have been around the LEGO community for a while you have likely heard of Heather Braaten (a.k.a. LEGOGirl). Heather was the sunshine of the LEGO fan community and a very active participant of LEGO conventions, until her tragic passing earlier this year. I’m planning to feature some of Heather’s lovely LEGO doll-houses and other creations in future post, and today I would like to share with you her LEGO Darlings. 🙂

Darlings are brick-built LEGO minifigures first conceptualized by Heather. Since then a whole LEGO Darling movement began, kind of like the LEGO Cube Dudes a few years back. (You can read about the LEGO Cube Dudes and download building instructions here: LEGO Cube Dudes.)

In fact, for the upcoming BrickCon2012 LEGO convention held in Seattle, Washington, a group of LEGO fans are organizing a LEGO Darlings community-display as a tribute to Heather. LEGO fans attending the event are encouraged to bring their own Darlings to share and display.

Darlings are fun little LEGO figures that are easy to build and customize any way you want. If you are planning to attend BrickCon this year I would encourage you to bring your own LEGO Darlings. Or you may just want to play around and build some for fun and a good challenge to stretch your building skills. 😀 

Below are the basic building instructions for Darlings as shared by Iain Heath (Ochre Jelly): There’s no one right way to construct a LEGO Darling, and no strict rules either. But this example of a blank Darling gives you some idea of the basic technique. The distinct look of a Darling comes largely from the boat-stud face and cheese-slope shoulders. Typically, the left and right halves of the body are identical, facing in opposite directions, connected by a 1×1 plate with ring, which also serves as the connection point for the head. Sometimes you’ll find it necessary to build the left and right halves as a single unit, facing one way, with just the remaining shoulder facing the other way. You may find it hard to add detail to a Darling and still keep all the bits connected. But resist the temptation to solve this by just making the whole model 2 studs deep, as this will spoil it’s delicate proportions! A certain amount of trickery at the back is ok, so long as it’s not visible to the casual observer.

So go ahead and build some Darlings! And if you need more inspiration and ideas you can check out the LEGO Darlings Group on Flickr. And if you would like to share your own Darlings or have some ideas you would like to discuss, share them in the comment section below! 😉

You might also like to browse the LEGO Building Techniques section:

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Garmadon August 28, 2012, 10:31 AM

    Pretty cool idea 🙂
    But the heads are a little round 😉

  • CD's Lego Blog August 28, 2012, 11:26 AM


  • Karen F August 28, 2012, 11:50 AM


  • Quad August 28, 2012, 12:26 PM

    Amazing how you can get the character of one of them even with a completely blank face. 🙂

    • admin August 28, 2012, 9:09 PM

      Yeah, they look simple enough, but once you start working with them you realize it is not as easy to give them a recognizable personality. Heather was a true master of them. 😉

  • The Yellow Ninja August 28, 2012, 1:11 PM

    SO CUTE!!! I don’t usually say that sort of a thing, but it is so true.

  • Eric at A Lego a Day August 28, 2012, 2:38 PM

    While I had heard of Heather’s passing, I had not heard of her Darlings legacy. These are really well conceived figures. Her talent will truly be missed. 🙁

    • yodaman5556 August 28, 2012, 4:09 PM

      Same here. I heard about her before, but I have never seen these! I probably will give it a go at building one of them!

      • NRG PYTHOR August 28, 2012, 4:49 PM

        Im going to the brickcon! i live close by 😀

        • LegoLotr August 28, 2012, 7:24 PM

          Good for you.

          • lego chronicler August 28, 2012, 7:37 PM


        • admin August 28, 2012, 9:21 PM

          So lucky! :mrgreen:

        • J.C. September 14, 2012, 4:49 PM

          That’s nice, but how is your comment related to Heather’s death or her Darlings? Let’s try to stay on topic.

    • admin August 28, 2012, 9:16 PM

      Yeah, Heather is deeply missed by a lot of people. I haven’t really gotten over her passing myself. I think of her often. She was a great inspiration for all who knew her. 😥

  • legosw August 28, 2012, 7:41 PM

    i think them weird 😆

    • LegoLotr August 28, 2012, 7:47 PM


      • legosw August 28, 2012, 8:04 PM

        i don’t like their heads, but they’re cool otherwise :mrgreen:

        • Garmadon August 28, 2012, 8:12 PM

          Yeah, It would be cool if you could somehow give them an expression 😉

          • legosw August 28, 2012, 8:23 PM

            garmadon, that’s exactly what i’m trying to say!

            • Eric at A Lego a Day September 4, 2012, 11:02 AM

              That’s what makes them special. Even without an actual expression on the face, they still give a sense of their mood. Very whimsical.

  • legosw August 28, 2012, 8:37 PM

    i’ll chat tomorrow because i’m leaving the computer for the day. bye, legolotr & anniekan! :mrgreen:

  • Wow. ive ben offline ( or off TBB) for a while.
    The SW one is cool.

  • legosw August 30, 2012, 1:07 PM

    i don’t think i’ll be building any of these 😆

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