About a year ago, my wife (pictured above) came to me and said "I want you to make me a LEGObra." - And I laughed. All I could picture was a conical thing that Madonna would have worn in 1987 - basically a pair of brightly colored plastic Step Pyramids.
And that was that.
- That is until a couple months later the missus then asked, "So, where is my LEGO bra ?", and it was then I realized she was serious. So, I took the time to come up with a way to make wearable LEGO products that don't look like Minecraft Madonna. The answer came in the form of 'flats' instead of 'bricks'. With enough flat LEGOs, patience, jump rings, and/or glue it is possible to form flat mosaics that behave almost like fabric. The above photos are the result. I have broken this project up into separate sections for each piece in the set, to make it easy to pick and choose what elements you might want to make - they are also ordered easiest to hardest, which also ordered them cheapest to most expensive.
*And LEGOs ARE expensive. If it weren't for a good EBay find on assorted LEGO 'Flats' , this project would have never happened. Also note that even though many of the LEGOs used are from kits, including a few expensive ones- NONE of the kits came complete, or even remotely build-able. All I got from the auction were flats ( better than ten pounds of them ). So, be advised that no awesome LEGO kits were harmed in the making of these crafts.
So, ready to build ? Lets GO !
Stuff You'll need -
LEGO 'Flats' (as many as you can get your hands on)
9mm Jump Rings (you'll need a couple hundred at least)
9mm Spring clasp
fabric measuring tape
1mm elastic thread
16 gauge wire
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
wire cutters / snips
rotary tool with a small drill bit
a spray can of some sort
Safety Goggles and Work Gloves
SAFETY FIRST ! Hot glue can burn. You'll also be applying the glue to plastic and synthetic fabric (bra) which will melt somewhat and can also burn you. Also note that you will be working with a rotary tool and drill bit. The only thing you want to put holes in are LEGOs, not yourself. Keep safety in mind while drilling. Wear appropriate protection, (Gloves, Safety goggles) and work in a place clear of others.
Step 1: Sort Your LEGOs !
Before you begin, take the time to be certain that you have enough LEGOs to complete the project, and a few spares in case some get ruined along the way. You'll be surprised how quickly you'll move through your flats, especially if you complete the top. The top I made used up about 250 of them. Your mileage may vary.
Step 2: Project One : Earrings & Bows.
So easy to do, and cute ! All it will take are a few LEGOs, some hot glue, a pair of hair bows, and your earring posts.
As easy as it looks - Add a 4x4 LEGO to the center of each of the hair bows with a drop of hot glue.
EAR RINGS :
Speaking of -
DON'T use anything but genuine posts - DON'T get creative and use paperclips or something as a substitute. You could end up with a nasty infection, and genuine posts are quite affordable. Just hit your local craft shop or Walmart.
You may notice that the posts you have come with an attached ring. Just snap that off using your pliers or with a pair of snips. Flip a flat LEGO square upside down on your work surface, and drop some hot glue in the center circle on the piece. Affix your post to it, and let the glue dry.
What did that take you, five minutes ? And because they are LEGOs, you can do more with them if you wish. Continue on !
Step 3: Project One : Earring Bonus.
With a few jump rings, your rotary tool, and about five minutes of time - you can turn your sporty studs into LEGO eveningwear - flip the pieces you wish to connect together upside down, and use the rotary tool to drill out an opening for the 9mm jump ring. - You'll notice there is a pip where the peg protrudes out the front, which is a handy drilling guide. Connect your rings together, and join them to another square piece. I chose to use a brick (not a flat) and drilled two holes in one side to thread a jump ring through. once the pieces are connected together, snap it on to the earring you made earlier. Glamour ! WOO !!!
* A note on jump rings -
When you open a jump ring, do NOT pull the ends away from each other. Doing so will ruin it. Twist the ring left and right instead.
Step 4: Project Two : Bracelets
The bracelets I chose to make are modeled after a fairly popular design, and are really easy to make. Take your wire, and cut a piece that is about 1 and 1/4 the circumference of the average spray can. (paint, hairspray, air freshener.. whatever you have). Then, you can use the can to smooth the wire out against. The curve of the can will help curve the wire into a loop. While holding the wire in one hand, use your pliers to bend about a half inch of one of the ends at a 90 degree angle over where the wire overlaps, then bend about an quarter of an inch of the wire down around the overlap. Try to keep it so that the wire overlapped slides freely. Flip the bracelet over in your hand and do the same thing to the other end. It will create a ring that an be expanded slightly, but not so much that it will come apart. Make as many rings as you like. - I made four.
* Make sure the bracelets are comfortable, and check for burrs on the ends. If the wire end is scratchy or stabby, snip it off so its flush with the 'ring' of the bracelet.
Pick out some interesting looking LEGO pieces to make into bangles. Use the rotary tool to drill a single hole to thread a jump ring through, and hang a few on each of your bracelet rings.
Easy, yes ?
Step 5: Project Three : Necklace
The necklace -
Firstly, get your jump rings ready - you will need a couple hundred of them.
Then, use the fabric tape to measure the diameter of the neck that will be wearing it. If you are making the necklace using 9mm jump rings, then you will need approximately 45 rings for every 10 inches of chain. Start by opening a single ring, and slide two rings on it. Then close it. Repeat this as often as necessary to make the length of chain you need - every fifteen 'triads' are ten inches.
Once you have made enough, open one jump ring on the end of a triad, connect another triad to it, and close the ring. Grab the end of the chain and repeat until all of your triads are linked to form your chain.
- remember, if you are going to follow my design, you'll need three chains.
I chose a red hollow square shape for the 'jewel' ,and then used the rotary tool to drill a hole in each corner the same way all of the LEGO flats are drilled - from the back, using the appropriate pip to start the hole. I added a jump ring to each corner, and I connected the LEGO to the center of the top and bottom chains. I then removed a few links from the center chain to connect to the left and right sides of the LEGO. All three of the chains on the left are then joined to a single jump ring, and that ring to the 9mm clasp. The right side is handled the same way, except connected to the tab the clasp connects to.
Try the necklace on - You may need to alter your chain lengths slightly. I needed to as well. I used the leftover rings from the middle to tweak the fit.
Again - easy, right ? But it is a bit tedious with all of the jump rings.
Step 6: Project Four : LEGOBra, Pt 1
Firstly a word of advice.
This project requires a lot of hot glue, a lot of patience, and MANY LEGOs. When you select a bra to use, Choose something with some sort of form to it - it will make your job much easier.
Select smaller LEGOs for the project - such as 4x4 or 4x6. Start from the outer edge of one cup and work toward the center. Glue them as if you are making a mosaic of each of the cups. Don't worry about any small gaps - they can be addressed with even smaller LEGOs afterward. Put one drop of glue in the middle of each LEGO, and pinch it into place with your thumb and forefinger. BE CAREFUL ! If you hold the piece in place too long, you risk getting burned. Remember, the glue will slightly melt the fabric - the good news is the two will be fairly tightly bonded, and the bra can be hand washed. The bad news is oozing melted stuff and glue will hurt you, so make sure you watch what you are doing. Once you are finished, fill gaps with 1x3, 1x2 or 1x1 pieces.
Move on to the second cup, and repeat the process.
Once that is completed, and the glue has cooled, take some time to pluck the glue strings that are all over the bra. I just pulled them off using the pliers, giving the bra a far more 'finished' look.
Step 7: Project Four : LEGOBra, Pt 2
As always, start by finding LEGO flats that will work for the project, and make sure you are happy with the choice first.
In my case, I chose to address the strap in two parts, the first being the inflexible section between the shoulder blades. I found pieces that almost completely covered the fabric, and attached them using jump rings. I put each of the rings through the fabric around the edge seam, holding them securely in place. Since there is no real stretching or other motion there, I am confident that the rings will not get ripped out.
The stretchy part of the strap is a different story, and it required a different approach.
After drilling pilot holes using the same technique for jump rings, I sewed the pieces in place using 1mm clear elastic thread. I lined the pieces up, started the thread on the bottom left by wrapping the end through the pilot hole twice and knotting it, I then moved to the next piece to the right on the bottom and threaded the elastic through the bra and the hole in the LEGO twice also- continuing until I got to the right bottom end. I then knotted the elastic, and dropped hot glue on the first and last knot, to make certain they never come loose. I then snipped off the dangling ends.
I then flipped the bra upside down and did the same thing with the top edge of the LEGO pieces, sewing them all to the bra with a double loop through the pilot hole on the LEGO, and hot glue sealed the knots.
The bra allows freedom of movement without binding or the LEGO flats tearing themselves free, thanks to the elastic thread.
If you feel adventurous, you could do the same to the shoulder straps. I decided it wasn't necessary. Feel free to improvise -- And That's It !
Step 8: Final Thoughts, Gallery of Fail, and Suggestions -
This project was fun - far more fun than I imagined it would be. - And when the LEGO pieces are paired with a white button down shirt and a plaid skirt, It creates quite the cute, nerdy, and naughty outfit.
Also included is the Gallery of Fail - All the issues I had revolved around the making of the LEGOBra and not any of the other items. These photos should serve to help guide the adventurous away from some of the mistakes I made along the way - especially since LEGOs do not come cheaply. Grumpy Cat agrees.
Suggestions and hints :
1 - Pay attention to The Gallery of Fail.
2 - Drilling LEGOs makes a mess of things, and clogs your drill bit with melted plastic. You will need to periodically clean the bit, else it will bind.
3 - Dry fit pieces first. It is far less wasteful in the end.
4 - When sewing pieces on to the bra, make sure you sew around the fabric edge. Simply piercing the fabric without doing so will probably result in rips.
5 - If making ear rings or other piercings, make sure to properly sanitize the piece before use. You are handling the rings with tools that may be contaminated with machine oil containing suspended particulates such as metal filings. Yuck.
* Special thanks goes to my wife Helen, who pushed me to making this project, -and agreed to be photographed while Workin' it LEGO Style.
Anyway, have fun and make some stuff ! If you post pictures of your results, just remember that people of all ages read Instructables. ;)