I always loved making cities of Lego when I was younger. But the base plates were pretty expensive and I always had to clean up afterwards on strict orders of my mom. There went all my hard work I did all afternoon back into the closet.
But now I am far older, and though I have two girls, there is still Lego Friends, which is the girly form of Lego City. As STEAM-teacher I was asked organised to create a LEGO CITY Building Challenge for Grade 2 and 3. The Educational Benefits of Lego's are enormous, according to this article. I was really happy to assist with this awesome project.
Let's make an awesome platform to give all those Lego Builds a nice place!
Step 1: Materials & Tools
Materials you need:
- Lego baseplates. The colors and the amount is up to you. It depends on how big you want it to make.
- A piece of plywood (how big is based on the desired size.)
- Super-strong glue. (can be any glue, as long as it bonds plastics and wood)
- Black paint
- white paint
- painters tape
Tools you need:
- measuring tape
- circular saw (to get the plywood in the desired size)
- brushes/ rollers (for the paint)
- coping saw
- sand paper
Step 2: Start Planning the Layout/ Cut the Wood
It is really useful to make an layout upfront on a piece of paper. It later helps you exactly to draw out where you want the plates to glue on de plywood.
How you want to design it is totally up to you. We took only one rule: All the roads had to be 16 cm wide, so that all the lego-build cars and buses etc would fit on the road.
After we had done this, we cut the plywood. We cutted it again in two pieces, so that it wouldn't be too heavy to drag around and easy storage.
After this you make the lines on the board, so you know where to paint and glue the plates.
Step 3: Paint!
We started to paint all the roads with black paint. You basically can use any paint you want, as long as it is water-resistant of course. You maybe want to clean the platform sometimes with a wet cloth.
Because in the previous step we drew out all the lines, we know exactly where the roads are going to be. So we don't have to paint the whole board black. As you can see on the photos the plywood already had a grey cover of primer, but that's just coincidence because we had it laying around. You might want to add a primer before you start painting the roads.
We also used blue paint, to make a piece of beach and water. (more of that later!)
Step 4: Cut That Plate! Part 1
I wanted to make sidewalks along the roads. So I cut some grey Lego baseplate into strips. We are going to use these later to make the sidewalks.
Lego baseplate isn't something you can saw: It will break.
The best way is to use a boxcutter and make a incision over the whole plate. Then you can easily bend the plate and it will let go. A really easy and quick way to neatly cut strips.
Step 5: Cut That Plate! Part 2
Earlier in this instructable I told you that we added blue paint to create a beach/water part to our platform. I had some yellow baseplates and I wanted to create a beach from it.
Beaches don't have a specific straight form, so I had to create that. With a boxcutter is difficult to make anything else than straight lines, so I decided to use the coping saw. And it turned out to be really doable. It doesn't become too hot, so the plastic melts, and the little teeth on the coping saw made the cut pretty neat.
Afterwards you have to use sandpaper to smoothen out the edges. But I was really happy with the result. (last photo)
Step 6: Glue Those Plates!
It is time to glue the plates to the plywood! First I glued the bigger parts and then I added the cutted strips along side the green baseplates. It gives a cool sidewalk alongside the roads. As you also can see on the pictures the yellow baseplates for the beach are glued to the plywood as well and it gives a really cool beach effect!
Step 7: Paint the Signs!
Honestly: The next time I would do this step BEFORE glueing the plates. But it's doable.
I just used the painters tape to create the walkways and the street signs. And then I added white paint in three layers. Then you remove the painter's tape and you have the roads completed! (see pictures for more details)
I also used some white paint to the blue part to make some waves as effect.
Step 8: Play! & More Ideas
We're done! Let's play and build!
Fortunately I had some baseplates over and created another smaller version of this City Platform. My daughters (7 and 9 years old) loved it. (See photo)
We brought it to school to create an afternoon of a LEGO CITY Building Challenge. All the kids brought their own LEGO to create a LEGO City in a day! A awesome video of that afternoon at our school you'll see here:
I hope you liked this Instructable. Don't forget to Vote for me in the contests. If you have made your own LEGO City Build platform, please share your builds in the comments! I am really curious what you will make!