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Lego Building "Area"

So I've been getting heavy into legos recently...played with them like everyone else when I was a kid...but just now getting back into them.

I'd like to see what other people use as an area to build their legos? What kind of surface if anything different then just the kitchen table? How do you prevent legos from falling off the table...if they do, do you have something to catch them? Something on the floor to make them easily seen?

that kinda thing. I started building again about two months ago...and I've done #9392, #42006, and #9395. I've started #9396 and am missing a lift time to get serious before I start building #10240 and #10227...not to mention all the others I've got my eyes on.

thanks for any guidance you can give me!



  • LegobutterflyLegobutterfly Member Posts: 488
    I bought the kids a second hand train table like the ones in TRU, with the wooden rail around the table top and a cometely flat top. It stopped lost bricks off the table and now we all use it for building. I guess would be easy enough to add to an existing table if it was being used just for Lego. And for christmas my husband made our youngest a lap tray with rails round the edge and a cushion on the bottom for his comfort and lego stickers decorating it with a perspex top so no rough surfaces on bricks, he loves it and it works well for him. I think it's about finding what works for you and running with it, I know some people use bath towels on the table to put bricks on and a friend of mine puts a bath towel on the floor to catch escapee bricks but like I said it's whatever works for you :D
  • natro220natro220 Member Posts: 545
    I use a combination of two large tables - one is our formal dining room table which we won't use again until we have a house again. The other is my wife's deceased grandmother's kitchen table. Together, they wrap around my Lego room quite well. We don't have kids, and our puppy isn't allowed in the Lego room, so I'm not too worried about pieces falling to the floor.
  • PicopiratePicopirate Member Posts: 325
    My 4-year-old also uses his old (imaginarium) train table. It too has lip around the perimeter to keep the parts from getting pushed off. It has a drawer on either side that we had used for storage but they were somewhat small so I ended up getting two large flat storage tubs that slide underneath the table. We also made a loop of lego train tracks using most of the track from the red cargo train (about 10 of the flex pieces did not fit).

    My son primarily uses that to play with assembled sets and when building his MOCs. When we build sets for the first time, we generally just Glad reusable storage containers for each bag in the set, then sprawl them out on the most convenient table. We do this for his or mine as we always help each other out with the sets (I mainly watch and turn pages for his sets and he usually handles the minifigs and microbuilds of my sets).
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    My husband keeps plastic takeout containers to sort his bricks before building so they rarely escape. I tend to put the bags, if not numbered, sitting up in a large tupperware container or if numbered, empty each number in turn into a large shallow container. We haven't managed to train our daughter in these habits as shown by the fact that I recently discovered that she'd opened the first bags of two different sets to get the minifigures and left the bricks from both in one pile on the rug in her bedroom.

    We tend to build all over the house, at the kitchen table, on the floor, on the couch, at coffee tables, in the car in my daughter's case, or very occasionally at the desk in the LEGO room. I think the key is to look for pieces as soon as you drop them but neither house has carpet which probably helps us find things.

    We also have a table with a lip, it's a display table from a department store so is quite tall with a three inch high border. I'm not sure you'd be able to build on it, it would be pretty awkward, but it's done a fantastic job of keeping our daughter's LEGO somewhat contained. Maybe you can find something like it with a slightly lower border.

    If you search the forum for threads about LEGO rooms you can see some pictures of amazing set ups, a lot of ideas for storage especially. Though you don't have storage issues now that won't last if you hang around with us :). Good luck working out something that's good for you.
  • MilcheaxMilcheax Member Posts: 52
    Since I only recently re-started, my "building table" is currently the lid from a case of paper, sitting on my family room coffee table, with the paper box full of legos between my legs.

    I haven't graduated to "extra bedsheet on the floor" just yet.
  • dejavudejavu Member Posts: 235
    My husband's desk has the perfect workspace conditions - large flat space, not too slick. Handy to TV and laptop. Short-pile beige carpet on floor so 'jumpers' can't get too far. Comfortable chair, good light.

    Problem is - it's my HUSBAND'S desk. And darn it, he wants to use it sometimes. Bummer.
  • OldLegoOldLego Member Posts: 28
    Cool! thanks for the responses...I was kind wondering if there was one of those, "OH YEAH!" kinda things out there I wasn't thinking about.

    I like to build on the kitchen table, although the wife likes to use her laptop at the end, and it gets kinda messy...and I worry about stuff just being spilled on what I'm doing...or something getting swept up into her paperwork, etc.

    I've been thinking about putting a white sheet underneath, but obviously a pita if its the kitchen table.

    I have 8 tupperware containers that I use to separate the bricks, I've been playing with how I sort them.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    for me, I really don't have a specific building area but I REALLY wish I did.

    Main building(mostly just messing around type stuff), is between a 10 drawer and 3 drawer rolling cart in the living room with the building occurring on the small 3 drawer cart, a folding tray, or just in my hands. Not to much building is going on since i'm currently moving some of the items back to my room since it's getting a bit crowded in the cart.

    Then the other part of the collection is in my room(not really a good building area due to the cats) between a few different sorting methods. I call this method organized chaos. I have 2 of those stack on containers(a 39 drawer and a 18 drawer) plus a 3rd one that I haven't hung yet but I have about 7 or 8 drawers in use plus a few other types of containers. PLUS I pulled out my 3 drawer rolling sterelite to hold parts PLUS a container with 2 small POTC sets in it that i'm going to take apart for parts.

    As far as containers that come in handy, I find my favorites to be the 1.2 sterelite containers plus next size up latch boxes, the stack-on containers(very popular), containers from the dollar tree, and even the thin cardboard boxes used to hold sandwich crackers.

    Last one sounds odd but it does work for me in my cart. One is holding "odd and ends", one that's holding mostly 2x3 bricks, another is mostly lego 2012 city advent I got on sale, and one is holding some parts that if i decide to build a small treehouse on my rolling cart i'll have them at hand.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    Because our collection is in a building with no heat or air conditioning most of our building is done at a card table with a piece of fiber board on the top. The table folds away flat and sits in the middle of our living room when in use. The Lego shop does have a small area where building can also be done, but we usually end up having small tubs of parts scattered across the railroad tracks!
  • BuilderMomBuilderMom Member Posts: 21
    We dump the current bag we're building onto a large cookie sheet with a lip and sort onto the cookie sheet. We've also used cafeteria style trays, but we prefer the cookie sheet, as the lip isn't sloped and keeps things contained better. We just take the cookie sheet to wherever we're building. If we need to set the build aside for a while, we just put the instructions on top of our sorted pieces and then the partial build on top of that. We haven't had any problems with lost pieces this way. And, I'm building with a 5 year old. Simple, but effective.
  • OldLegoOldLego Member Posts: 28
    Thanks for everyone's input...I like the cookie sheet idea...may try that out. Also helps if you don't open all parts up at once. Haven't quite figured out how to do that with the sets where the bags aren't numbered, but works well if you can.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    When we build a set that does not have numbered bags we have a good supply of various size plastic containers bought at the dollar store. We put one bag per container unless there are more than one bag of same type parts then those go in the same container. We use heavy duty chinette brand paper plates to spread them out when looking for small parts. It works well.
  • dejavudejavu Member Posts: 235
    edited May 2013
    I sort by color on a large workspace. Photo below is preparing to build Winter Village Toy shop, #10199.
  • dejavudejavu Member Posts: 235
    Oops, HERE is the winter village toy shop, #10199.
  • OldLegoOldLego Member Posts: 28
    I do sort by color usually on those without bags...but do feel like they were bagged that way for a reason...but when I've divided them that way...seems sort of out of control, so the color thing works better.

    I think I just need to get the cookie sheet going for the work area...and get larger plastic containers rather than the sandwich size ones I have.

    Thanks so much for all the feedback...I still visualize....a big screen in front of me where I could project or show the instructions for building...rubberized work surface...plenty of light...plenty of plastic drawer things with spare parts..etc...etc...etc...

    I just don't have a place to really set aside an area to be just that...still have to share the house I guess with the If I only had a five bedroom....
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    We do have good lighting which is a real bonus when working with dark colors.
  • masterX244masterX244 Member Posts: 532
    when i build i usually sort them by bag and i use various boxes like shoeboxes or shoeboxes lids or teaboxes to store the parts while building.
    and in most cases i can buikd sets on my desk but 10212 trolled me on that case cause laying out all bags spammed my desk already so i had to resort to the floor....
  • SarahIsabellaSarahIsabella Member Posts: 69
    For sorting and storing small pieces while building I use plastic compartmented storage boxes that are intended for embroidery floss. They are very inexpensive at Hobby Lobby and there is always a 40% off coupon available.
  • jasorjasor Member Posts: 839
    for sorting, organizing, or building small/medium sets... i have one of those "breakfast in bed" tables with fold out legs. I've sanded it down, painted Lego bright blue, and coated the table top with rubberized surface. It has edges around the sides to stop roll parts, but the table top actually has tooth enough most times to keep them in place anyway.

    For any big builds, still using the tried and true kitchen table -- full on danger zone edges!
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Member Posts: 380
    When I was a kid my dad, who is a carpenter by trade, made me a special desk for LEGO. It had a load of small compartments and 2 big bits at either end for storing boards and bigger parts such as a train motor I had.

    There was 2 sliding boards on the top that ran along the groove and worked like table extenders and these are where we (my brothers and I) would build. I never had loads of LEGO but this did the job.

    These days I have a desk in my attic with poor lighting unfortunately. This desk is nothing fancy but I use small plastic trays to hold parts while I work and an old large gaming mouse mat as a non-slip surface to work on (it's about 450mmx300mm or thereabouts.

    There's no mains up in the attic as yet but one day there will be so I run an extension cord up and use a lamp on the desk as well as a few battery operated led lights when I need extra lighting.

    For storing the LEGO I have a load of 32L stacking storage tubs and then a whole load of smaller ones for storing various parts ranging from 200ml to 24L for the parts depending on quantity which can stack inside the bigger tubs for easy moving. The larger of the tubs, from 6.5L to the 24L have lids so they themselves stack too.

    The small ones lay out nicely around the mouse mat building area and I have maybe 40 of them so only some at a time, whatever I need most.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    For those of you struggling with poor lighting look for a "daylight" type lamp. The light is so much better than from the standard lightbulb.
  • paul_mertonpaul_merton Member Posts: 2,967
    If it's not a massive set, I like to build it inside the lid of a 10L Really Useful Box.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Member Posts: 380
    ^^ A window would do me - I have none in our attic or mains sockets either... :(
  • klatu003klatu003 Member Posts: 729
    For Lego sets, I build on a big wooden cutting board on my lap with the parts in plastic containers from the dollar store on the table beside me. They stack and the lids keep everything under control in between building sessions. The two compartment ones are especially useful. I select the pieces needed for each step and put them in a container on the cutting board with the model to keep them from escaping. This method even worked for #10214 Tower Bridge! The point of the system, is to be in the living room with my husband and be companionable with him and the inevitable TV.
    @BuilderMom - cookie sheet might be a better option, not as heavy!
    @SarahIsabella - I scored some of those at JoAnn for $1 each.
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    I am waiting to get a old/used dining table for the building area but I am bummed out about a storage solution since we do not have any thing like @SarahIsabella shared...I did order similar solution but getting more of these is expensive...maybe I should ask my brethen from the US to help me out getting a dozen or so of these :)
  • CalvCalv Member Posts: 904

    Those craft storage boxes that @sarahisabella mentioned are available from the 99p store. I use them for minifig storage. One set of CMF's fits nicely per box. If you can't find a store near you the store in Nuneaton has them and I can help you out.
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Member Posts: 1,659
    For large builds without numbered bags or Bricklink project, I use the dinning room table, it is mine for 360 days a year, but it must be cleared for Thanksgiving and Xmas :)
  • OldLegoOldLego Member Posts: 28
    Yeah dining room table is working...I think I just need more of those little tupperware containers to separation.

    Started WASHING a set of legos this week that showed up...and sorta smell like cigarettes. Figured I would wash a set at some point, so why not this one? #8274.
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 651
    All good suggestions, but I think the most important is what @Jenni said about looking for the pieces as soon as they drop, and don't go back to building until you've found it.
  • dejavudejavu Member Posts: 235
    as long as you KNOW they dropped. it's the silent jumpers that get ya.
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    I had the silent jumpers once. ;-(
    No fun. LOL
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    @dejavu Yet another reason to never, ever have a house with carpet :).
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Member Posts: 1,659
    Silent but deadly...
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    PM sent @Calv :)
  • kwkwkwkw Member Posts: 1,209
    I'm surprised to see that a lot of you guys are sorters. I build the old school way (aka similar to how I did it when I was a kid) and just dump everything onto the table and look for specific pieces when I need them. I've found that this method has trained my eyes and brain to become sharper. I've become so good at quickly recognizing pieces all jumbled in huge lot that it actually saves me on the sorting time (which gives me more time to build all the sets I have sitting in the closet). To each their own :)

    Anyways, I have my own building area/large table (technically its the dining room and dining room table that we never use) lol and I build and store my sets there. My obsession has spilled into my own bedroom and the guest room (which are all full now of opened and sealed sets). I've hit the problem of needing more room so I've decided to sell off a ton of what I have since the collection will be forever expanding.
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 651
    @kwkw said: I'm surprised to see that a lot of you guys are sorters.

    My son and I don't sort either. We just dump each individual bag into a bowl or plastic container and search through as we work. I think it extends the actual build time by not sorting, as you take time between each added piece this way, one of us finds the needed piece, the other builds. Also, my son would never be able to endure the time spent to sort before he was able to actually piece something together. The only thing we sort out are what we call 'the goodies.' The minifigs, accessories, transparent colored bits, etc. He gave them this name when he was very young and we still refer to them as such.

    P.S. I also like your idea that this method may be helping the eyes and brain to become sharper. Now I have one more excuse reason to buy big Lego sets.
  • BastaBasta Member Posts: 1,259
    edited June 2013
    We don't sort, bags just emptied into individual bowls, same as mentioned by @LegoMom1

    Large sets are built on dining room table.
  • BRCBRC Member Posts: 125
    edited June 2013
    dejavu said:

    Oops, HERE is the winter village toy shop, #10199.

    I just put this on lay-buy to pay off. We have the bakery and post office, very cool sets.
    Anyway, I use the dining table, and if we have to eat dinner we just squeeze in down one end, lol!

  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    @kwkw I know what you mean there :) but I recently acquired a lot of bricks locally but when I actually started to go through the mixed lot it took me sometime to manage one complete set #7744 minus the mini figures and was able to make 2 more sets. But point being, having a storage solution really helps me out.

    Now I am on the lookout for a dining table which will be used for Lego only :) just hope to find one soon as summer vacations are slipping away slowly.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Member Posts: 380
    @kwkw when I build a new set I don't sort either. It's just when you have loads of sets and need specific parts and they are in tubs bagged up it becomes tricky to locate the parts, especially with a miniscule collection of 50,000ish bricks - you're hardly gonna dump that on a table or at least not mine. That's the main reason for sorting my sets, largely because I want to take advantage of the likes of rebrickable and also do my own thing.
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