I have a growing collection of Lego minifigures. And I was wondering “What is the best way to display them?”.
Most LEGO sets now come with minifigures. And most LEGO collectors focus on minifigures than the sets themselves. This is because if you have enough bricks you can recreate any set ever created. And because it’s too easy to run out of space to display your completed LEGO sets. But minifigures small stature makes them easy to store many of them. Yet, if you are a collector, you want to put them on display for you and houseguests to see. Which is I did some research on how to display them. There are three ways to display them. One way is in a custom frame. The other is in a display case with a clear cover. And finally, you can mount them on existing furniture or shelves using LEGO tape.
Keep Collectibles In A Closed Display
If you are a LEGO minifigure collector, then it is important to keep your figures in pristine condition. This means away from the kids. And any pets. I’m still amazed that I haven’t lost any figures to our dog. I lost a couple of bricks, but this is why we now have a gate between the front and the back of the house. And I know never to build on the other side of the gate.
But there are other reasons to keep the figures behind “glass”. It’s rarely actual glass - more likely plastic or acrylic. And that is it will protect your figures from getting dusty. Nobody likes to dust. And if you have 100 figures, you don’t want to spend a day dusting them. Though if they do get dirty we have a guide on how to clean them. It also protects them if someone were to accidentally spill food or drink over them. And of course, offers protection if a water pipe burst.
Though, as I will mention later in this article, I like to have my figures out and about. And leverage “LEGO tape” to let them hang around my office in interesting locations.
Display In A Shadow-Box Picture Frame
A classic and elegant way to display your figures is within a shadow-box picture frame.
Picture frames are great because you can hang them on a wall which solves two problems. It takes up less shelf space and makes it easy for people to see. It also turns your figures into a form of art. And blank walls can be boring to look at.
When we bought our house, the walls were painted white. My wife wanted to paint them. We argued over it. We didn’t have any money to pay for a professional painter. And I knew I wouldn’t be good at it so the walls are left white.
But most of our walls do have paintings and photos that mean something to us.
Which is why I think a minifigure picture frame would make for a great option for storing your LEGO minifigures.
While I do have some basic drawing skills and I make for an excellent abstract painter, I’m not good at crafting.
My wife is but I haven’t talked her into doing a version of this type of display yet.
Though this article provides excellent instructions.
But if you are good at figuring out crafts here’s the basic instructions.
- Get a large frame with thick edges. Because you will use 2x4 plastic bricks to hold the figures. So it needs depth between the glass and the back. The frame might even say “shadow box”.
- Get a quality mat board.
- Use a ruler to make sure you can glue the LEGO blocks in a straight line.
- Line up your bricks with enough space above for the figures to be placed.
- Put space between the bricks as well because you don’t want to crowd the figures otherwise, it will not look appealing.
- Glue the bricks using a crafting glue like e6000.
- Arrange your figures on the bricks.
- Put the mat in the frame.
- Hang the frame in the desired location.
PS The shadow box photo is a test I made after I first wrote the article. I bought a shadow box frame at Hobby Lobby and put the figures in there to see how they would look. But I didn’t actually glue them because I might use the box for other purposes.
Display In Acrylic Cases
If you are not crafty or hate the idea of gluing LEGO then there is another option. You can purchase a display case.
Here is a photo of a display case I bought to research this article.
As you can see it’s very simple. And affordable. This small one I got for $2 at Hobby Lobby.
And even it’s bigger brother - was only $3.
I would use the smallest one to hold a prized figure that I wanted on display. The prized figure does not have to be an expensive one.
It might be a figure you enjoy. Perhaps it’s the first figure you got as a kid. Or it’s a figure that you like the way it looks. I’m particularly fond of the red-mohawk dwarf figure.
Or you might take this to the office.
And put it on your desk.
And rotate figures every month.
A simple way to liven up the office environment without the hassle of a plant. And it can be used as a way to break the ice with a new colleague.
They may ask you about the little guy. Or if it’s a recognizable movie character - you can ask if they like the movie the character is from.
Be Creative With LEGO Tape
Shadow boxes and acrylic case are the most common types of displays.
We have two shadow boxes in our house.
The centerpiece is a gift from my paternal grandfather.
Grandpa Wilcox was in the US Army in World War 2. He fought in the Pacific. And earned a Bronze Star for heroism in the Philippines.
He kept his medals and a Japanese flag. On his final trip to visit us before Alzheimer’s took him from us, he gave me the flag and medals.
And after we bought our house, my wife visited our local framing store to have them make a display for us.
The other shadow box we have is from our honeymoon.
We went to Las Vegas.
This one is much smaller but is full of mementos from that trip including a Polaroid of me with the star of the show we went to see.
My first acrylic case holds my only signed baseball I have.
From the age of 6 until about 30, baseball was my favorite sport. And my favorite player is Johnny Bench.
My mom’s oldest brother managed to get me a signed baseball when I was 11. And my dad put it in a case to protect it from being damaged.
Get Creative With "LEGO Tape"
However, my favorite way to display minifigures is with “LEGO tape.” I put this in quotes because there’s no such thing as “LEGO tape.”
Before you think I’ve gone crazy - I have not. Instead, people call it (and search for) “LEGO tape.” But there’s no official product from the LEGO corporation.
Instead, several companies have created a product that has LEGO compatible studs on one side and tape on the other. It’s flexible and is designed to be cut.
I first used it to make it easy for my driver figure to walk in this simple animation I made:
And if you want to put figures on a blank tile for permanent display, I would use a piece of this tape to keep them stable. Otherwise, you have to use some putty.
But what I really like about LEGO tape is that you can put it anywhere. I put some on my office shelves so that the figures are hanging upside down.
This is a great way to keep the figures where you can quickly access them for building or playing but out of the way when you’re not using them.
Incorporate Your Displays With Your Decor
There is so much creativity within LEGO that I think you can incorporate your sets and figures into any type of decor.
Here are 3 ideas:
Favorite Movies or TV Shows - LEGO has so many licenses that almost any movie or TV show you can think of has a set out there. In particular anything with Disney, Marvel or Star Wars. However, with some creativity, you can link generic sets with your show. For example, my wife and I are fans of the TV show “Below Deck”. It’s a reality TV show about life on charter Yachts. I bought the 3 in 1 Creator set that had the Yacht as one of the builds. And I’m working on getting figures for it so that I can make dioramas inspired by scenes for it.
Vacation Reminders - You can create your own build or display figures that remind you of a time at a favorite vacation. I think this is much better than having a photo on your phone you never look at. Or a t-shirt that will fade in the wash. It’s also going to be something much more likely to get your houseguests interested in asking about when they visit.
Sculpture - If you don’t want to have a traditional set or figure on display, then you can have sculptures made from LEGO. There’s an artist -Sean Kenney who creates phenomenal works of art from just LEGO. And they go on display around the world. My frien CM even saw a gallery and sent me this photo:
Don't Let Your Minifigures Die
If you don’t put your minifigures on display it’s too easy to have them lost, damaged or destroyed.
Even without little kids to play with them, I know I have managed to misplace figures in my office.
And it’s frustrating to have to go searching for things when I want to do a setup for a photo.
Plus if you are collecting the figures, then you want people to see them.
Otherwise, there’s no point in collecting them.
Even if you plan on flipping them for profit, you want to protect your investment.
And if you can put photos online that shows how the figures would look in your potential customer’s home, then it will help you close your sale.