It’s been on my bucket list, or should that be brick-it list, to have one of these done of myself at the LEGO Store Leicester Square, but the price has put me off, at just-a-smidge under £100 it’s a little tough on the wallet. But having yourself immortised in LEGO and hung on the wall is just too good to pass up, so I went digging to see if I could find an alternative.
I went straight to Google, as you do, and searched for LEGO Mosaic Maker. Obviously the official LEGO Store website was top, followed by a few other articles reporting on it.
Apart from the above mentioned, official, place to get a LEGO Mosaic, here is another reputable place to shop.
Bright Bricks, the company behind the awe-inspiring life-sized builds you see at toy stores and attractions.
Situated in their online store, you choose the baseplate size, in studs, and then upload your photo. They’ll then send you an image which resembles how your LEGO-self will look. Once confirmed and paid, again £99, they’ll gather the parts and ship out to you ready to build.
Again it’s a paid option, which is totally fine and in no doubt worth every penny, but for a tighter budget it just isn’t feasible. To be totally honest here I’d rather go to the source, LEGO, and get the full experience for the exact same cost. It is great however if you’re not local to a LEGO Store that offers a Mosaic Maker and ordering online is the only way forward.
As free options go there several floating about the Internet, here are the two stand-out ones I found.
First is Brickapic, you start off by uploading your cboosen image and then hitting the ‘Brick It’ button, it’s that simple!
There are a few options which allow you to tweak your image, from selecting the baseplate size to using only official LEGO colours.
Once you’re happy you can get the finished image emailed to you.
There is an added option of including the parts list and instructions but this requires payment. It’s certainly not a massive payout compared to other Mosaic Makers so this could be an affordable solution for most.
The second free option I found is one of my favourites and have used it a handful of times already. It’s tucked away on a website you wouldn’t associate with LEGO but has had tens of thousands of hits already.
The guy is called Mingze Gao, and behind the formal pages of his CV you’ll find one of the most comprehensive Mosaic Makers about! Not only does it give you a well designed and formatted image it also produces a full list of parts needed, and all for free!
The process starts the same, choose an image and upload it. I’ve gone for The Brick Post logo, just to give it a challenge. I’ll also share the screenshot of my Podcast avater to give an idea of how it looks with faces. You’ll also have a choice of how wide you’d like it, ranging from 10 upto a whopping 300 studs wide. Obviously the more studs wide it is the more detailed it’ll be, but also more expensive as the LEGO stud cost goes up drastically!
Once you’ve uploaded your image and proceed to the next step you’ll get the chance to save your rendered image and to download an XLSX file which contains the image also. Again all for free!
This is where Mingze Gao’s Mosaic Maker stands out. The parts needed to construct your image are listed below, with colours and how many of each you’ll need. Granted you’ll have to go about sourcing the bits and building it yourself, but it shouldn’t be that hard to follow and with the amps listed you’ll be building in no time at all!
A new addition to the Mosaic market comes from the hugely popular Stud.io software from Bricklink.
As I don’t have or use this program Aaron from CabbageFaceLego kindly gave up his time to produce a couple of images for me, Thank you Aaron!
I must say the results from Stud.io look amazing and most likely the best out there.
The whole process was painless and straightforward with quite a substantial set of options. From the size of the overall piece to which parts you’d like to use i.e Studs, tiles etc.
Of course the bigger you go and the type of parts you choose will greatly effect the total cost, although bigger baseplates will translate into more detailed pictures.
Aaron is a keen user of Stud.io and has a growing series on YouTube where he demonstrates how to you use and showcase his work, so please do check that if you need an idea of how it all works.
As it is associated with Bricklink there is of course a built-in parts list, once you’ve completed the mosaic, which obviously goes through Bricklink and allows you to source the parts required.
Stud.io is definitely a front-runner for making a Mosaic out of LEGO. There may be a steep learning curve involved at first in regards to the software but once mastered you’ll be onto constructing bigger things in no time.
Do it yourself
Onto the DIY part of the article.
Photoshop, or some sort of image editing software is needed to get you started. Photoshop is widely used by beginners and professionals alike, it’s so versatile. Pure beginners may struggle and be slightly perplexed by its complex-looking setup, but the old phrase of ‘easy to learn, hard to master‘ comes to mind, which I think is a very apt description of it.
As always Google is your friend and with some basic search terms can produce the results you’re looking for. For instance searching for ‘Photoshop LEGO mosaic effect‘ pretty much gets you what you’re after.
One which stood out at me, but seems to be one of the more involved tutorials, is from Envato.
The final result is stunning, yet it maybe more than what you’re looking for. So let’s find something that best suits our needs, which is a basic, pixelated image where the main colours stand out and are square.
WikiHow has a very simple and straightforward tutorial with only 4 steps.
Although it’s very simple it does what we need, it displays the image so we can tell which colours to use and where. It’s now a case of meticulously counting them and making your own parts list.
There are of course pros and cons with each option and I hope this article helps you find alternatives to making mosaics.
I personally use the free option provided by Mingze Gao, as it eliminates most of the hard work for you and the fact a parts list is shown alongside the amount needed is super handy. Definitely one to bookmark!
I also wouldn’t rule out visiting LEGO Store Leicester Square one day to get an official one made. Saving up the pennies wouldn’t take too long and to have something hanging on your wall that is officially LEGO would be so cool!
If you’ve been inspired to create your own please do get in touch as we’d love to see your finished work of art!