Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Show Me Yours!

A while back, I wrote a tutorial on how to build Lego Minifigure display cases. And was shocked at the popularity of the post.

 Lego Minifigure Display Wall: 99% full

I got asked a lot of questions (ie what if I don't live in the States and don't have access to the same stores?) and then got to see the fantastic versions people came up with...

This one is from Brickdancer.

He used the same materials (frame and shelves) but laid his frame out in landscape mode instead of portrait. An added bonus to this method - you can get all 16 of each CMF Series on each row! Love it.

From JayLego.

Unfortunately, JayLego found out the same way I did that not all Michael's Shadowboxes are created equal. Even though they have the same size and manufacturer name on the label, you must always, always measure. After a few false starts, he finished his case.

He also used a slightly different approach to building his side Lego supports:

I used (from the bottom): (6) 3x1 bricks, (1) inverted slope 2x2, (1) inverted slope 1x2, and capped it off with (2) 3x1 black tiles. If I did it again, I would use only (5) 3x1 bricks and (1) 3x1 plate because the top row is slightly smaller than the other rows.

My total cost for the 1x3's was $4.80 from BrickLink. I bought 80 of them so my individual cost was $0.06 for each 1x3 brick. It looks like you might be able to get them for $0.04 or $0.05 from some international stores, so you're looking at $4 or $5 with a few dollars for shipping.

From Woony2.

He used an Ikea Ribba Frame which was a great idea! Not only are Ikea frames inexpensive but the company is international. This is easily doable in the US, Europe - basically wherever there's an Ikea. Here's his tutorial on building the actual shelves:

Cut 2 shelves to the correct length from 25mm x 6mm strip wood. I used pine but you could do it with plywood or mdf to avoid any potential warping issues. Warping shouldn't be an issue in the smaller 25 x 25 frames but could happen in the larger 52 x 52). 

Cut each piece of shelving to fit as the inner frames provided by Ikea are not all the same, so don't assume both shelves will be identical lengths. Pilot drill the holes for the screws. Screw positions are shown in pic2. It is easier to use screws than nails as trying to nail through a stapled together MDF frame will only cause it to fall apart.

Once both shelves are in place and you're happy with them, use matte black paint to spray the shelf assembly and the back board. Let it dry fully (the boring part). Then attach the CMF bases to each of the shelves.

From TyoSolo. 

TyoSolo also used the same Ribba frames although slightly larger.

I used a 50 x 50 Ribba frame from Ikea, with shelves spaced at 8cm intervals (top shelf 8.5cm). The shelves were made from 25mm x 6mm pine stripwood, and sprayed black in satin finish (the stripwood is only £2.88 per 2.4m length). I tried using screws but the pine kept splitting.

In the end, I used my staple gun to drive brad-nails in, and tapped them flush to the inner frame with a hammer. It worked a treat. I followed up by using black felt on the backing board to finish.

Once finished, I was able to house 6 rows of 14 CMF's.

It's a good thing I'm finished or I would seriously be tempted to re-do my cases using some of the ideas above.

I think we all put a few hours into this project but the end results are more than worth it. Good luck with your version!


  1. Awesome results. I can't believe you have almost 500 minifigures on your wall. You are insane!!!

    I'm not a completist as far as the series go or otherwise (and I don't really like all of the minifigure designs) so my collection is pretty modest right now:

    I want to build a case but I only have around 25 minifigs right now and I don't want to have to slide the back off each time I need to add a new figure. I've been looking for other solutions but I like how clean and subtle this is.

    1. You're in luck! Again, someone mentioned this to me after I had already built mine but Aaron Brothers (if you're in the U.S) has keepsake boxes that open in the front!

      So you can easily move thing around, swap out minfigis etc.

      I would wait until they have one of the "penny sales" which allows you buy the 2nd frame for a penny or use their 50% off coupons.

      Huge selection of sizes and finishes. I would double check to make sure the depth works but otherwise, if I could start from scratch, I'd only use these front opening boxes.

      I can put together another post with completely different options for minifig storage.

    2. Awesome, thanks for sharing that! I'm in the Portland area (Vancouver) so it looks like I can head out to Aaron Brothers. Never heard of the place...apparently no online ordering!?

      Would love to see another post on minifig storage options. Super helpful stuff!!! Thank you.

  2. I just love these display cases and look forward to doing something similar eventually.

    Just curious if you've tried to put any of the large mold figures in one of yours, like the big Hulk or Cave Troll pieces?

    1. I did try putting in the bigger pieces like the Trolls, Hulk and even Jabba but with no luck. The frames are around 2 inches deep from front to back - not enough room.

      I'll have to find another way to display the bigger models.

  3. Just wanted to say thanks for these excellent posts. I followed your directions and am thrilled with my display cases.

  4. The Ribba idea is really cool but I have a doubt...
    According to Ikea, all Ribba frames are 4cm depth.
    Collectible minifigs 4x3 stand is 3,2cm x 2,3cm but if you plan to put on the figs all their accessories you will need at least 4,5cm depth space.
    Am I wong?
    Moreover Ribba 4 cm are taken from the outside, so it means the free space between the back and the glass is even smaller.

  5. I love the frames, my problem is that I have kids, and yes, much to my wife's surprise I do let them play with my Lego's on occasion. So my display needed to be able to be dissembled and resembled frequently, but I think it does the trick.

    I was able to purchase a couple of large containers of the transparent Wall Element - 1X2x2 from the pick a brick section of my local Lego store. They are a bit more expensive at .25 cents online. (Element ID: 4113028) When you put them into the back of the legs of the minifigures they can then be mounted to a XL gray baseplate #628. For shorter characters such as Yoda or Frodo I use a small angle plate on the wall element so they can have something to stand on. For minifigs that are wider such as R2D2, or ones that are oversize such as the Hulk, Lotso Bear, Hagrid, etc. You can use a small clear 1x2 brick to bring the wall element out farther. If you want be stylish then hang a picture frame on the wall around the baseplate or decorate the baseplate with studs or name tags for each minifig. I will email some pictures to Cindy.

  6. i love the frame. just went to IKEA and brought it home for my minifigures~!

  7. Thanks for the ideas. This is the one I'm doing though since my kids and husband actually access and play with the mini figs (gasp, I know). ; )

  8. Oh and for those looking at Ribba from IKEA -- the Ribba name is for the whole series of various frames. The one he used was the more shadow box one that is square.

    This one:

    It has a recess and sits back with two mats.