Keeping Bricks Together

I recently got an email from someone out of the blue who said that her son was having trouble with his [tag]LEGO[/tag] models falling apart, and asking about using glue. This entry is based on my reply to her, since I figured that others might have the same concern…

LEGO brand models don’t usually have that problem, but the other brands like Mega Blox often do. Of course since they are only held together by friction it is possible for them to fall apart. When that happens there are two choices: put them back together, or take them completely apart and build something else.

Some people view LEGO as just a model you can build from the instructions. But it can be so much more than that. Ever since I was your son’s age, I have always taken the attitude that LEGO’s instructions are a good way to get started, and that you can learn good techniques from them, but the true power of LEGO comes when you design your own things.

Now a seven-year-old can’t be expected to build the kinds of sophisticated models that adults make, but there’s a lot he can do if he’s encouraged to invent his own spacecraft, houses, animals, or whatever. So rather than thinking of a broken LEGO model as a source of frustration, try to think of it as an opportunity to create
something new and different!

But if you really want to glue them, there are certain types of glue that work better than others. I’ve never done it (in fact, most LEGO fans that I know would never glue, paint, or cut their bricks), but another adult LEGO sculptor I know has: Eric Harshbarger. According to his FAQ he uses “Oatey, All Purpose” glue. If you try it, be sure to use good ventilation!!!

3 Comments on Keeping Bricks Together

  1. When I was a kid, there seemed to be about four different shapes – all basic shapes: 2-bump, 4-bump, 8-bump and 16-bump. That was it, at least in the kits we had. Later on, they started making the specialized kits and it seemed to change the rules of play so much. I must say that I was really impressed with how you customized this, though:

    esso-garage.html

  2. Thanks! The old “ESSO Service” and “GARAGE” bricks that I have came from someone’s collection that I bought from Ebay. Unfortunately I never had the original sets or instructions. So that model was really just a modern design using the old bricks for signs.

    The plethora of shapes and sizes started in the 1970’s and LEGO hasn’t looked back since. You can still get sets with just the basic bricks, though. My sculptures (Pokemon in particular) are built with just the basic bricks partly to show that you don’t need the newer complicated ones.

  3. By the way, the garage was Holly’s idea. I asked her what I should build next and she said “you’re always building cars and you never build a place to repair them.” It’s rather loosely based on a tire shop in Soquel CA near my chiropractor’s office.

    By the way, in case you are wondering I am planning to migrate all the LEGO entries over here from my Blosxom blog.