Buying Bulk LEGO

Yard sales and thrift stores can be very hit-and-miss. When you find them you can get great bargains, but most of the time it’s not fruitful unless you have other reasons to shop there.

When I built my Pokemon sculptures, I was able to do that using a bulk brick tub that lego was selling at the time (set #3033). I bought about 20 of those at $20 each and still ran out of certain parts – that’s why Squirtle‘s tail was so small. Sadly, that tub was discontinued a few years ago and the bulk tubs that are available more recently haven’t had nearly as good of an assortment or as good of a price per brick.

Probably the easiest way to get cheap parts is to shop on BrickLink. It’s an online shopping mall just for LEGO. Sellers buy sets in bulk (generally when they have clearance sales at retail stores) and sort the parts, putting the individual pieces on their stores. Then you can go in and order any part in quantity. It’s an awkward site to use, but I think the best way is to start at the Catalog tab, find the part you want in the color you want, and then find a store that has them in sufficient quantity. (Disclaimer: I have my own BrickLink store.)

There’s also bulk brick available from LEGO; usually they’re a lot more expensive that way but once in a while you can find some real bargains. Look for the “Pick-A-Brick” in the LEGO Shop-At-Home Store and if you have a LEGO store in your nearby mall, they have an in-person pick-a-brick wall where you can fill up a plastic cup with LEGO parts for a set price.

And of course don’t forget about buying sets on sale. Look at your local Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, or Wal-Mart for clearance sales, and check Web sites online such as Amazon.com and others. Check for sales at LEGO Shop-At-Home (and try their phone number too, as they have weekly phone-only sales as well).

If you know any other good ways to find bulk LEGO at economical prices, please post it here as a comment….

100 thoughts on “Buying Bulk LEGO

  1. Lynn

    I bought the Emerald Night train for my son’s Christmas present. On the lego site they have listed the power functions that are needed along with the flex track (8867). I read the reviews on the track and they are very negative. Can anyone recommend a track to me that is better and will work with this train? If Lego doesn’t sell it, I can look else where. Also, can you recommend how much track I should buy and how many straights, curves, etc? This is very new to me. My son is 13 but when it comes to Lego’s he’s very talented and loves to be challenged I think a good track will be good for him. The reviews on the flex track sounds like he will get frustrated. Any advice or recommendations is appreciated. Thanks

  2. Bill Post author

    The flex track can be a little unreliable but the regular straight and curved tracks are just fine. It takes 16 curves to make a circle; add however many straights if you want to make an oval or something. See my Track Layout Geometry page for a primer on LEGO track. You might want to get some flex track just to add flexibility; my page was written before they came out with that option.

  3. Lynn

    Thank you! I’m wondering if you can give me some advice? Like I said earlier, my son is getting the Emerald Night for Christmas. I want to buy the power functions and track so he can use it. I want to add other trains to this so he will eventually have a nice collection. Would it make more sense if I buy another train set that has some of the power functions (e.g. city passenger train or cargo) along with the emard night so I can use the parts? When I add up the power functions and the track that is recommended it is about $130. Can I use some of the parts from the other sets and save money in the long run? Confusing? What would make more sense to do….order all the power functions and track for the emeral night OR order another set too and order only the parts that would be needed for the emeral night? This is the first lego train he will be receiving. So, we don’t have any parts now. Any help or advice would be really appreciated!

  4. Bill Post author

    Powering the Emerald Night is done with the Power Functions XL motor, powering the wheels through a Technic gear mechanism. The other Power Functions trains you mention are powered by a specialized powered truck that is all in one. Also the Emerald Night is a difficult set to build, that’s more for the advanced builder, and some of the moving parts can jam up… basically it looks great but it is far less practical to use. If you just want a train to play with, the cargo or passenger train sets are easy to build and more reliable to operate. But ultimately the power of LEGO is not in what sets you build, but what parts you have to work with for designing your own creations…

  5. Kellie

    Hi Bill,

    Perhaps you can help me. My son loves the lego star wars clone troopers, and I am trying to find them in bulk. I’ve tried brick link, but I can’t seem to find them in a bulk sale. If I buy one mini-fig at $5.50, then I’d be better off to buy those $11 set that has 4 of them from a box store. Am I missing something?

  6. Matt

    Hello Bill,

    I was wondering if you would like to buy my 11 building plates and 60 pounds of Lego for 700 To 800 dollars i really need the money!
    The reason i am asking 700 to 800 is because there is over 2500 dollars worth of Lego in there!

    Please email me at matthewgdavidge@live.ca if interested, ((this also goes for anyone else who would want to buy this))

    Thanks Alot!!
    Matt

  7. Paul

    I had recently been looking for a large quantity of Bulk Bricks. I have found a manufacturer of a very compatible , good quality building brick. “Made in Canada” I purchased 3LBS almost 850 pcs for $25.00 large bricks. It is not the cheap “knock offs” that we are used to. Many Colours as well. If your interested I can send the link

  8. Mark Lawrence

    Where i can get a instruction to build a 2 feet size Minifigs, i saw pictures of this guy building the big Ninjago, and he got the small one on his hand…

    Thanks…

  9. Bill Post author

    No idea, sorry. That was probably a Master Model Builder event at a LEGO store. I haven’t seen the Ninjago one, but I’ve been involved in Yoda, Buzz Lightyear, and Pirate builds. Basically a Master Builder from LEGO makes a design using mostly 2×4 bricks, and then at the store they have kids create 8x16x4 scaled-up bricks and recreate the smaller model using those large bricks. Some of the detail parts come pre-assembled (and glued) from the Master Builder Shop. None of those are ever released to the public as instructions though. Your best bet is if some adult fan has made a design for one and is willing to share it, but I am not aware of any.

  10. marilene

    I have lego bricks for $5 per pound. There are about 18 pounds. Let me know quick since I would rather have the space in the house.

  11. Joey_D

    @Mark the instructions for the GENERIC 18″ Minifig is available on the Lego website at the following.. http://cache.lego.com/bigdownloads/buildinginstructions/4154614.pdf
    Using that as your base you can modify the build to be anything you want Ninjango, Pirates whatever. The official Lego one USES ALOT OF PLATES though!! But if you are looking for something close that only uses bricks I’d suggest the build instructions on this site
    http://brickplayer.com/blog/2008/02/04/space-minifig-lego-sculpture/
    It is also a 10x scale like the Lego build and it is mainly all bricks and very minimum # of plates …
    The instructions are at the bottom and are very similar to the Lego version.

  12. charles jackaon

    Paul Says:
    January 2nd, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I had recently been looking for a large quantity of Bulk Bricks. I have found a manufacturer of a very compatible , good quality building brick. “Made in Canada” I purchased 3LBS almost 850 pcs for $25.00 large bricks. It is not the cheap “knock offs” that we are used to. Many Colours as well. If your interested I can send the link…..
    ***************************************************************************************************************************

    what is the link?

  13. Nicolas

    Hi AFOL’s, Im wondering seeing a discussion of using non LEGO bricks / elements at these forum just because there cheaper. I might be a purist but I even dont consider it.

  14. Bill Post author

    I think clone bricks are usually shunned by most LEGO enthusiasts because of their low quality and brand loyalty. Though some people make exceptions for accessory companies such as BrickArms, BrickForge, etc.

  15. Joshua

    Sup all, trying to build batman series one by buying individual bricks…have any good suggestion on what website to start at? I have tried a few like pick a brick, couldn’t find exactly what I am looking for there.

  16. Bill Post author

    I would suggest bricklink is probably the best place if you are looking for specific individual parts.

  17. JMD

    I’m looking for Duplo size bricks that are 1 row X 4 nubs. I know that Tyco has that size but I’m wanting Lego brand bricks. Anyone know where to buy Duplo in a particular brick size and color in bulk?

  18. Bill Post author

    Bricklink has Duplo parts – if LEGO has ever made it, it should be in their database and someone probably is selling them.

  19. Cecil

    Does any 1 no how i can buy like shit load of lego all the same size peices and diffrent colours… Cheap wud b good .. Is there like a sute or anything i can buy lego from that dont make manufactor standerds and they just throw out or sumfin???

  20. Pauly B

    Hi Bill, great builds on your Flickr site. I’m just getting back into legos (son just turned 5 and he loves them). We like to build houses and buildings together; can you recommend a good base of sloped legos to have in our collection that will allow us to be creative? All the best, Paul

  21. Bill Post author

    It depends what you want to build – probably best to have some of each, and go to bricklink when you run out of something.

  22. Joe Cool

    Hello!
    I went to Bricklink to buy some wheels, but I almost made the mistake of buying the wrong ones.
    Problem is that there are 2 (model team) type wheels that look the same but are NOT.
    And ALL the wheels that are on that site have: Wheel 30mm D. x 13mm
    Im looking for the ORIGINAL Wheel 13 x 24 (13 x 24 Model Team without the .D) that are found in various sets like the Rally Van.
    If anybody knows where I can find these original wheels in bulk, I will appreciate it.

  23. Bill Post author

    Have you contacted the seller? Maybe they’ll let you ship them back, or maybe it wouldn’t be worth it based on what you paid for them.

    The best way to make sure you have the right part is to use the Bricklink set inventory to find the parts you want based on the set number of the set that you know the part is in, and then from there try to find a seller who has the same part.

  24. Amber

    I’m wanting to make a giant Lego Mozaic. Any ideas on the best program to generate the picture I want to use to lego mozaic instructions?

  25. Joanne

    I am looking for just plain old Lego blocks but everywhere that I have tried they are sold out. Someone said that there is a bulk place in Toronto does anyone know of this place or where I may be able to get some Lego blocks?
    Thanks

  26. Sarah

    I started a Lego program at the after-school program where I teach. We could really use more bulk bricks/parts for free-building. I’m hoping to find a source for large quantities of lower-quality Legos — scratched, dirty, etc. is fine.
    I’ve spent over $2,000 on BrickLink over the last few years, but those pieces go into kits and specialized projects. With shipping costs, it seems like most of the stuff on BrickLink is still too pricey for an unstructured classroom environment. A few years ago, I found a boy who sold me his Lego collection (which filled two large trash bags) through Craig’s List for $50, but nowadays similar collections are going for upwards of $100.
    Any suggestions?

  27. Bill Post author

    Is your program associated with a nonprofit organization? If so you might be able to get people to make donations (either cash or used LEGO parts) to support the program.

  28. Sarah

    We are part of a nonprofit, but with the current economic climate any money goes to help keep the whole program afloat! However I could try to start a Lego-donation campaign….

  29. M

    Dear Bill,
    I am start a school of lego building, when we invite younger lego builders who are just starting out and teach them everything they need to know. They will also have tons of time to let there imaginations go crazy and build whatever they need to do. So, Bill, Can you give some some advice on what I should do?

  30. Shelly

    My 5 year old is a huge lego fan. I’m looking for the most economical way to buy bulk legos for his upcoming birthday party. I hope to spend less than $200 and would love to be able to fill up a small kiddie pool or bucket with assorted bricks and just turn the boys loose, any suggestions?

  31. sarah

    i have lego sets that i built, i spent good money on them. but moved to a smaller place and cant display them like i used to/want to. is there someone/store that would buy back the already built lego sets?
    (halo,the hobbit, lord of the rings.technic car pull/release )

  32. Bill Post author

    Probably your best bet is to sell them on ebay. There are some stores that will sell toys on consignment though, such as Toy Go Round in Albany, CA

  33. ecox

    How large can you get lego plates? I want to make a lego table for my son and was hoping for as little seams as possible.

    Also, where can I get them?

  34. Bill Post author

    Baseplates come in 16×32, 32×32, and 48×48 currently. 16×32 are pretty rare these days, and smaller sizes (8×16, 16×16) haven’t been made for years but can be found used. If you find any 50×50, those are really really old and may be valuable to collectors.

    Regular plates come in a variety of sizes up to 16×16 (which have supplanted 16×16 baseplates in more recent LEGO sets).

    The difference between plates and baseplates is in the undersides and thickness. Baseplates are vacuum-molded, and have studs on the top but the bottoms are smooth (except for the indentations for the studs of course). Plates are meant to receive LEGO studs on the bottom. If you’re using them for a LEGO table, you probably want 48×48 baseplates. You can buy 48×48 and 32×32 sizes direct from LEGO Shop-At-Home or in the LEGO stores at some malls, and from various online resellers. Good luck!

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