Author and Designer: Kendall Foreman
Nearly a decade ago, I was walking through the show floor of a LEGO convention where both MOCs (My Own Creation) and official designs abounded. Amidst a sea of studs and bricks, a few large mosaics caught my attention. One depicted actor Bill Murray and other Jack Skellington. Both were monochromatic works of art in enormous scale. I decided right then that one day, I would create my own LEGO mosaic.
Back then, there were limited options for obtaining large numbers of individual LEGO parts and pieces, so I tabled my goal. Not to mention, I struggled to come up with a subject matter that felt worthy of the monetary outlay and creative efforts.
Fast forward to 2020 when the pandemic quarantine left my family with a lot of time on our hands. We decided to embark on a quest to review every LEGO set we own (um…. it’s a lot) in an effort to catalog our missing pieces. Many of our sets were from my husband’s childhood days and were handled with a little less care. We succeeded in logging all of the pieces by that summer and over a series of several orders made through the LEGO Bricks and Pieces site, we were able to replace most of them.
Through this process, I was reminded of those mosaics, and I endeavored to finally decide upon a subject matter. Over 2021, I debated and sketched out several ideas. (One of which I still have hidden away, but I fear its price tag due to its immense size.) One day, at long last, an idea came to me.
You could call it one little spark of inspiration. It is, after all, at the heart of all creation.
My imagination immediately began rendering Figment in the colors that have become standard across LEGO sets. I knew I would be able to find studs/tiles to create his purple pigment, orange horns, and classic yellow and red sweater. I have loved Figment since my first ride on the original Journey Into Imagination in the early 90s, so I knew this was a design I could execute and one I would love owning for years to come.
If I wanted to limit my cost, I needed to create a Figment rendering that was simple enough to translate into a relatively small number of studs (or in my case 1×1 round tiles). For reference, I pulled up the instructions for the LEGO Art Mickey Mouse, Set 31202, on LEGO’s website. That set makes use of nine LEGO Technic 16x16x1 1/3 baseplates with holes on the sides (part #65803). Each of those nine base pieces is then covered with 1×1 round tiles (part #35381) in various colors. When arranged in a square, those base pieces form a 48×48 grid, which comes out to 2,304 1×1 round tiles. While 2,000+ tiles does not sound like a “relatively small number,” in the world of LEGO mosaics, it is actually a manageable size.
While I know there are various ways on the internet to convert an image into a pixelated format which will then spit out the exact LEGO pieces you need for a mosaic, I wanted this project to be wholly original and all my own creation. With that in mind, I studied MANY images of Figment – 2D, 3D, painted, drawn, sculpted – and then I made my own portrait sketch.
Once the sketch was done, I needed to convert it to a pixelated image, so I worked with graph paper to plan the exact layout I wanted. But, there was one problem. There was too much negative white space. It needed something. After trying out several different ideas, I rested on a single rainbow stripe with the Imagination Pavilion logo. I felt like this best represented the Figment of original EPCOT Center while it also minimized background distractions from the portrait’s focus.
After finalizing the design, it was time to place my order. It was January 2022 when I sat down at my laptop to order, quite literally, thousands of pieces from the LEGO Bricks and Pieces website.
For my base and frame, I logged all of the base and frame pieces from the LEGO Art Mickey Mouse (Set 31202) part list and transferred them into white parts instead of black. The large technic baseplates do not come in white, so I purchased nine 16×16 white plates (part #91405) to snap on top of them. I used an Excel spreadsheet to count all of the various 1×1 round tiles I would need. I checked and double checked, and included 10 extra of each color – at only $0.03 per tile, the extra $0.30/color was worth it.
With a 4-6 week delivery window, I eagerly awaited my shipment.
At long last, it was time to assemble Figment!
First, I fished out one of every color to make a color key that I could reference along with my graph paper schematic.
Next, I snapped one white plate on top of each black baseplate, and then, I was ready to begin constructing the mosaic. For a complete schematic of all nine plates as well as the colors and quantities of tiles used, click here!
Once the nine sections were completed, I secured them together using LEGO Technic connector pegs with friction ridges (LEGO part #2780) inserted into the holes on the sides of the black baseplates, three–evenly spaced–on each connecting side, 36 in all.
As mentioned above, I had used the LEGO Art Mickey Mouse (Set 31202) part list as a guide for purchasing the pieces I would need for a frame. While the mosaic could sit on a shelf without a frame, I highly recommend a brick-built frame for added strength. LEGO has also created special pieces that serve as wall-hooks (part #6302094).
I hope you feel inspired to build a Figment LEGO mosaic for your home or to create your own Disney Parks inspired LEGO mosaic! Just turn your imagination loose and anything can happen!
And, be sure to share your Disney Parks LEGO creations in the WDW Radio Clubhouse page on Facebook!
Note: Availability of LEGO parts via the Pick a Brick/Bricks and Pieces website varies from week to week. Parts are also available from various third-party re-sellers across the internet.
All photos from the author’s personal collection.
Kendall has been a member of the WDW Radio Team since 2013. Today, you can read her work on the WDW Radio Blog or hear her join Lou for a number of WDW Radio podcast episodes. Kendall’s affection for Walt Disney World began with her very first family visit in the 1990s and has continued with each magical vacation since. Follow her on Twitter @kl_foreman.