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Friday, March 4, 2011

Kid Crafting: Making Your Own Mini-LEGO Figurines!

LEGO toys are a hit in our house, especially the LEGO figurines.  I find these little people everywhere, in pockets, backpacks, shoes, my child's bed...
When I saw this idea to make salt dough LEGO figurines, Click here for original post. we had to try it out! 
WARNING:  This is a craft for older kids.  My 10 year old daughter loved it, but my almost 9-year old son (who has some perfectionist tendencies) was very, very frustrated.

ALSO, be prepared to have this craft take several days. 
1 day to make the dough and mold the figurines,
2-4 days to wait for the figurines to dry out, (yes--we do live in Seattle where nothing dries!)
1 day to paint.
1 day to wait for paint to dry, spray with sealer and wait for that to dry.

Here's how we managed...with a few extra tips added in for your benefit and sanity.
First, a trip to the LEGO store to buy the figurine ice mold  The mold is about the cheapest thing in the LEGO store, but still pricey!

Back home to mix up all the ingredients. (This recipe is cut in half from the recipe in the original post.)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
3/4 cups hot water
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Add in more water as needed to make a soft dough. 
We thought we would use our mixer, but decided to mix by hand. (much easier!)
Take it out of the bowl and knead it a bit (not too much!) on a floured surface.

Firmly pack the LEGO mold with the salt dough.
Using a table knife, scrape off extras.
Carefully pop out each figurine onto a cookie sheet.
Continue this process again and again.
HUGE TIP:  (If we did this again, we would want to make accessories.....like weapons, swords, guns, hats, gear, etc.  Then we could have squished the gear onto the figures to dry.
It also would have been smart to purposely make some of figures (not perfect), like squished up a bit, or stretched out or crazy, creature-like looking.  (You'll understand why in a minute.)

Let the figures dry out.  We baked them for awhile, (200 degrees, for 2 hours) but it didn't do much.  They still needed a good 2 days sitting in a warm room to completely dry.
When they're finally dry, it's time to paint!  Use the smallest tipped paint brushes you can find!  We used acrylic paints.

ANOTHER HUGE TIP:
You and your child can have no desire for perfect, plastic-looking, machine-created LEGO figurines!  Forget about it!  Just enjoy the process of creating and painting and crafting and possibly having a discussion like ours...
Me, talking to my son...
"I know these figurines are not perfect, yes, some have deformed heads, others have squished feet, some are not smooth, it's OK.  You know, God did not make us perfect, either.  He did that on purpose.  Think how boring we would be if we were perfect.  Everyone would be the same, no one would make mistakes, no one would learn anything new.  No one would need any help.  Everyone would know everything.  Wouldn't that be boring?  We don't want to be perfect.  We want to learn new things and new ways of doing things.  We want to help others and get help, too.  These people do not need to look perfect, because no one is perfect.  OK, kid?"
"God's perfect, mom.  I wish I was like God."
-----------------
So, my little speech didn't work.  
If your child is anything like mine, you may need to plan some extra time for a bit of a breakdown, then cool-off time when the painting isn't perfect.
After my daughter and I did most of the (not perfect) painting, my son came 'back to life' by drawing on the faces and adding details to each figure.  Finally, he was into this craft!!! 
He had a lot of fun coming up with different expressions for each figure. He also drew on pockets, shirts, patches, gear, etc.  Some became monsters, others became Star Wars Clones.
NOTE:  Be sure to wait until the paint is dry, before drawing on the figurines...AND  be sure to supply your child with fine point colored Sharpies to draw with...otherwise, be prepared for more frustration!

Once all the painting and facial expressions are dry, it's time to spray them with acrylic sealer.  We took ours into the garage and gave them a couple coats on the front and back.

NOW, your child can play with them. 
REMEMBER, these are not perfect LEGO figurines...some may need help standing up, some may want to lay down,

some can be turned into magnets!  Just hot glue magnetic tape on the back.  Super cute!

You may need to keep telling yourself (and your child) it's not about perfection, it's about enjoying the creative process...it's not about perfection, it's about enjoying the creative process...it's not....
ENJOY!


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Linking up to SmileMonsters

5 comments :

  1. That is very cool for older kids. I've never been to a Lego store, but I bet it's amazing!

    Thanks for linking up with Fun for Kids Friday. Our new link up has just been posted! : )

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  3. Hi there!

    My son and I loved looking at this post! What a terrific idea! Love the chat you had with your son about perfection...:)

    Georgia

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  4. AHHHH...I just bought this today from the lego store -We will definitely be doing this

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  5. I'm so going to try this!! (I saw your comment on the lego cupcake topper post and have been searching your blog!)

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