Custom Lego gifts

tl;dr: I made Lego sets for my colleagues at work, inspired by their history and unique skillsets!

I try to make gifts for the people I work with every Christmas holiday season. It’s not always easy – inspiration and money are not always here! – but it’s one of these little things that help observe the passage of Time, make life feel a little more reassuring especially during troubled times.

Christmas 2020 happened in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I started digging around my head for ideas that might give us all a little relief from the current mood – give my colleagues something that celebrates who we are, and gives us something to do with friends and family. Also, did I mention LEGOs are cool?

At first I tried to design and 3D print LEGO kits from scratch: a few test prints made it clear it wouldn’t work out. So I turned to the very best thing: just use and combine LEGO bricks! And that would not have been possible without Bricklink.

I downloaded Bricklink Studio – a CAD program that lets you create designs using ALL of the LEGO bricks as building blocks – and got to work, putting together some kits representing the crafts I associate with my colleagues.

With the renders looking good in Bricklink Studio, it was time to place an order for the bricks: the software generates a list of parts for you automatically, then connects with the Bricklink’s community marketplace to find the best combination of sellers to get the parts to you, factoring in parts costs, shipping, etc.

While the brick orders were on the way, there was nothing to do but wait…and design the packaging for the kits! For that I went to my go-to, Inkscape – the LEGO logo is just an image trace from Inkscape and I settled for Futura Heavy for most of the text. If you don’t have access to it Glacial Indifference and SpartanMB are great alternatives. Finally, I printed the boxes on card stock with a laser printer and called it good!

That’s when the bricks showed up! All I had to do was assemble the kits to make sure the designs in Bricklink Studio were accurate (one of them wasn’t, but that was on me!). Bricklink also has a built-in tool for generating LEGO-style assembly instructions, so that part was a breeze – and then it was time to give the kits away!

Check out pictures of the assembled kits below!