Building a LEGO minifigure display with IKEA RIBBA frames

Cleaning the garage is never a simple process.  It’s full of forgotten treasures that try their hardest to distract you from what you went in there for in the first place. They peek out from underneath boxes, tempting you to unpack them, rediscover them and in the process make more of a mess than what you started with.

Last time it was our home-crafted costumes of the aliens from Sesame Street that we thought were hilarious to parade around the house in (the kids weren’t so keen on it and there were almost tears). This time, it was my old smiley Lego friends.

What to do when you have the urge to bring out your childhood toys but a small, human vacuum cleaner that can crawl at the speed of light means they’re probably a bad idea to have inside? You frame them and make your own Lego wall art, of course!

Inspired by an awesome birthday pressie from Chels of four Star Wars minifiguress in an Ikea RIBBA frame, I’ve been thinking how else I could display my old Lego figurines that would:

  • be a no-glue option to avoid anything that could damage the minifigures,
  • have a flexible layout as I wanted depending on the number of minifigures in each display
  • have room to be creative with more than just using the minifigures.

After playing around with different ideas, I finally decided on a couple of options and I’m pretty happy with the result. The good news is, if I can do it, anyone can. Because I’m probably one of the least handy/crafty people I know.

So, let’s get to it! There are two versions using the same $12.95 Ikea RIBBA frame that you may want to try depending on the number of Lego minifigures you want to display in your artistic endeavour. So, here we go!

Version 1: keep it simple

It's all you need!
It’s all you need!

This first version of the Lego wall art doesn’t require any cutting or gluing pieces, it can all be done in a couple of minutes and it’s pretty cheap (under $20).

Materials:

  • 1x Ikea RIBBA 25cm x 25cm frame ($12.95)
  • 1x Lego 16×16 baseplate ($5.99)
  • up to 8 of your favourite Lego minifigures
  • enough Lego 2×2 plates for your minifigures ($0.15 ea)
  • and masking tape or another adhesive

Steps:

  1. Remove the back of the frame and white passe-partout (the cardboard with the square hole)
  2. Center the baseplate on the back of the white passe-partout and secure with the tape (you’ll end up with a usable space of 14×14)
  3. Attach the 2×2 plates to the feet of the minifigures
  4. Insert the 2×2 plates between the rows of the baseplate to your liking (2×3 or 2×4 works well)
No-glue mounting.
No-glue mounting.

All you need to do now is put it all back together and there you go, a really simple way to create your very own Lego minifigure display. But what if you want to add more? You can do away with the passe-partout and use a bigger baseplate.

Version 2: More space, you say?

Additional materials
Additional materials

In this second version, you can use the same frame and squeeze up to 24 of them if you discard the passe-partout. However, if you’re not keen on cutting up a baseplate to make it fit, then look the other way.

Additional material:

  • 1x Lego 32×32 baseplate (instead of the 16×16)
  • 1x sharp knife
  • and a ruler/straight edge

Steps:

Cutting the baseplate
Cutting the baseplate
  1. Using the ruler and knife, carefully score the back of the baseplate to create a 28×28 baseplate (you don’t need to cut all the way through, just enough that you can bend and snap it along the cut).
  2. Set up your minifigures to your liking (you can get up to 4×6 in there but it’ll be crowded, I went with 3×5)
  3. To keep the baseplate from moving around, you may need to tape it to the inner frame that offsets the baseplate from the glass.
  4. Assemble the frame and you’re good to go.

A few final tips

Well, there you have it, your super-simple Ikea RIBBA Lego minifigure display. Here are a few final pointers worth considering:

  • Try a mix of 2×3 and 2×2 plates to add depth or to mount larger objects.
  • Match the 2×2 plates to the feet of the minifigures or the baseplate for a more seamless look.
  • If you want to be adventurous, try the 50cm x 50cm Ribba frame and a 48×48 baseplate ( you’ll only have about 36×36 to work with though).
  • If you’re thinking of doing multiple frames, it may be cheaper to cut down a 32×32 or 48×48 baseplate instead of buying multiple 16×16’s.
  • If you’re a stickler for detail, make sure the Lego logo on the baseplates are the right way around before putting it all together.

 

This article was originally published as “Getting geeky with a bit of DIY Lego wall art” on Hello Ben Teoh. It has been republished with permission.

Taking pictures of mini plastic people in public places.

Ben Teoh

Taking pictures of mini plastic people in public places.