LEGO creations often make me want to experience what’s built but in the real world. Carter Witz’s Mountain Cabin really makes me want to get out into the wilderness and go hiking. Sure, you can’t really feel the temperature of what’s depicted in a photo, but the hue of the green grass and the orange leaves on the trees peg this as an autumn scene. The trees tell me there’s a slight breeze too. And for some reason, I think it’s an overcast day. If I slip and fall into the cold mountain runoff in that stream, I’ll have no problem warming up in the snug little cabin. Aside from all the wilderness feels I’m getting, I need to also take a moment to appreciate the quality of these birch trees. The technic pins take them to a whole new level, making it look like the bark is falling off along with the leaves.
Vietnamese builder Khang Huynh is welcoming in the lunar new year with a beautiful LEGO bonsai apricot tree packed with new ideas. One of the best things about LEGO is that its elements can be repurposed nearly endlessly, limited only by your imagination. Here Khang has used several propeller pieces to sculpt the large, delicate petals of the yellow apricot blossoms that dot the tiny tree. Don’t stop looking there, though, take a close look for other wonderful reimaginings, such as ski poles, horns, and even a stud shooter.
The art of bonsai, or tray planting, much like LEGO building can be a very meditative process. Hours and hours can go into the finished product, and meticulous study and practice can lead to a true masterpiece of patience and careful work.
In this wonderfully detailed tree by Know Your Pieces that combines both, there are some small details worth pointing out. I love the use of tiny cherries as small berries under some of the leaves. The twisted brown whip wrapped around the middle is also a nice choice. And the bowl and stand work very well together to provide the perfect display. Altogether, it’s just how a beautiful bonsai should be.
If Hallmark decides to get into the LEGO holiday card market, Aukbricks has created a warm and inviting scene that would be welcome in any mailbox. The hardwood floors, white molding, and candles on the wall offer us a nostalgic vision of an old world home. Meanwhile, the holiday decorations are color-coordinated in classy white and gold – right down to the gift boxes under the tree. According to the builder, this digital render utilizes existing LEGO elements and consists of nearly 4,500 pieces. Try packing all of that in a holiday card!
You know about Bob Ross, right? If not, the short version is that he was an amazing painter, best known for his peaceful and calm teaching method. Quite often, he would fill his canvasses with “happy little trees,” conjuring entire forests with just a few elegant brush-strokes. Builder Emil Lidé (Full Plate) has a similar talent, creating trees with a flair and minimalist style that evokes nature with just a tiny selection of LEGO elements.
Not satisfied with just one tree, Emil has created seven distinct varieties for us to enjoy.
All seven are great, but there are a couple of standouts that I wanted to take a closer look at. (All seven are detailed in the builder’s Tree Techniques album on Flickr.)
Purple treeze all in the ground. Don’t know if they’re growing up or down. Is it crystal or purple ice? Whatever it is, Duncan Lindbo built a tree that’s nice. Queue Jimi Hendrix guitar solo – Duncan’s magical-looking tree is constructed from transparent purple Bionicle elements, which are lit throughout to give it a sparkly, crystalline appearance. If something could be grown from a shard of the Dark Crystal I’d imagine this would be it!
If you’d like to see more of Duncan’s work in purple, be sure to check out his loathsome worm we featured back in September.
Nothing says peacefulness like a bonsai tree. And what better way to cultivate the perfect tree than to use LEGO to make it just the way you want it? From it’s beautiful base to the winding trunk, Brent Waller‘s bonsai is a picture of serenity. The shape is gorgeous, especially paired with the clean rockwork. The bridge and little fisherman are cute too!
Brent is also the creator of something completely different, but also 100% epic. He’s the fan designer of the LEGO Ideas set 21108 Ghostbusters Ecto 1. Additionally, you’ll need to zoom in on every detail of his incredible Wayne Manor and Batcave.
When it comes to fun landscape techniques, Emil Lidé has you covered. This tree made out of slopes is whimsical and creative. For me, it’s a little mesmerizing. It almost looks like it has been turned into 3D fractals!
But this is just a small sample of Emil’s handiwork. He’s not only an expert at building unique flora, he is gracious enough to create instructions on how to build them. His free instructions for both the trunk and canopy of this tree are on his personal website fullplatebuilds.com. You can also check out our article about one of his part experimentations, or another featuring multiple techniques in a single build.
The cherry tree in blossom has a particular significance in Japanese culture, acting as a metaphor for the Buddhist idea of the transience of life. As a result, Ayerlego’s choice to showcase the vibrant pink blooms in his LEGO recreation of an elegant Japanese garden adds an extra level of authenticity to his build. The tree is expertly constructed, carefully arranging its multiple flower stem elements to create the symbolically significant firework-like burst of colour. Setting it against well-selected additions such as the ornamental fish statuettes at the bridgehead, and kimono girl mini-figure completes an aesthetically pleasing display of traditional Japanese life.
A cottage in the woods is a very pastoral setting, but this cottage by Pavel Angelov Marinov looks a bit sad and neglected. Could be the perfect hiding spot for an evil sorcerer, or a fugitive framed for the murder of his wife by a mysterious one-armed man, or even a beautiful princess troubled by a curse. Between the overgrown landscape, the dilapidated stone walls, and the roof with a tree growing out of it, this cottage could use some love. Maybe some industrious little dwarves with funny names would be up to the task.
One of my favorite features of this model is the roof. Using ball joints first introduce by LEGO in 2014 in the Mixels theme provides the perfect organic curve to build the crooked thatched look. Also, Pavel’s choice of olive green stems mixed in with the traditional green ones provides a nice contrast with the green flowers.
How do you create a tree using chains? It seems an unlikely element to form the organic branches of a bonsai tree, but in this creation by Tim Schwalfenberg, each of the connected links forms a knot on the gnarled bark. The result is highly original and undeniably striking. Tim doesn’t say how many chains he used, but it’s certainly more than you might expect, if my own experiences with LEGO chains are anything by which to judge.
Tim hasn’t stopped with just this one tree, though. He’s actually created a series, each explore different techniques.
Sometimes it is easy to see how a builder created a particular LEGO build, while at other times a build requires a bit of breakdown and perhaps even a tutorial if there are ‘hidden’ techniques. Last week we blogged this fantastic microscale LEGO countryside diorama from Full Plate, with beautiful fall foliage and crops ready for harvest.
The builder, Emil Lidé, has responded to questions about the creation of his trees with this fantastic tutorial to help you create your own. First, he starts with a layout of the parts required for the green trees.
Next, Emil shows how the trunk is built using a six-pronged flower stem to ‘hang’ the main foliage. The foliage in this example uses a mix of 1×2 plates and 2×2 round plates.