Some hints and tips for displaying your creation at a LEGO fan event

[From the Questions: How do I make my display look impressive? What are some things I need to know about displaying?]


Here are some hints and tips for displaying & transporting your exhibits at LEGO fan events or displays:

1) Always ensure your display is labelled with an Exhibit Info Card (aka MOC Card, Info Card etc) so people know who is responsible for the build. If everyone is printing in colour, you should aim to do that too. Some events will supply a standard stand for you. For others, you will need to purchase a stand. Check with the event organisers if they haven’t already mentioned it.

2) If you have a group of collected exhibits, only use one card for the whole layout/display and not one for every single item. For example: a group of spaceships by the same person could be called “The Galactic Armada” rather than naming each ship. This request is to prevent your display looking cluttered with Exhibit Info Cards which may detract from the actual models.

3) Try not to put too much on your display. If possible, link items together in a diorama rather than it just being a display of models. Using the spaceship example again, rather than having individual spaceships, create a space base or a hanger so there is some cohesion between the models. Make sure there is plenty of space between each model. Don’t try to fill every bit of your table with lots of models. If you put too much on your display, nobody will be able to focus on the detail of each model.

4) If possible, give your display some height so it is visually appealing. This might be via a mountain side if building a landscape or via some form of small plinth or stand if displaying individual models. There are many ways this can be achieved and it will make your display stand out and draw the attention away from those that are all the same height.

5) Make sure your exhibit is clean and has most of the dust removed. People will notice the dust. A paint brush or make up brush are good dusting tools. Try to do this before you get to the venue.

6) Ensure your display looks tidy throughout the weekend. Avoid leaving coffee cups and drink cans on the table. Check your display every few hours to see if anything has fallen over or needs repairing etc. Although most patrons are usually pretty good, it is easy to bump a table and disrupt a display.

7) If you are worried about a particular minifig being on your display because it is valuable, then don’t display it.

8) Where possible, avoid placing items close to the edge of your display. If your display goes right to the edge of the table, consider requesting a second table so your display can comfortably sit on the tables without having to worry about it being bumped.

9) When transporting exhibits, make sure they are securely packed in a strong box. Custom made boxes often work best with large exhibits. We recommend the use of plastic wrap (glad wrap or specialised postal/pallet wrap) to hold the model together and bubblewrap to avoid bumps in transit. It also helps to place smaller models in individual ziplock bags. Do not trust that a model will survive in the back seat of your car or an ordinary suitcase.

10) For larger exhibits, we recommend modularising the build so it is easier to transport.

Applying stickers

[From the questions: How do you get the stickers straight? What’s the best way to apply stickers? How do I remove stickers if I have made a mistake?]

Applying stickers to LEGO creations whether they are sets or original creations can be rather challenging. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if they are slightly crooked but other times it can ruin the appearance of a model if they are not quite straight.

Once you have applied the stickers, it can be difficult to remove them to reposition them and, sometimes, you still won’t get it correct. Even worse, if the sticker has a clear backing, you may end up with visible fingerprints on the clear part of the sticker.

There is no correct method or way of applying stickers that guarantees they will be always applied straight but there are a couple of techniques that are recommended by seasoned sticker users. These techniques should improve your chances of correctly placing a sticker or easily removing it if you have made a mistake.

The main key to ensuring sticker success is to use some sort of a tool to which the corner of the sticker can be partially applied. Recommended tools include the edge of the brick separator, the tip of a paper cutter, knife or blade, tweezers, a toothpick or the edge of the original sticker sheet. With each tool only a small part of the sticker is attached so the majority of it can be applied to the LEGO piece. If a mistake is made, the sticker can then be easily be removed from the LEGO piece and reapplied.

applying stickers

Apart from issues with ensuring the sticker is straight, you may also encounter issues with the piece moving as you attempt to apply the sticker. To avoid this, attach the part to be stickered to a larger plate or similar where you can easily hold it in place without your hands being anywhere near the actual LEGO piece.

LEGO instructions

[From the questions: Where can I get hold of replacement instructions? Where can I get ideas to build other stuff? Where can I get copies of the instructions I had as a child?]

There may be times when you need to locate a copy of a set of LEGO instructions. Reasons vary – your existing ones may be damaged or lost; you want to recreate a set from your childhood; or you wish to build a set from parts.

Finding Original LEGO Instructions

From where you source these instructions is dependent on whether you are happy to read a PDF or prefer to read the instructions in the original paper format.

If you prefer to use the original paper instructions, your best bet is to purchase a copy via an online marketplace like Bricklink or Brick Owl. You can find both recent and vintage instructions for most themes. There is also a chance someone in your local LUG or Buy/Sell/Swap/Trade group on Facebook may have a copy they can sell or give to you. Not everyone keeps the instructions and many people are happy to see them go to a good home rather than the recycling bin.

PDF copies of instructions may be acquired from a number of different sites. It’s worthwhile bookmarking a couple of the different sites because they don’t always have everything and, sometimes, the files may not work on one page but do on another.

Popular sites include:

  • LEGO Website – perfect for any set produced after 2002. Search for the set number on their Customer Service page. PDF downloads are available
  • – has a reasonable selection of sets going back to the mid-1960s but is not comprehensive. More recent sets have a downloadable PDF available but older sets are represented by scans of the instructions.
  • – mostly concentrates on instructions from popular themes of the last 20 years but does have some older instructions. Well presented and includes a gallery to original creations made by kids.
  • The Brickfactory – an older site that also includes catalogs, posters and stickers amongst their scans. It has a more comprehensive range of older sets but the site can be a little slow to load.
  • – still in its BETA stage but it will search all of the popular sites for the availability of instructions. Will save you the effort of visiting each of the above sites individually.

Original creations

It can be hard to decide what to build next when you have run out of ideas. Many years ago, LEGO used to provide alternative builds on the back of the instructions or the LEGO set box. Themes like the Creator series can provide alternate builds but, for the most part, you need to rely on your own imagination.


Luckily, there is a fantastic site called Rebrickable where you can enter the details of the sets you already have and it will provide you with instructions for other sets and original creations you can build with the same LEGO bricks. It will also give you a compatibility measure so you know how many extra bricks you need to obtain before you can build the item.

If you are looking for a different source of inspiration, you might like to consider purchasing original instructions from a number of different sites. Some recommended sites include:


In the past, LEGO produced a series of “Ideas” books. These are long out of print but may be purchased via reseller sites like Bricklink or BrickOwl. There are also a large number of books that provide instructions and ideas for building. Some of the title available include:

  • The LEGO Ideas Book by Daniel Lipkowitz
  • The LEGO Neighborhood Book by Brian and Jason Lyles – fantastic for Modular building ideas and techniques
  • Totally Cool Creations by Sean Kenney
  • The LEGO Adventure Books by Megan H. Rothrock

  • The Brick series by Warren Elsmore

Extra parts

[From the question: Why do I have leftover parts? What is this orange thing and where does it go?]

LEGO are aware that people lose small LEGO bricks all the time. That’s why they give you extras of things like 1×1 plates and 1×1 tiles. Some sets use a lot of different colours of these types of bricks and you may end up with quite a few spare parts. This is normal.

If you have extra pieces that are more like regular bricks or larger parts, then there is a chance that you may have made an error in the construction of your set. It’s not unheard of but it is really unusual for a set to contain a spare 1×6 brick (for example). Go back and have another look at the instructions. If there is a parts list at the back of the instruction booklet, see how many of that piece you are meant to have. If it is a spare, then congratulations! It doesn’t happen very often.

The exception to this rule is with the 3 in 1 Creator sets where you may have leftover bricks from building any of the models as those bricks may only be used in one of the other alternate builds.

Some sets contain a Brick Separator. These are not meant to be part of a model and are designed as tools to help you separate LEGO bricks. They are meant to stop you using your teeth or fingernails. The picture shows the most recent design. These come in green or orange. The older version comes in dark grey or green.