The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book

Image: No Starch Press
Image: No Starch Press

While Christmas might not be “just around the corner,” but it is on the horizon. I have had a long-held fascination with Christmas ornaments, and I’m more than a little obsessed with LEGO everything. No Starch Press is thrilling readers with it’s new release, The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book. Written by Chris McVeigh, this book is a journey through 15 elegant and quirky ornaments ranging from snowflakes and wrapped presents to cameras and old-school computers.

Photo: Rory Bristol
Photo: Rory Bristol

The first design to call my name was the snowflake. The first page of the instructions for this kit is a parts list. My favorite feature of this book is the parts lists. The list includes the element numbers, so you can search for the pieces to buy. The snowflake pattern uses 25 pieces.

Photo: Rory Bristol
Photo: Rory Bristol

Thanks to my wife’s LEGO Architecture kit, I had the 24 white pieces. Unfortunately, I lacked the hanger (element 6037558), and couldn’t order it online. No worries, I’ll just use a regular ornament hanger.

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Photo: Rory Bristol
Photo: Rory Bristol

The first stage of building required 6 squares and 6 corners. I looked at these and scratched my head—until I turned the page. Once I sorted out how to attach them to each other, it went together quite quickly.

Photo: Rory Bristol
Photo: Rory Bristol

Here’s a finished snowflake, sans hanger. Elegant and simple, it’s a simple beauty. They require so few pieces (all of which are easy to obtain) that it’s an easy feat to order the pieces to make a large number of them. I may do exactly that, and give snowflake kits to people at Christmas. Why not? It’s an affordable gift for any age, and always great fun to assemble.

A number of the 15 builds required pieces I don’t have, unfortunately. This is not at all uncommon with LEGO books. After checking LEGO.com for the pick-a-brick shopping, I learned that there aren’t any kits for which you can buy ever piece individually. A big shout-out to Bricklink, though. Their catalog can help you find any piece, and which sets it is a part of, and find folks looking to sell those elements or kits.

Image: No Starch Press
Image: No Starch Press

A consistent benefit of all LEGO books is the inspiration, of course. After checking out all of the patterns, I learned several new techniques. If you’re looking for techniques to build with ‘SNOT’ (Studs Not On Top) techniques, you’ll find some great stuff. SNOT techniques make a smooth top, which is often difficult but beautiful when accomplished. The computer ornament is a great example of this.

Photo: Rory Bristol
Photo: Rory Bristol

I was taken with the snowflake pattern, so I designed one of my own. Seeing how Chris used different angles to create geometric shapes like the hexagon in the snowflake and wreath inspired the above design. When I think of Christmas, and cold, and snow, I think of several colors. I think of the blue sparkle of sun through ice, and the subtle darker colors of compact snow in the dusk. I rifled through the appropriate colors and designed the above snowflake to reflect my personal idea of Christmas.

Photo: Rory Bristol
Photo: Rory Bristol

Here are the two side-by-side. As you can see, I used some of the same elements, which is always a good place to start. When designing your own build, drawing inspiration from others can make your life easier.

For those not familiar with Chris Mcveigh, he is a builder who provides free patterns on his own page. I’m particularly taken by his superhero sketches and bonsai patterns.

Amazon Prime members can nab the book for $16.88, making The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book an easy investment with plenty of time to prepare for Christmas.

Disclaimer: No Starch Press provided a copy of The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book: 15 Designs to Spread Holiday Cheer to the author for review purposes. Opinions are the author’s, of course.

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Rory is a newly appointed stepparent to two awesome geeklings. He also writes for mental health awareness at Terminally Intelligent.