Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mini Brick Castle Play Set DIY

Here in Colorado, we don't exactly have a plethora of romantic, elaborate architecture.

Ghost towns, gold mines, and forts from the days of the Wild, Wild West: yes. 
However, grand steeples and ancient, ornate towers where a princess could let down her hair for a gallant prince to climb: not so much. 
That's why I love to visit Glen Eyrie Castle.

Photo by Patrick Holloman
It isn't technically a true castle because it was built just over a century ago by a general for his wife, but I'll take it.
I love the ornate windows, the solid stonework, the dramatic arches - all of it!

The estate is right here in Colorado Springs, tucked between towering rocks.
You can RSVP for elegant tea parties and even stay the night here, but I usually just wander around, looking for inspiration and daydreaming.
I would love to fold up the stone towers and moody, medieval atmosphere of Glen Eyrie to stash away in a little box. 
Thus, the inspiration for this easy travel-sized DIY project.

You will need:
empty mint tin
hot glue gun
brick baseplate
Begin by covering the lid of the tin container with a layer of felt.
I opted for green because it reminds me of the grass, but any color will work.
You could trace the lid and make a pattern to cut from paper, but I just glued the felt in place and use scissors to trim away the excess.
Now add a baseplate to the box as a building foundation for your castle. 
I liked the color and shape of this little round plate, but any base smaller than the surface of the lid will do the job.
Use the glue gun to attach.
When it comes to deciding which bricks to fill your box with, I have a couple thoughts about this:

First, try to use a color scheme that works well with the castle motif. 
I chose shades of brown and tan, gray and black.
Look to actual castle-like structures for color inspiration - or castles from movies, whatever moves you.
You can collect bricks for your kit from a variety of places.
Buy them in bulk from Etsy, Amazon, or thrift shops or handpick specific pieces at the LEGO Shop.
  I've been collecting them from LEGO events at Toys R Us over the years.

A moment of silence for Toys R Us please. :(

My tin is filled with as many pieces as I could fit, which is about sixty.
You'll want a variety of different shapes and sizes to inspire creative and interesting castles: different structures each time.
Include one or two medieval pieces, like this red flag, to really seal the deal.
If you are lucky, you might also come across heavy "wooden" brick doors, arched window frames, torches with plastic flames, elaborate lattice fences, etc. 
Look at intricate castle kits, like this Disney Castle Set, in the LEGO Shop for ideas.
Image source
Isn't this enchanting? Just like the real Disney World Castle.
I love the colors and all the little details, like a clock over the main entrance and the sconces (lanterns? lights? Whatever they're called) on either side of the door.  
The set currently retails for $350, which makes it seem slightly less magical to me, but it does include over 4,000 pieces, so I suppose that makes sense.
But, okay, back to our mini castle: fewer pieces but still enchanting.
Place all the bricks in the tin, and you are ready to create and re-create your own tiny fortress.
I made this castle playset as part of a LEGO-themed Easter basket for a friend's son.
I also included a LEGO knight keychain (tutorial here) and a set of LEGO tire refrigerator magnets.
Colorado has few castles to boast of but offers a multitude of other gorgeous settings to find inspiration, like mountain passes, sand dunes, and hot springs, but Glen Eyrie is one of my favorites.
 Where do you go to daydream?

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