LEGO sets are great fun, and there’s nothing wrong with following the instructions to the brick. But if you’re ready to start exploring your own designs, the possibilities may seem overwhelming. It’s time to do a little research.
Luckily, LEGO is a worldwide phenomenon, and there are tons of resources out there to teach you the basics of design. If you’re having trouble nailing a particular look or mechanism, check out the following YouTube channels for some hands-on instructions.
Update, 5/31/22: Verified all content, links, and videos still good.
I’ll bet there are more than a few people who found this article after catching up on Fox’s LEGO Masters TV show. You can learn a lot about LEGO design and aesthetics from watching the show, but there’s a lot of drama added in (not to mention a ton of commercials). If you want just the tips, head to the show’s YouTube channel for a series of beginner videos. These are clearly aimed at kids striking out at their own designs for the first time, but they’re also pretty good for anyone who wants to brush up on the basics.
This is a smaller channel, but it has a few tutorials that are great for intermediate designers. The straightforward tips are presented with simple narration and a lack of fluff, so those who want short answers to basic questions are well served. The channel’s also got some excellent organization: start with the Basic Brick Tutorials playlist, then go to Intermediate Brick Tutorials, then finally (wait for it) Advanced Brick Tutorials. You can also check out the Studio Tutorials if you want pointers on how to design sets in software before spending the time (and money) to bring them to life.
BrickVault has over a thousand videos on its channel, most of which are of the “hey, ain’t this neat!” variety. That’s fine—there are some excellent reviews and custom design showcases—but if you’re looking for generalized tips, check out the LEGO Custom Builds MOC playlist. “MOC” means “my own creation,” and this playlist is all about custom designs and the features that make them unique. The highlights of unusual or novel techniques will be particularly useful to advanced builders.
This channel puts out new videos every week, and it’s one of the most consistent (and popular) LEGO channels on YouTube. Almost every one of its playlists is helpful in some way—its primary Tutorials section is enormous, and there are sections for custom MOC designs and minute analyses of individual parts available in retail sets, too. JAYSTEPHER is the most analytical channel on this list, particularly well suited to those hoping to expand both their LEGO collections and their toolboxes.
LEGO’s Technic sets are among its most complex, even when they don’t have as many pieces as some of the more elaborate ones. That’s because Technic pieces allow for more complex motion and structure. This channel is all about Technic, showing examples of advanced machinery using LEGO designs. Each video is short, showing off a demonstration of the function in action and a breakdown of how to build and replicate it. If you want to add some advanced functions or motorized behavior to your LEGO designs, bookmark this channel without hesitation.
- How to Build a Lego Technic Cuboctahedron Structure
- LEGO 3-speed Hybrid Automatic Gearbox
- Lego Technic Virtual Pivot Steering System
This is a good all-around channel with a focus on tutorials and MOCs. The Tutorials playlist is a wonderfully sparse collection of smaller designs with great aesthetic touches, which include step-by-step instructions without any distracting narration. (It actually makes some pretty good “zen” watching, if you want something on in the background.) There are also some more generalized videos—the “Top 10 Building Ideas” list is a good one if you’re searching for some non-specific inspiration.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but you should be able to find something useful in all of the channels above. If you want help with something specific, try a general search—there’s so much LEGO content on YouTube that you should be able to find pointers on almost anything you want to do.